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Returning to work after maternity leave


mom and babyReturning to work after maternity leave becomes complicated when you don’t have a job to which to return. Many mothers take an extended break from the paid workforce while raising their children. When returning to work after a lengthy maternity leave, they sometimes need to pursue entry-level jobs. In some cases, that’s because they never had the chance to move beyond an entry-level job before starting a family. In other cases, it’s because they’ve taken a decade or more out of their career and they need to ramp up their skills. And some mothers prefer to test the “working mother” waters with a position that places fewer demands upon them. But former stay-at-home parents can smooth their transition to the workplace. Here’s how.

Tips for returning to work after a maternity leave

  • Play up your volunteer experience. Seek out volunteer work that bolsters your experience and skills. Use your resume career profile to position that experience as part of your career development.
  • Ease back in. Part-time, seasonal and freelance work can help you build up experience.
  • Use numbers. Whether you ran a local babysitting co-op or managed your child’s soccer team, look for ways to show the value of your prior experience. For example, you could note that you founded a non-profit organization with X members and a budget of $Y. Or you could show that you coached 11 athletes from various backgrounds, building skills and improving games won by X percent.
  • Network. Join a professional association, volunteer, carry out information interviews, and call up your contacts. Networking offers you the chance to make connections with people who may refer you if a position comes up.
  • Act like a professional. From your appearance to your voice mail, seek out opportunities to look and act like a professional.

Returning to work after a maternity leave takes some planning, but with the right mix of determination and effort, it’s much easier.

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