Best Practices in Working with Women Returning to the Workplace after a Career Break

By Pamela Weinberg

Searching for a new job can be an arduous process for anyone, but for the cohort of women who have taken time off from the workplace, the job search process is typically even more challenging. The process for this population is almost always longer due to a variety of hurdles including acquiring new skills, redeveloping their network, and building confidence. Typically, the more time women are out of the workplace the longer it takes to gain re-employment. The good news is that those determined to return to work ultimately succeed and make wonderful employees.

Some of the common roadblocks women encounter include:

I have been working with this population of women for a dozen years, and have developed some strategies, tactics and tips to help ease the back-to-work transition. I have outlined a three-step process below that I have utilized with my return-to-work clients both as individuals and in group settings. In my experience, following this course of action with clients will help to organize and create a “back to work” road map for them to follow with your guidance.


Step I. Work with Clients to Assess and Analyze Their Current Status:


Step II. Help to Align Client’s Values, Skills and Interests with Careers:


Step III. Take Action:


Following the steps listed above will set a clear course of action for helping your clients return to work, with your guidance. For some women, the career coach is the best resource. When time-management is the challenge, working with a coach may help provide the accountability needed to manage time more effectively. Other women benefit from the coach's invitation to join networking groups or career clubs at career services centers so as to gain support throughout the process. Coaching women to utilize their years of experience as a strength is a tool to mitigate concerns about age discrimination.


Key factors in their success after a career break include: developing skills (especially in technology) which helps to build confidence; time spent networking; and good time management and goal setting. There are challenges with this population as outlined above, but with hands-on coaching, the large majority of these women will successfully re-enter the workplace.


Pamela Weinberg is a Founding Partner of Mind Your Own Business Moms www.myobmoms.com, and works with women in various stages of career development both privately and in groups. In addition, she maintains a career coaching practice working with clients helping with job searches, career advancement, social media and more. Pamela was an adjunct instructor at NYU-SCPS in the field of Career Management, offering a variety of seminars and workshops there. Through her work at the Wasserman Center for Career Development at New York University and the Office of Career Management at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Pamela has gained valuable experience counseling a diverse population from undergraduate students to career changers. At both institutions, Pamela worked with clients on resume development, interview techniques, networking tips and job search strategies. She can be reached at Pamela@pamelaweinberg.com


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Dawn Hernandez on Friday 05/11/2018 at 10:35AM wrote:

Good and very relevant information! Thanks, Pamela.

Wendy Saccuzzo on Wednesday 05/30/2018 at 06:45PM wrote:

I love this idea of a Personal Board of Directors- what a fantastic way to keep people motivated and on task outside of the work with their career counselor, along with providing perspective they may not have had access to otherwise.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the opinions of this organization.