Restarting your career after raising a family

By Paul Buchan, Eden Scott

4 June 2019

“I’ve taken a few years out to raise a family. I’d like to pick up where I left off – how can I restart my career?”

Not enough support is provided to women (or men) who have taken a career break to ensure they do not face any unfair disadvantages.

I have spoken to women who have, for various reasons, found it challenging to return to work after a career break. Technical skills may be out of date or accounting practices rusty, and technology may have moved on. This is particularly the case for breaks of five or more years.

Returners may miss out when competing with those who have not had a career break. Sometimes there is no other reason than plain old discrimination.

Positive steps to end discrimination are being taken through a variety returner programme. There are also things that women in these circumstances can do personally to influence their success in re-entering the workforce. Here are four tips from women who have overcome this challenge.

Freshen up your skills

Take a course in CPD (continuing professional development), IT, Excel or other more technically-focused courses. This will demonstrate to an employer that even though you have been out of mainstream employment for some time, the learning curve will be no different to hiring anyone else.

Assess your expectations

Crunch the numbers! Do you want to go back in at the level you previously held, or are you looking for a step up or down? All are perfectly attainable, but you need to be clear on what you are looking for. Figure out early on if you will need flexible or part-time working. What salary makes financial sense to you, but also maintains your market worth at the industry benchmark for that kind of role? Determine what you want from your first job back (not just the salary) and ask yourself if you are being realistic.

Network, network, network

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and that you are regularly posting content about looking for work. Mention anything you have done to brush up your skills and comment on news within your industry. Ensure you have some good recruiters batting for you. More importantly, reach out to previous colleagues and professional advisers you have dealt with to get your message front and centre!

Explain, reassert and solve problems

There must be a clear and understandable reason as to why you have taken a career break. Know how to justify it, but don’t dwell on the past. This is about the future; every vacancy exists to solve problems, so tell them how you will help.


Eden Scott - here to help

We would be delighted to discuss current opportunities in the marketplace and offer advice tailored to your situation, so get in touch.

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