Considering a return to work after a career break?

Hazel Little, Career Coach, Women Returners

Are you considering a return to work following a career break? Are you wondering where to start?

Your initial plan may be to review job sites, search for part-time work, and feel disheartened at the lack of opportunities available. You may decide to fire off your CV to a variety of different jobs in the hope that you don’t get the dreaded “thanks but we’ve found someone with more recent experience” response. As tempting as that plan may be, stopping to take the time to plan your return to work will pay off. Up-front planning makes for a more mindful and successful return and boosts your confidence along the way. Here are our top tips for a successful return to work.

This is the perfect time to focus on a job that you want to do. Consider your strengths and what you enjoyed in previous roles. Ask family/friends/ex-colleagues and think about what interests you. Use this information to set goals and focus on roles that fit.

Rather than narrow your search to part-time roles (few and far between) think about flexible patterns such as compressed schedules, working from home, or alternative start/finish times.

There are a variety of ways to refresh your skills such as online courses, volunteering, attending industry events, or reading online. Schedule in time to update your skills and knowledge, this is a great confidence booster.

Make a network map of people you know, then let them know you are returning to work. Your map could include friends, family, ex-colleagues, parents at the school gate, or neighbours. Consider attending networking meetings or ask an ex-colleague for coffee.

Use social media networks such as LinkedIn. Dust down your profile, add a professional picture, don’t hide your career break, and ensure your summary articulates who you are, what you’ve done, and what you want to do now. Invite connections, post articles, and comment on other posts to increase your visibility. Join relevant groups and follow employers that you are interested in.

The purpose of your CV is to showcase your capabilities. Include a profile summary that highlights your experience and focuses on your career achievements rather than listing responsibilities.

Follow these steps to plan your return to work journey and build your confidence. For more return to work support and information on return to work opportunities, please visit

If you’re looking for a new role, visit the Find a Job portal for vacancies in your area. For more advice and real-life stories, check out the My Way In website.