The workforce has changed significantly over the past few decades in many ways. There are more women taking on leadership roles, more generations on the same teams and more technologies immersed into everyday life.
As the corporate world continues to evolve, so does the modern family. Now, more women are returning to work after taking time off to raise their children. In fact, more than half (61 percent) of employed accountants and auditors today are women.
We know that most mothers and fathers usually take a short amount of time off for a maternity or paternity leave after the birth of a baby, and that has its own challenges with returning to work. But what about those who take significant time off, such as five or 10 years, before going back to their accounting, finance or other careers?
That length of gap can be daunting to any seasoned professional no matter how ready you are to get back in the corporate game.
And in order to be successful in your return, you must approach this reinsertion with determination and preparedness.
I found an interesting article on this topic on Forbes.com and since we haven’t really covered this before, I thought now was a good time. Take a look at the 5 Tips for Returning to Work after a Parenting Gap below.
1. Leverage social media
Chance are if you’ve been out of the workforce for multiple years, you’ve likely gained exposure to the power of social media. Use this to your advantage and start virtually connecting with people. Whether they are former colleagues, former academic connections or professionals with common interests, send them an invite to connect on LinkedIn. Then, join groups and listen to the conversations going on. Make remarks or ask questions when you can. This will help you get a pulse on the topics that are most important in the marketplace right now. Be sure to make updates to your profile, as well, including adding a new picture, adding any new skill sets and creating a narrative in your summary explaining your situation and goals.
2. Brush up on skills
If you left the workforce as an accountant or auditor and have dreams to reenter as one, chances are you need to update yourself with the regulatory changes that have significantly impacted financial reporting and other areas. It’s a good idea to take a course or join a peer group to help familiarize yourself with the new mandates and accounting standards now in effect. You can also read up on blogs and thought leadership materials recently published.
3. Update your resume
This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s imperative. You need to update your resume with skillsets you’ve gained while you’ve been away from your full-time work. Whether that’s means adding project management, time management or budgeting, if it relates to the role you want, it should go on your resume. This will show that you’ve been working hard to stay current even while not working. Be sure to update your contact information as well. Things like your address, phone number, email and LinkedIn URL have likely changed during your long gap.
4. Ask for help
If you’re a little overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, it’s OK to ask for help. Once you have established your digital presence and updated your resume, you are ready to network. The key is to leverage all of the relationships you have. Ask your connections for advice on what’s new in the workplace or what hiring managers are looking for most. Ask for a friend or family member to role play an interview with you. Even if they are in a different industry, you can gain valuable insight and direction by asking questions.
5. Work with a recruiter
Another great way to get a head of the game before reentering the workforce is to research a highly credible recruiting firm and work with a recruiter. Executive recruiters have your best interest in mind. They know the state of the market. They know how to message your experience and gap to a hiring company. They know the appropriate compensation for the role you’re vying for. They will guide you through how best to interview and how to craft your responses when asked about your gap.
What are some other tips for women re-entering the workforce after a long gap? Share your comments below!