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10 Tips For Taking The Back-To-Work Plunge

10 Tips For Taking The Back-To-Work Plunge

Women have long struggled to strike that perfect balance between their professional and personal lives– especially those with children. Too often, women “opt out” of the work force after starting a family; and yet more than ever, the “opt out” generation wants back in.

It’s not always that simple, though. In re-entering the professional arena, there are financial, familial, logistical, societal and psychological obstacles that can make the decision to return both challenging and complex, even for smart, capable women.

Kathryn Sollmann, founder of the consultancy and award-winning blog, 9 Lives for Women, believes that strategic thinking and clear-cut strategies can enable women to navigate this work-life divide. Here are her 10 tips for “finding work that fits your life,” which she shared during a Jam Session.

1. Get family buy-in (the MOST important). You must clearly think through and discuss with your family how they feel about the job and set-up.

2. Remember, work means work. Understand you’ll be working year-round and vacation time will be limited. Have a plan for when the kids get sick or are not in school for other reasons.

3. Face the facts. Know where you can and cannot compromise.

4. Square your shoulders and project confidence. Eliminate negative thoughts about your age and how long you’ve been out of the work force.

5. Stay away from the Internet black hole. People and networking will lead you to the right job. This is what your biggest strategic focus should be on.

6. Look beyond obvious networking connections. Write down contacts from all areas of your life, and extend that list to people your husband or partner knows as well as your neighbor, your sister, etc.

7. Get your ego out of the way. You can get closer to the salary and job you desire, but it requires some ramp-up time. Put your mind to it, but also be patient and persistent.

8. Brand yourself. You are a “returning professional,” not a soccer mom looking for extra cash.

9. Describe your volunteer work in business terms. Create “Nonprofit Experience” as a heading in your resume to describe volunteer work.

10.Emphasize skills, not attributes. Replace hard working and team player with budgeting, negotiation, operations and fundraising.

Kathryn also emphasized the importance of not basing your back-to-work decision on work-life balance. She recommends “leaning in the direction of financial security” and doing what ultimately makes you happy and fulfilled. For more tips and tools to help you build the confidence to return to work, listen to Kathryn’s Jam Session here.

By Allison Matejczyk


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