How to Get Back Into the Workplace After Parental Leave

How to Get Back Into the Workplace After Parental Leave - Style Nine to Five

Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs out there. When you’re re-entering the workforce after taking a parental leave, you shouldn’t be shamed or miss out on job opportunities with employers who don’t see that you’ve spent your time away from your career working so hard. This means making edits to your resume to showcase just how much work you’ve done over time, and demonstrating how you’re more than capable of furthering yourself as an employee, even with a break in your career history.

Address the Gap?

Obviously, you had to take a break from working. You can be open about it – state on your resume that you were busy raising kids during the time you weren’t working. Or don’t. Rest assured most employers don’t see a gap as a red flag anymore. The right employer will be understanding and look beyond the pause in work experience.

If it’s a possibility, mention anything you did during your gap in unemployment that helped your professional development. Maybe you started a blog, ran an Etsy shop, did some freelance writing, or took a couple of courses – whatever you did in your spare time, it can be slotted into your resume as a skill or prior experience.

Learn New Skills

After being out of the workforce for a while, you need to consider that things in your industry may have changed and you’ll have to adapt. “Check out job listings for your desired industry, see what the qualifications are, and start there. Pick up those skills—try online learning or weekend courses to make it work for you,” advises Style Nine to Five Founder, Christie Lohr.

Catching up on new skills and industry trends is also a great way to show that you’ve been using your gap in unemployment productively. It shows dedication, signifying that you’ve been trying to keep in touch with your industry even while not actively working.

Polish Old Skills

Re-entering the workforce doesn’t mean starting anew – you’ve already got a bunch of skills at your disposal.

Regarding any hard skills, try and work on some new projects to keep those skills sharp. Research trends in the industry and make updates to your portfolio to show employers that you didn’t fall behind.

Transferable skills are also key, especially if you can state that you’ve sharpened your transferable skills during your time focusing on parenthood. Think about it: a good parent needs great time management and problem solving skills – so does a good employee! Consider this as something else to mention when addressing your employment gap.

Rebrand Yourself

Understandably, work may have completely fallen to the wayside during your time away from the workforce. This means that you might have one more adjustment to make before sending your brand-new resume out – your online presence.

“Hiring managers are searching you!” says Christie. “Spend some time cleaning up your social media and LinkedIn before you start applying for jobs.”

This means that your LinkedIn should be up-to-date with all your new skills, nods to changes in the industry and perhaps even an update on how being a full-time parent strengthened your determination. Remember to ensure that your public personal social media profiles look as professional as possible too.

Finally, give yourself a reminder that no decent employer should think less of you for your employment gap. Raising a child is as important and hard a job as any of the ones you’re applying to. You’ve been working hard your entire parental leave and a good employer will see that by your updated resume. Set your sights high and put your best foot forward to re-enter the workforce in a new job that lets your experience shine.

Need some extra help getting caught up to speed? Try booking Style Nine to Five’s Resume, Cover Letter and LinkedIn Refresh!

Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.

Feature Image: Adobe Stock