Category Archives: Return To Work

Back to Work After Baby: Interview and Book Giveaway

Back to work

In this post, I interview author Lori Mihalich-Levin about her new book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave. Lori is the founder of Mindful Return, a supportive community for mothers returning to work after maternity leave, which also offers a 4-week e-course on this topic. Her book is a must-have for any mothers who are contemplating a leave, in the midst of one, or who have recently returned from one. This is the type of resource I wish I had when my children were born! The book covers four main areas to help mothers navigate this important transitional time: a mindful mindset, logistics, leadership, and community. I am thrilled to introduce you to Lori in the post below, who has kindly answered a few of my questions based on her book. Back to Work After Baby can now be ordered and will officially be released on April 11. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with Women, Work, and Life, Lori! Read More →

How Projects Can Help with Changing Careers and Returning to Work


Photo: Pixabay

Recently I coached two individuals who were embarking on new but different career ventures: one was preparing to make a career change (Sarah*) and the other was getting ready to return to work after staying home with her children for seven years (Ellie*). Both were in the process of thinking through how to best present themselves to employers, whether on a resume or in their cover letters, LinkedIn profile, networking situations, and interviews. They had to determine the best job search strategy for their situation. What’s their story? What unique skills and experiences do they offer?

Both were ready and eager to launch their searches. However, neither client had recent employment in their targeted fields, which can make the job search process a bit easier. It is the old catch-22; how do you get a foot in the door when everyone wants someone with experience? Were they doomed? Read More →

Heading Back to Work after Baby?  4 Reasons to Join Mindful Return and Get Help with the Transition

Mindful Return

Photo: Lori K. Mihalich-Levin

I’m really excited to share this guest post by Lori K. Mihalich-Levin, who writes about four areas that help prepare mothers for a mindful return to work after maternity leave. Each of these aspects is also covered in Lori’s Mindful Return E-Course. Be sure to check out this comprehensive and convenient four week class – the next one starts soon on April 4! 

Read More →

One Thing You Must Do Before Returning to Work

successful return to workThis post originally appeared on the Mom-mentum blog (see this link). Mom-mentum is a wonderful organization that supports women through Centers, programs, and advocacy. You can learn more about them here.

Perhaps you’ve been out of the paid workforce for some time to raise your children, whether it has been 5 years, 15 years, or more. You’ve been thinking about relaunching your career, but you’ve also heard rumblings about today’s vastly different job market. How can you possibly make it out there, you wonder?

Well cast aside your panic, as I am about to reveal a major secret that will help you smoothly and successfully return to work. Are you ready for it? Here it is: Read More →

Flexible Work for the Twists and Turns of Family Life

Ezzys Photography-18This post originally appeared on the Mom-mentum blog (see this link). Mom-mentum is a wonderful organization that supports women through Centers, programs, and advocacy. You can learn more about them here.

Before having my oldest, I thought I had it all figured out; I was going to stay at home and work one night a week as a career counselor at a university in the city and start a private practice. I anticipated this would be the perfect arrangement for our unborn baby, my husband, and myself. However, I soon learned, it is nearly impossible to predict how we will feel once our bundle of joy arrives, what our infant will be like, and how multiple other factors will converge. Read More →

Getting Ready: Five Steps to Prepare for Returning to Work

Return to work

Photo: Shutterstock

This post originally appeared on the Mom-mentum blog (see this link). Mom-mentum is a wonderful organization that supports women through Centers, programs, and advocacy. You can learn more about them here.

Have you been thinking about returning to work after taking care of your children for some time? You are not alone – according to Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s research with the Center for Talent Innovation, 89% of mothers in her sample who took time out of the paid workforce expected to return. As you begin this process, you might find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused about where to begin, which is completely normal. Keep in mind that many people who have been in your shoes felt the same way when they embarked on their journeys back to work. They did it, and so can you! Below are five steps you can take as you prepare for the exciting process of returning to work. Read More →

Six Steps to Take for a Successful Return to Work

Successful return

Photo: Shutterstock

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn at this link.

Are you thinking about returning to work after taking a career break, whether you have been attending to children, parents, or yourself? This fall I have been inspired by several relaunchers, whom I met at a workshop I conducted on returning to work for Baruch College Alumni, as well as at the iRelaunch Return-to-Work conference in New York City. During both events, I heard from individuals who had left their careers for some time and successfully re-entered, as well as from those who were in the midst of attempting to get back into the workforce. If you are beginning your relaunch journey, read about six steps you can take to prepare yourself for a smooth re-entry and job search. The steps follow a natural order, although you may find yourself returning to an earlier phase every now and then.

1. Prepare Emotionally and Mentally

After being out of the workforce for a while, it is common for your self-confidence to have taken a hit, especially in terms of work. You want to build this back up, particularly before you begin to network, apply for openings, and interview. Some studies have shown that women are already prone to lower self-esteem than men, as featured in The Atlantic’s May 2014 cover story, The Confidence Gap. Don’t sell yourself short; build your confidence so that you can get what you want and what you are worth. Keep in mind that your self-assurance will also naturally build as you go through the process of getting ready to return.

2. Reassess Yourself

Returning to work after a break is a great time to take stock of where you are in life and consider how your values, skills, and interests have shifted since you last were in the workplace. What do you need at this time in both life and work? What would be interesting and exciting to you? Allow yourself to dream first; later on you can bring in the reality check. If we skip this step of self-reflection and contemplation, we run the risk of choosing a path that will not be satisfying in the long run. One way to start this reflection phase is by completing career exercises focused on values, skills, interests, and personality traits (see my website for a few you can download) or even more formal, standardized career instruments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Strong Interest Inventory, SkillScan, and/or StrengthsFinder. Many career counselors and coaches offer these tools.

3. Consider Various Schedules

What would be the right type of work arrangement for you? Full-time, part-time, flexible hours, flexible locations, temporary, seasonal, or summers off? Would you prefer to be an employee, an independent contractor, or a business owner? Or a combination? Often individuals who have taken a break for caregiving responsibilities desire some type of work flexibility when they return. Think about your ideal schedule as well as what type of arrangement would best work for you as well as others in your life.

4. Refresh Your Skills

Once you have figured out what you would like to do (e.g., career field and role) and what type of arrangement would be best (e.g., part-time, full-time, flexible), it is time to focus on refreshing your skills. If you do not have recent work, volunteer, or educational experiences to add to your resume related to your target career area, consider seeking this out now before launching your job search. Having this “new” experience will help wonders, as it alleviates employers’ concerns that your skills are rusty and outdated. You can refresh your skills through strategic volunteering opportunities, temporary work, project or pro-bono work, internships, or even re-entry programs. You can also further enhance your skills by taking classes, completing a certificate program, earning a new degree, engaging in self-study, joining professional associations and industry groups, reading professional journals, and/or getting involved in professional LinkedIn groups.

5. Update Your Job Search and Networking Tools

The last step to take before embarking on your job hunt is updating and tailoring your self-marketing and networking tools. First, spend time figuring out what your personal brand is or how you want to portray yourself. What are your strongest skills? How do you want to be seen by employers? Incorporate this information strategically into your resume, cover letter, and online profiles, such as on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Be sure to also add any recent work, volunteer, and educational experiences that showcase your updated skills. Highlight these experiences prominently in your documents, especially if they are related to your field of interest. If you are concerned about gaps on your materials, take steps to minimize them, such as dividing diverse experience into categories on your resume (e.g., Marketing Experience, Finance Experience, Non-profit Experience) and using only years for your dates instead of month and year. Prepare for networking by creating and practicing an elevator speech or pitch, and design professional business cards that include your basic contact information.

6. Launch Your Job Search

Now that you have your skills, marketing materials, and networking tools up-to-date, it is time to officially launch your job search. The name of the game these days is who-you-know and who knows you. Concentrate most of your search efforts on making new connections, which has proven to be the best method for landing jobs and tapping into the hidden job market.

To expand your network, try conducting informational interviews, attending networking events and gatherings, and tapping into online networking. It is also important to strategically keep in touch with the connections you already have. Furthermore, you can mix up your search methods by applying to online job postings, talking with recruiters, and attending career fairs. However, keep in mind that a small percentage of jobs (approximately 10-30%) are secured through these methods.

Finally, if you are focusing on finding a flexible job, see my blog post The Elusive Search: How To Find Flexible Work.

Follow the six steps above to successfully relaunch your career, and be sure to seek assistance if you get stuck in one or more areas. It is a process to return to work after a break, but many have done it and so can you!

Have you already begun your re-entry job search? If yes, what advice would you share with those just starting out?

Tap Into Your Alumni Networks to Restart Your Career

Alumni networks

Photo: Pixabay

This post originally appeared on is an excellent resource for finding flexible work opportunities and advice.

If you are thinking about returning to work, it is crucial to take time to strengthen your professional network and make new connections. After all, experts state that 80 to 90 percent of jobs are secured through networking relationships. Take advantage of your alma mater connections to use alumni networks in restarting your career. Read More →

Strategic Volunteering as a Path to Changing Careers or Returning to Work

Strategic volunteering

Photo: Shutterstock

If you are contemplating a career change or returning to work but feel you lack certain skills or the necessary experience to reach your goal, consider strategic volunteering. Strategic volunteering is essentially volunteering “with a goal in mind.” Not only are you giving back to an organization and its constituents by donating your time and energy, but you are also gaining new experience, skills, and connections. This targeted volunteering approach can in turn help propel your career in the right direction. Read More →

Managing Employment Gaps on Your LinkedIn Profile

Employment gaps

Recently I conducted a webinar for on Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile. A record number of people registered, I was told, and a multitude of questions came pouring in both before and after the webinar. One in particular caught my eye, especially because it is discussed less often than other LinkedIn profile topics: What is the best way to address employment gaps on a LinkedIn profile? While professionals frequently talk about how to handle such situations on a resume, can we apply the same principles to an online profile? Read More →