Carly Hazen, an executive job recruiter, says moms need to keep their career network “warm”.
If you are taking some time to be at home with your children, whether it’s a few months for maternity leave or even a few years, enjoy it, because it won’t last forever. Children grow quickly and the older they get, the more time you will have for your own pursuits, including a fulfilling career. Here are a few tips to help you keep your skills, knowledge and connections in-tact and help smooth your transition back into the workforce whenever the time comes.
1) Stay educated! Continue subscribing to industry magazines or newsletters that will provide you with the latest information and updates about what is going on in your field. Try to follow prospective clients, companies you’d like to work for and even competitors. Check websites, such as workingmother.com, that publish articles on relevant topics; such as achieving a better work-life balance and Working Mother Best 100 Companies.
2) Maintain your memberships in industry or business-related organizations. By continuing to attend regular meetings, you will stay connected to people in the business community. These networking contacts will be essential once you decide to resume your career, and your active membership and participation is something noteworthy to include on your resume.
3) Create a professional online profile. Having a professional online presence, separate from a blog or Facebook page, is an excellent way to establish your professional identity online and let other professionals know about your career aspirations. LinkedIn is one of the tools you can use to maintain a connection to the workforce while also gleaning key insights from other career-minded professionals.
4) Continue to update your online status. Did your company just get mentioned in an article in Utah Business Magazine? Did a former supervisor give you a written recommendation? Sharing great news about your company and your career gently nudges your network and reminds them that good things are happening.
5) Keep your network “warm.” Don’t just rekindle connections when you need things. Periodically touch base with people in your network when you see status updates from them. If you notice a friend or former co-worker just got a new job or promotion, congratulate them.
6) Attend continuing education seminars and educational programs. Take advantage of classes and programs related to your area of expertise or other business-related topics. If you don’t have a degree, consider taking a few evening classes at a community college to update skills that are widely sought-after, such as finance, accounting, typing, technical writing or technology.
7) Keep your licenses and/or certifications up-to-date. Stay on top of what training or coursework you need to complete to maintain your credentials, even while you are out of the workforce. If it is important to have certifications in your field, be sure that you are keeping yours up-to-date in preparation for when you return to work.
8) Keep your resume updated and your interview skills polished. You never know when you might be asked for a resume. A great consulting or volunteer opportunity may arise and you want to have your resume ready to send out upon request. Make sure you have a nice suit that fits well and makes you feel confident. Take time to practice marketing yourself as the best candidate for the job.