Return to Work
There are many reasons to have a gap in your work experience—having a child, caring for an aging family member, personal reasons, military service, or for really lucky people, simply taking time for yourself, to explore, travel, or recharge. Whatever reason you were gone from the workforce, it can sometimes be challenging to return, especially if it’s been a few years. You may feel like you need to gain some new skills or refresh on skills you already have. There are a few ways to jump back in while you’re looking for a full-time position
- Participate in a skills bootcamp. Particularly in tech, but in multiple industries, there are short, multi-week opportunities to update skills. With a small time investment, you can gain a big advantage towards re-entering the field.
- Network. It can be hard to get your foot in the door, especially with Applicant Tracking Systems which filter out a large amount of resumes virtually. Having a chance to meet someone—a recruiter, someone who works at your goal company, or anyone else with an influence in the hiring process—and sell yourself in conversation can really help them to see how your skills and experience fit, even if you’ve taken a break. Get in touch with former colleagues, and let them know what you’re looking for. You never know when they might be able to refer you to an open position that fits what you’re looking for.
- Evaluate your skills and what your industry is focusing on right now. What trends are you seeing? If there are certifications or skills you can gain, spend the time you have prior to getting hired to do so.
- If you’re in an industry where you can freelance or volunteer, do so. That’s recent experience you can add to your resume, and it can help you get back in practice in using your skills.
- Spend significant time on your resume. Update the look, make sure you’re emphasizing your skills and accomplishments during the time you were working, and get feedback from others, especially if you can find folks currently in the field to take a look.
- Practice your pitch—You’ll want to know what you’re going to say in a networking conversation, interview or just when putting what you want out into the world—think about how will you explain your absence and what you bring to the table now. Be able to concisely explain why you’re a great fit for a job.
- Prepare yourself to be back at work full-time. Being back on a structured schedule, commuting, having at least 40 hours of your time accounted for before you even start your week—no matter how hard you worked while you were unemployed, these things can take some readjustment, so make a plan for how you’re going to approach them, and fit in all the other things you need to take care of as well.
- iRelaunch is your essential guidebook, a community & a sense of refound purpose for relaunchers, employers, universities & associations.
- Path Forward has an extensive list of return to work programs and opportunities.
- Inkwell. This recruiting agency focuses on finding part-time and other flexible work arrangements for high-level professionals-- especially moms.
- The Reentry Employment Opportunities (REO) program provides funding, authorized as Research and Evaluation under Section 169 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014, for justice-involved youth and young adults and adults who were formerly incarcerated.
- Women Back to Work The WBW program offers Returners the resources and guidance they need to assist with the often difficult task of reentering the workforce after a career break.
Blogs, Articles, and Podcasts
- iRelaunch has an extensive blog with many relevant topics for returning to the workforce.
- The Career Change podcast
- How Moms Can Strategically Re-Enter the Workforce After 2020 (Bossed Up)
- How to Talk About a Career Break, with Carol Fishman Cohen
- CareerWell--How to re-enter the workforce after an extended hiatus or transition your career into a new industry – Talent Insights
- CareerPivot--Returnships for Caregivers Going Back to Work
Some companies offer specific apprenticeship, transition, and leadership pathways for experienced professionals who have been out of the workforce for a period of time. Search for initiatives under the terms relaunch, returnship, or return to work, and you can find many different employer training and development and hiring programs focused on people re-entering the workforce.
Below is a sampling of these types of programs—there are many more in a variety of industries, so if you don’t see something for you here, explore opportunities on the web.
- Accenture Technology Return to Work Program offers you an exciting return to work experience consisting of a 16-week paid “returnship” program for experienced technology-focused professionals.
- The Bandwidth Returnship Program is a paid internship (duration of the program depends on the team and business need) for experienced workers looking to enter/re-enter the corporate workforce.
- Citi Return to Work Programme is a supportive hiring programme, designed to help you transition from a career break into a career within financial services.
- The General Motors Take 2 Career Re-launcher Program is designed to provide support & training for experienced professionals who took an employment break of two or more years in their field and have accepted a full-time offer with GM.
- HubSpot's Returners Program is a 20-week internship designed for those who have been out of the workforce for a significant period of time and are ready to re-enter.
- IBM Apprenticeship program gives an opportunity for candidates without advanced degrees to build new technical skills while getting paid.
- The Intuit Again returnship program is designed to be a pathway into a full-time career allowing you to work on a team to refresh your skills and apply your newly learned skills in a supportive, structured 16-week program.
- The Johnson & Johnson Re-Ignite program is a paid returnship for experienced professionals ready to return to work after a career break of two years or longer.
- JP Morgan Reentry Program--The ReEntry Program offers experienced professionals, who are currently on an extended career break of at least two years, the support and resources needed to relaunch their careers.
- Microsoft LEAP Engineering Acceleration Program-- an immersive 16-week apprenticeship for those who have a base foundation of technical training.
- National Parks Service Experienced Services Program allows for temporary employment opportunities for individuals 55 years or older to work on specific project assignments.
- NBCUniversal Act Two career relaunch program is a 6-month paid, fixed-term role for experienced professionals returning to the workforce after taking time off for personal reasons such as caregiving.
- Paypal’s Recharge return to workprogram consists of 2 paths: One path is through the 16 week paid program, and the second is through a bootcamp. Recharge is designed to increase Paypal’s inclusive technology workforce, while also giving individuals who want to return to work an opportunity to expand their experience and network.
Twitter Engineering Apprenticeship—One year apprenticeship program with full-time employee benefits which culminates in a full-time engineering position.