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Navigating your Return – Advice from Successful Returners

There was a huge amount of excellent advice on the Returner Panel on Navigating your Return to Work at our 2021 Women Returners Conference. Chaired by Trish Halpin, Co-host of Postcards from Midlife, the panel included four inspiring women who have successfully returned to work after career breaks of up to 15 years. Two had returned via a returnship, one via a supported hiring role, one via her own networks.

Here’s a summary of some of their fantastic tips, based on their personal experiences, for other women professionals wanting to successfully navigate a return to work:

  1. Look at a returner programme as a journey – it doesn’t need to end where it starts. Just take the first step and then think about it as one step at a time
  2. You don’t need to feel grateful when you get a job. Remember you have skills and experience that your employer wants.
  3. Be open to new areas where you can use transferable skills – your career break can be an opportunity to diversify
  4. Keep a diary of how you feel and the decisions you make at each stage – it’s amazing to read back later
  5. Don’t keep looking back and comparing where you were before, as this can hamper you. Embrace the new opportunity with positivity
  6. Think about what you’re not going to do when you go back to work – ask for help and delegate. Don’t take on everything, you need to make time for work and life!
  7. Don’t let impostor syndrome set in. Everyone gets it at some point, no matter how high up the ladder
  8. Find people to cheer you on
  9. Positively approach new technology and virtual working. It can be daunting but it also can take some of the pressures away
  10. You will get back up to speed much quicker than you think!

For more inspiration from returners who have returned, read our Success Stories here.