Ensuring a smooth transition back into working after time away.
Returning from time away from work can sometimes be as stressful as the decision to take a career break itself. You may well be lacking in confidence and a little nervous after having time out or feel that things have moved on during your time away. There are some things that you can do to prepare yourself to get back into the routine of working and finding the right position for you on your return.
Your CV will need to be revamped so that you can include your career break and what you experienced. This is a good way to show that this was not an employment gap, but well utilised time where you can demonstrate you learned new skills. Most potential new employers will see the benefits of a career break and look on this time favourably. You could also tell any new employers that having taken time out you are revitalised and ready to commit to them fully.
It can be especially difficult starting a new job after a career break, as if you have been working in a different country you may be getting used to being back home. This can be a bit of a culture shock. However, you may have been able to use some of your time off to reflect on what you want to do and how to go about it.
Women working in the engineering profession are less likely than most professions to stay in their particular area of work. Engineering tends to be male-dominated and therefore retaining female employees is vitally important. Some women are now choosing to take a career break instead of leaving the profession altogether. This could be to look after children, go travelling, or simply to take time out.
Taking a career break can impact your earnings, so you may need to consider this when returning to work. If you are returning to the same job, it is likely your colleagues will have had pay rises while you have been away if you were away for a long time. You will probably have to return to work on the salary you left on.
Bear in mind that the role you are returning to could have evolved while you were on your career break. Refresher training and new training courses can help you out. If starting a new role in a new area, a work placement is a good way to help get acquainted with the new role.
A lack of confidence can be an issue for those returning to work after a break. If you are returning to the same job, a company will usually have a back to work interview, and can be an invaluable way to get you up to speed and ease you back into your role. If suffering from a lack of confidence, it might be helpful to consult a career coach or seek a mentor to support your transition.
WISE aim to increase opportunities for women in science, engineering and technology (SET). The Open University also offers a ten week course specifically designed to help those working in the SET fields return to work smoothly.