While networking during my job search, an old friend put me in touch with a colleague who worked in a similar field and had recently returned to work after a break to raise her children and pursue additional education. During our phone conversation, she described her background and her journey to, as she put it, “claw her way back in” to the workforce. That phrase stood out to me for a couple of reasons. First of all, it resonated with me because I could completely relate to how difficult it was to try to become employed again after taking a break. I was in the midst of that very struggle. It also made an impression on me that she wasn’t afraid to describe the harsh reality that is out there – even from her new vantage point, having finally gotten a job. It took her a lot of rejections, networking, unpaid, strategic volunteering, and luck to finally break the barrier – the very same experience I had. This should not be the typical experience parents face when they decide to return to work. Why should we have to claw our way back in after taking a break? On-ramping and off-ramping from the paid workforce can and should be acceptable phases of anyone’s career.
Fortunately, there are some fantastic organizations that feel the same way and are helping women and men successfully re-launch their careers after career breaks. Here are three to check out:
iRelaunch connects professionals returning to work after a career break with employers interested in hiring from this talent pool. iRelaunch makes these connections through its large conferences and customized events attended by returning professionals and employers looking to recruit them, small group coaching and training workshops, working with companies and universities on return to work programs, and via the JOBS page and resources on the iRelaunch.com website.
Connect•Work•Thrive organizes conferences to assist those eager to change careers or reenter the workforce after a career break. They offer an array of speakers, facilitators, and interactive workshops.
Startup-Pairup is a talent marketplace to connect unemployed professionals with innovative startups in Silicon Valley. It’s an ideal resource for someone looking for a flexible job, which could be project- to-project and later transition into either a part-time or full-time job. This provides a way for the professional to get back into the workforce, brush up on their skill sets within flexible hours, and contribute in a meaningful way.