Networking After a Career Break
If you are wanting to return to work the importance of networking cannot be underestimated. The majority of positions are filled through personal or professional connections and a strong network can identify opportunities and leads.
But, how to approach networking after a career break?
Start with your current network; friends, family, neighbours or other contacts in your community. Any one of these could provide insight into areas that you could be interested in. Most people are more than happy to talk about what they do and you could be able to work shadow or gain some work experience to see if that is the right career direction for you.
Attend webinars or workshops which will not only enhance your skill set but will provide a new group of contacts. Follow up with your trainers or presenters and other attendees.
Join LinkedIn. This is a network of over 800 million people. If you haven’t used it before it is pretty straightforward and there are plenty of blogposts dedicated to helping you create an effective LinkedIn profile. Once you have your profile (and LinkedIn now has a section to include career breaks) you can easily search for connections and start building your network. There are also various groups you can join, including alumni groups or industry specific groups. Interacting with these groups is a good way to raise your profile and alert potential employers that you are available for work.
Join professional groups, either locally or online. These groups will meet regularly giving you the opportunity to learn from others and showcase what you are doing or looking to do.
Have a plan! Before starting to network, take time to think about what you are hoping to achieve and how networking can help you research your areas of interest.
Giving back. Networking is reciprocal and so to build effective relationships think about how you can help or support those you are meeting.
Embrace it! Many of us feel daunted just by the prospect of networking, but in reality, whether in person or online, you will find supportive groups of like-minded people who are more than happy to help someone return to work.
Think about what you have to offer and have confidence in yourself. You will have gained skills and experience during your break and these could make you stand out.
When looking to return to work, networking will introduce you to recruiters and other professionals you could do business with. The more you do it, the more you will grow in confidence and build lasting connections which will help you in your future career.
If you would like to talk through your options or know more about career coaching with me please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free no obligation call.