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How to Navigate a Job Search After Taking Time Off to Raise Kids

businesswoman and mother, businessman and father

It’s a common scenario: You have a baby and decide to take some time off of work. It could be due to a high-needs infant, it could be high child care costs, or it simply might just feel right to be fully present at home. Fast forward three, five or 10 years, and now you’re ready to get back to work.

How do you successfully re-enter the workforce after this time off? How will you characterize the gap in your employment?

Will employers even look at your resume considering you haven’t worked for years?

The short answer: Yes.

Thanks to a thriving job market with historically low unemployment rates, many companies are more than willing to look outside the box if it means gaining access to enthusiastic, qualified workers. Stay-at-home parents ready to return to work — and these are often women — are seen as an untapped resource.

Educated and credentialed professionals who take time off are attractive to today’s employers. The long-held bias against these workers is fading and for good reason. They have experience and typically plenty more years to work. What’s more, after having time off they may come back to the workforce with a fresh passion and new energy that can be a positive addition to teams.

If you’re looking to re-enter the workforce you have lots of opportunity, but you may need to put in a little extra effort to get noticed and considered seriously. Here are three smart steps for finding a job after taking a few years off to raise your kids.

Refresh Tech Skills:

Technology changes constantly; no matter what field you’re in, if you took a few years off there are probably some updates you need to know. To stay competitive and show future employers you’re ready to go, consider taking a community education class or getting a certification from a local industry organization. It will help you brush up on your skills and provide great fodder for interviews.

Revise Resume and Cover Letters:

When it comes to updating your resume, don’t try to hide the fact you took time off for family reasons. Instead, focus on skills you gained during this period. For example, through volunteer work, you may have gained leadership or computer skills. That counts for a lot! In your cover letter you may want to include a note about your desire to return to work and your reasons behind returning now. This is your opportunity to explain your side of things and to showcase your enthusiasm and can-do attitude.

Hire a Career Coach:

A career coach can help give you the confidence you need to stand out — in a good way! From navigating LinkedIn to preparing for tough interviews to finessing your professional attire, a GetFive career coach is a rich resource for getting back to work after family breaks. Whether it’s been a year or a decade, you can get the job you really want and they’ll help you achieve your dreams.

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