Moms, Here’s How to Know if You’re Ready to Go Back to Work

Moms, Here’s How to Know if You’re Ready to Go Back to Work

Moms, how do you know if you’re ready to go back to work?

As with many of the choices we make as moms, determining if I was ready to go back to work was a decision that affected others besides just myself and that made it somewhat difficult.

Here’s how I knew I was a mom ready to go back to work in a full-time role after not working or working part-time for 12 years:

  1. I found myself thinking “I can’t wait until I’m at work and my kids have to figure out on their own how to solve many of the problems they come to me for help with now.”  Let’s be clear: By “problems” I don’t mean the real issues that kids today face (and I believe there are many), because I plan to always be there to help guide my children in the important matters. I know that the bond I’ve invested in forming with them will allow me to do that whether I’m a mom working outside of the home or not.

By problems, I mean the simple stuff that arises on a daily basis. Maybe you’re familiar with these crises:

“Where’s my sports uniform?”

“I need a clean shirt for tomorrow!”

“I can’t think of anything to write about for this homework assignment.”

I admit that sometimes, against my better judgment, I’ll solve their problems for them because it’s quicker, easier and lets us get places on time. But imagine if they had to solve the small stuff on their own.  They’d be forced to take initiative and exercise the time management skills that would compel them to plan ahead and organize.  I know that being independent and self-reliant enough to handle small issues on their own would translate into the confidence to tackle some of life’s bigger issues down the road.

  1. You feel like you’ve paid your dues as a school volunteer. You no longer feel obligated to chaperone every field trip, run every fundraiser or serve on every school committee. You’re looking forward to giving someone else a chance to get this experience.  I used to feel a nagging obligation to respond to every Sign-Up Genius I received.

But after years of PTA, room mom, sports and general school volunteering, I am comfortable being selective about which volunteer gigs I sign up for.  It’s still important to me to do my share, but the key words here are “my share.” As a SAHM, I imagined that if I were a mom back at work, I might feel a little less obligated to volunteer for everything (and I was right!).

 

  1. You’re interested in what the people around you do for a living. You find yourself asking people where they work, what’s new in their industry and how they got into that line of work.  Without even realizing it, you are networking! This is a great way to enter into that exploratory phase of job-hunting.

Figuring out where in the marketplace you fit and who will value your skills is a key step in a successful job search and critical for a mom going back to work. Do more of these “informational interviews”! Check out this blog on how to do a good informational interview.

 

  1. You are craving a more intellectual outlet for your talent.  Stop referring to the years you worked as “my past life” and realize that you are a perfect accumulation of all of the experiences you’ve had over your lifetime.  The “working you” is no different from the “mom you” or the “volunteer you”.  It’s all you!  You’re just exercising different skills at different times.

And, by the way, all of those skills are valuable – you just have to market them the right way when approaching potential employers. Moms, as you go back to work, you’ll draw on the organizational, communication, and planning skills you used to manage your family. If you’re looking for some tips on how to get started, I’ve got you covered!

You might consider a Returnship as you return to the paid workforce. These are internship-like positions that were created specifically for people returning to the workforce.

Transitioning back into the workforce after stepping off the career track can be a daunting task. But so is being a parent! If you’re a mom thinking about going back to work, this is a wonderful opportunity for you to start a new chapter in your life.

Let’s dust off that resume, take a look at your skills and see where they are needed in the job market of 2023. You might consider refreshing your skills with a course that will help you fill a gap in your skillset. Or you might consider investing in professional coaching that will help you target the right job, write a modern resume and get started on your job search. Back to Business is here for you when you’re ready.

I loved the time I spent at home with my family and would make the same choice to take a long career break if given the chance to do it over again. And I’m also glad that I returned to the paid workforce when I was ready to do so.

Moms, there is lots of joy to be found both working at home and participating in the paid workforce. Join our community of moms going back to work and let’s support each other through these important life changes.

And if you need a few good reasons to return to work after a career break, check out this blog for inspiration.

 

 

A Career Relaunch Success Story at RTI International

A Career Relaunch Success Story at RTI International

Everybody loves a good career relaunch success story, and today I’m sharing the story of career relauncher Jolie Taylor. She’s a Senior Financial Analyst at RTI, who happens to be the gold sponsor of the Back to Business Women’s Conference in 2022.

Jolie spent 8 years as a SAHM and has lots of great advice for women restarting their careers. Her story highlights what a fantastic employer RTI is, and how their respect for a diverse workforce has made them a welcoming place for women like Jolie who are embarking on a career relaunch. She also points out the value of maintaining professional connections while you’re out of the workforce and the value of part-time work as an on-ramp back into the workforce when you are ready to relaunch your career.

Enjoy reading this success story, and register for the Back to Business Women’s Conference on 9/23 if you’d like to meet RTI. They’ll be hosting the first session of the day during the conference and you’ll have an opportunity to meet their recruiters “in person” during the networking breakout session. These are the types of personal connections that get you on a company’s radar!

Here’s my Q&A with Jolie:

What type of work did you do before you took a break?

I’ve always worked in information technology and finance. I worked at Travelers Insurance in Hartford, CT, for six years and then moved to NC to escape the cold weather. My sister-in-law lived in Raleigh at the time, giving us an anchor when we moved here. I found a job working for Qualex in Durham which at the time was the photofinishing subsidiary of Kodak. I’ve worked on various systems projects or in budgeting and financial reporting for my whole career.


How long was your career break? What did you do during that time?

After two years at Qualex, I took about 8 years off after my first daughter was born. I very much wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and I was lucky to be able to do so. My husband and I went on to have two more children, a son and another daughter, so life was busy taking care of the kids when they were little.

I also obtained a couple of professional certifications at the time, as an off-ramp from working full-time and I worked for Barnes & Noble bookstore a couple of nights a week. I still maintain the CMA (certified management accountant) certification. Prior to working at RTI International, I also worked part-time for two years doing bookkeeping from home for a neighbor who had his own business.

 

What is your job now?

I work at RTI International on the FP&A (financial planning and analysis) team in one of our business units. Over the years I’ve specialized in report writing and financial analysis. Being a subject matter expert on our business intelligence reporting tool was a role that worked well and provided a good work life balance. I am currently working on a project with a large cross functional RTI team and external partners to upgrade and modernize our financial systems.

 

How did you find your job?

I kept in touch with one of the managers that I worked for at Qualex simply by sending a holiday card and letter each year. She was working at RTI at the time and reached out to me when she noted that I had started working part-time. We got to talking, and she connected me with some of her coworkers for an interview.

 

What do you like about RTI?

RTI is an independent nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition, which is a wonderful mission. I’ve met some of the smartest and hardest working people at RTI and have had great managers over the years. Working at RTI has helped me work to be a better person both personally and professionally and has prompted me to keep up with technology changes!

 

How did you know you were ready to go back to work and relaunch your career?

My youngest daughter was starting kindergarten and I felt like I would have more time to commit to working. I knew I wanted to feel like I was contributing more to our family’s financial future. My mom also was a working mom and went back to work when I went to kindergarten and my parents modeled a similar two-working-parent-household, so it seemed like the right timing.

 

What’s been the biggest adjustment about returning to work?

Entering a new chapter in life always comes with rough patches as you adjust to new habits and routines. It was hard not to be immediately available for my kids’ every request, but my husband is a great partner in that regard. He helped pick up some of those responsibilities such as sharing the rides to various after-school practices, doctor’s appointments and helping with dinners.

In other cases, the kids learned to be more independent and figure out things for themselves. I think this helped them become better individuals too. Later I looked back and saw how both my family and I had grown.

 

What advice do you have for other career relaunchers?

You can take it slow and start something part-time. I found that during the two years I worked part-time before RTI, I learned some concepts in that job that carried forward into the concepts I then needed to learn at RTI. It was interesting to see how the dots connected when I look back.

 

Why do you think RTI has been such an ideal partner and so supportive of Back to Business for many years now?

RTI is very supportive of a diverse workplace and knows that diversity makes for better teams. There are many moms and parents that work at RTI. They are always looking at unique ways to recruit candidates for job openings. The same manager I kept in touch with all those years ago is also one of the supporters of Back to Business as well.

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Credit Suisse Real Returns – The Inside Scoop From 4 Participants

Credit Suisse Real Returns – The Inside Scoop From 4 Participants

I promised you we’d dig deep into Credit Suisse’s Real Returns program and I’m about to deliver on that promise big-time! Back to Business conducted interviews with 4 Real Returns participants and they have given us some great insight into what it’s like to participate in the program. I can’t wait to share it all with you: You’ll hear about every part of their return-to-work experience, including how they knew they were ready to return to work and what their first day was really like.

Real Returns…It’s For Real

Here’s the summary: This program is a fantastic path back to work if you’ve got a career break. Your opinion is valued, your experience is respected, and you are set up for success within a supportive community of relaunchers and mentors. Read on for the details from Sally, Sreedevi, Tatyana and Krithika.

The Relaunchers

The women interviewed for this article had career breaks ranging from 5 to 29 years. Sally, Tatyana, and Krithika had experience in financial services prior to taking their career break, while Sreedevi had experience in software development.

Real Returns values all kinds of work experience and Credit Suisse strives to put program participants into a role that will draw on the skills they already possess as well as challenge them to expand their skill set.

Even if you don’t have experience in financial services, consider applying. According to Credit Suisse’s Katherine Tallent: “an interest in the financial industry and a willingness to learn are the biggest qualities we look for.”

Tell Me More!

Let’s walk through the Real Returns experience with these ladies from start to finish.

These women made great use of their career breaks! Sally spent almost all of her time out of the paid workforce leading philanthropic organizations in her community. Sreedevi was the software developer in the group, and knew that it was important for her to keep her skill set fresh so she attended training and completed professional certifications during her free time in order to be ready to relaunch her career. “I am always in touch with the latest technology,” she said.

Skill Up

Each of these relaunchers knew the importance of refreshing their skills and highlighting their community-based activities to prepare them to return to work. Krithika reskilled with LinkedIn Learning and by completing a certification in Finance. She also did some skill-based volunteering to get experience working in an office environment. In addition, she attended a return-to-work conference where she learned ways to prepare herself and met a lot of people who were transitioning back into the workforce after a break.

“It was very inspiring to hear from people who have been down the road I just started to walk on! All of this plus my added enthusiasm to work helped me feel recharged and ready to go back to work.”

Lesson Learned: You’ll need current skills to return to work and there are lots of ways to get them!

How They Knew They Were Ready

After extended career breaks, there came a time when they each knew that returning to work should be their next step. In one case, a change in life circumstances was the catalyst, for another it was that her kids were grown. Two of our relaunchers wanted to return to work because it filled important needs for them:

“I missed being around business people and getting tasks and accomplishing them” said Tatyana.

“My time away from work made me realize how much I missed working in a corporate environment and the feeling of being an independent woman,” said Krithika.

Applying for Real Returns

Applying for Real Returns was a straightforward process for these women and they invested time and energy into their applications and interview preparation.

Sally says: “I worked very hard on the application; updated my resume using a professional service. The interviews were panel style and behavioral; I did extensive research about Credit Suisse and various roles within the firm. There was a lunch hosted by CS and I used that opportunity to network.”

Krithika had a similar experience with her application:

“The Credit Suisse Real Returns program application and interview process was seamless and I felt instantly connected with everyone I spoke to during the process right from my recruiting business partner to my hiring manager. Applicants are given the opportunity to choose their areas based on their interests to explore. I had a great discussion with my hiring manager during the interview process and gained more insight about the team and the project that I might work on.”

Apply for Raleigh Real Returns here and New York Real Returns here.

First Day Jitters?

Then the big day comes – The first day back at work after an extended career break! This is an important life moment and these women were certainly up to the challenge.

Shreedevi spent some time preparing her kids for the transition and was pleased that they seemed ready and supportive as she returned to work.

Krithika’s Raleigh Real Returns 2020 program was 100% virtual due to covid and while she was both excited and a little bit nervous on her first day back to work, she was pleased with how well the program was run: “The way the virtual program was organized and conducted is extremely commendable.”

Here’s Sally’s take on her first day, which really illustrates the importance of finding the right job and company: “I was excited and not nervous. Credit Suisse was very supportive; I remember at the end of my first day almost bursting into tears because I knew CS was the right “home” for me to re-launch and build my career.”

Lesson Learned: Don’t believe the hype that getting back to work has to be a crazy time for you or your family. With the proper preparation and the right mindset, this transition can be an exciting time of growth for everyone involved!

Mentorship Makes A Difference

One of the Real Returns perks that makes the experience special is being assigned a mentor to rely on for help. Each of these women had a productive relationship with their mentor and credited them with being an invaluable source of support and guidance. Here, in their own words, are some reflections on their mentor relationship:

Sally: “The best part about Credit Suisse Real Returns has been the connection with a “buddy” and a “mentor”. I still maintain both relationships and have benefitted greatly from the stewardship and guidance I have received. My Mentor supported a very wide spectrum: culture at CS, career advice; personality management; sounding board for presentations, supplier of additional resources for presentations, networking, advice on negotiating strategy and strategy regarding finding a conversion role. We met initially once a month and then on an as-needed basis.”

Krithikta: “My Credit Suisse mentor is very encouraging, helpful and available to talk whenever I asked for advice. We discussed effectively networking virtually and building relationships.”

Tatyana: “My mentor Christina is an amazing person. She was always available for me in case I needed her. We discussed my progress in adjusting to the working environment…I could reach out to her any time. She was always open to help and support me and I received lots of wise advice from her. She helped me a lot.”

Training Included

Training is another important component of Real Returns and each of the women we interviewed mentioned that the training helped them assimilate into their new roles.

Training topics included software systems, hard skills, leadership, and career development training. Importantly, the training exposed participants to leaders from different departments at Credit Suisse, which helped participants understand where their team and role fit into the big picture and gave them exposure to people that helped them build their professional networks.

In addition to the formal training sessions, Krithika benefitted from informal learning opportunities on her team: “I received excellent on the job training that helped me be successful with my project work.”

The Insider Perspective – Beyond Real Returns

After the formal program ended, each of these women was able to transition successfully into a position at the bank. Sally is currently an Assistant Vice President (AVP) Securitized Products Operations Control Team Management. Tatyana is a Business Analyst, CS Regulatory Services. Krithika is an AVP Regulatory Reporting. Sreedevi’s title is AVP GCP DA Production Support.

Sally and Sreedevi leveraged the connections they made on other teams at the bank to secure their roles, while Tatyana assumed a position with the team she worked on during Real Returns. Krithika moved into a position on the IHC Regulatory reporting team where she works on the bank’s quarterly reports.

A Few Of My Favorite Things

I wanted to know what each person’s favorite part of Real Returns was and they did not hold back! Here’s what they told me:

Sally: “The access to absolutely anything I was interested in. We are encouraged constantly to reach out to anyone, regardless of position, to satisfy our curiosity. I also loved the autonomy I was given with the project I was assigned; I was allowed to stretch my knowledge and skillset in its completion and presentation.”

Sreedevi: “My favorite things in the Real Returns program are meeting with the cohort every week, networking sessions, and training sessions.”

Tatyana: “It helped me to get back to work smoothly and easily, without stress. With participation in the Real Returns Program, I got back confidence that I lost due to the break in my career. I received support and was provided with all the needed information and knowledge that helped me to demonstrate that I can become a valuable team member for my group. It was also a great opportunity to meet people who are professionals and to learn a lot from them. I am very thankful to Credit Suisse for the opportunity.”

Krithika: “I enjoyed everything about the program from the networking sessions, to being a part of a wonderful cohort and working on a project with an amazing and talented team where I got to learn a lot and experience the professional environment once again.”

This Could Be Your Next Chapter!

So there you have it: the complete stories of 4 Real Returns participants! I found their insights valuable and was cheering these women on as I wrote this up.

If your career break was at least 2 years, consider applying to Real Returns and joining Sally, Tatyana, Sreedevi and Krithika. Returning to work at a company that values all of your experience, including the time you spent out of the paid workforce, can be an exciting next chapter in a successful career.

Thanks to Sally, Tatyana, Sreedevi and Krithika for sharing their stories with the Back to Business community!

Learn more about Real Returns here.

 

Your Guide to Job Fair Success

Your Guide to Job Fair Success

Job fairs are a great addition to your job search toolkit.  But the thought of all those employers in one big room and lots of other job seekers circulating around the room might be intimidating to some.

Never fear – I’m going to walk you through a foolproof guide to knock it out of the job fair ballpark.  When you follow these steps, you’ll be prepared, confident and ready for success.  Let’s get started!

First, find the right job fair.  Many are free for job seekers or charge a small fee, so look carefully at any job fair that comes with a hefty admission price.  Do your research – call the organizer and ask some questions before paying to attend a job fair as a job seeker.  The right job fair will have employers there that you are interested in, or at least that you are open to learning more about.

Register in advance.  This signifies a commitment on your part and will help ensure that you don’t back out!

Research the list of companies that are attending.  Look them up and note the following things about each one:

  • What the company does
  • How big it is
  • What types of jobs they list on their website that they’re hiring for now
  • Which of their available jobs you are interested in and are a good fit for
  • How the company describes their culture
  • One interesting fact about the company that you can bring up in conversation with a recruiter

Apply to positions with those companies prior to the job fair.

Go to LinkedIn to search for a recruiter or Human Resources contact at the company. This is gold! Now send an InMail message or email to this recruiter to let her know you are a perfect fit for this job and will be at the job fair.  Include your resume.  Send it just a few days in advance of the job fair.  Be brief – you want your note to be read, so after you write it, cut it in half and then send it!

Prioritize the employers attending the job fair in order of how interested you are in each one.

Practice your personal pitch.  You should have a 20-second version of your pitch for a job fair that includes the following:

  • A firm and friendly handshake while you look the recruiter in the eye, smile and introduce yourself
  • A mention of your key skills and how they tie to the work this company does
  • The specific job opening you saw on their website that you are interested in.  We want it to be obvious that you did your homework before arriving

Your pitch should sound polished, but not like a recitation.  Keep it conversational.  Record yourself delivering it (I like the Voice Recorder & Audio Editor app for iPhone) so you can get good at it.

On game day, wear a suit.  You are a job seeker, and job seekers need to look professional.  Many other people there won’t be in suits and you will stand out for your professionalism. If your closet no longer holds suits, pull together the most professional outfit you can and go for it.

Bring copies of your resume.  Print them out on regular white paper, no need to buy the fancy paper we used to print our resumes on in the old days!  Put these in a padfolio or a nice folder along with some blank paper so you can take notes. Also bring business cards with your contact info if you have them. You can get these made at Staples or any other office supply store on really short notice and for very little money.

Arrive early: If you arrive close to the beginning of the job fair, you’ll wait in fewer lines and catch recruiters while they’re fresh.  If the job fair starts at 8:30am, plan to arrive by 8:45am – let recruiters have their coffee and get set up before you arrive.

Look at the floor plan for the job fair and note where each company has their booth.  Start with a company that is not one of your top priorities.  You want to get practice giving your pitch and really hit your stride by the time you approach your most desired company.  I also want you to avoid looking like a lost soul wandering around the room.

Enter the room like you own it!  You are the reason job fairs exist, after all.  Job fairs hope to attract qualified, professional candidates and that’s exactly what you are!  So walk in with purpose and get started with the companies you want to meet.  Here’s a sample pitch:

“Hi, my name is Elizabeth Smith.  It’s nice to meet you.  I’m a marketing manager with an expertise in digital marketing and I’m really interested in IBM because you set the standard in the tech field.  I applied for a Digital Marketing Manager position online and would like to talk to you about it.”   Then ask a smart question about it.  

Before you leave the table, offer your resume and business card and ask for the recruiter’s card.  Also, ask about the best way to follow up and if it’s OK for you to check in with them in a few days.  (You’ll need to have the recruiters contact info to follow up.)

Need a break?  Step into the lobby, find a comfy chair and write down some notes while you take a breather.  Notes like this are helpful:

Met Cindy Smith at IBM.  Hiring in digital marketing, but not in partner marketing.  Call on Monday to follow up. Also have openings in Watson Health area.

Don’t rely on your memory when you get home, because if you visit multiple booths they’ll all start to blend together in your mind.

Within 24 hours, reach out to the people you met.  Connect with them on LinkedIn with a personalized message or send an email – or both.  Let them know that you enjoyed meeting them, remind them of your conversation or the position you applied for and express interest in meeting again soon.  Don’t skip this step.  Follow up is very important and very few job seekers do it. It will set you apart.

Good luck at the job fair!

Top 10 Resources for Job Seekers

Top 10 Resources for Job Seekers

If you’re feeling stuck in your job search or just need some fresh new ideas about how to move the ball forward, here is my list of Top 10 Resources for Job Seekers. Many of these are free and easy to take advantage of. So whether you’re ready to return and find yourself at an impasse, or if you just want to think ahead, pick one of these to investigate this week.

 

My Top 10 Resources for Women Returning to Work

 

  1.  Community College – many of their job search classes are free to job-seekers.  This is also a great place to take low-cost classes that help you demonstrate that you’re a continuous learner and fill your skill gaps.

 

  1. Job search groups – many of these are run out of churches, and you don’t always have to be a member of the church to join the group. They provide support, community and speakers on topics of interest to job seekers.  In my area, for instance, First Baptist in Cary runs a big job-seeking group.

 

  1. Groups that provide technology skills training, some are focused specifically on women:
  • Women Who Code is a national group that holds meetings, runs courses and provides lots of online resources
  • Mozilla offers online resources and courses for learning and refreshing tech skills
  • Girl Develop It – now in 58 cities, they offer meet-ups for women learning to code

Meet-Ups seem to have a group for every specific coding language that exists! Google “code meet-ups (your city name)” to find out what exists in your area

 

  1.  Local networking groups that hold periodic networking lunches and events for women.   This is a great way to meet people and make new connections. Again, either google or search MeetUp.com to find groups.  Remember, you must get out of the house and meet people to advance your job search!

 

  1. Flexjobs is an online job board that posts flexible and part-time jobs

 

  1. If you need professional help putting your resume together, there are plenty of coaches out there who will help you with this and you can find them on LinkedIn.  We use Mir Garvy of RTP Resumes or Catherine Tuttle of Forward Thinking Resumes. Both of these resume experts will work with you remotely if you’re not local and are interested in their services.

 

  1. Here’s a terrific book that I highly recommend: Back on the Career Track by Vivian Steir Rabin and Carol Fishman Cohen.  It’s written just for stay-at-home-moms returning to the workforce and full of practical advice. Reinventing You by Dorie Clark is another great read that will inspire you on your job search.  Dorie’s advice: “Find the common thread between your past and where you want to go in the future.”

 

  1. Learn a new skill or refresh a current one by taking online courses on LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, or Udemy.com. There are smart and economical ways to brush up on your Excel skills and many others, and some of these courses are free.

 

  1. Additional online resources that focus on women:
  •   Power To Fly – job board that staffs women on virtual jobs
  •   Werk – Werk’s mission is to promote flexibility in the workplace
  •   Apres – online resource and job board for women returning to work

 

Let me know what other resources you have found to be helpful. 

3 LinkedIn Smart Strategies You Can Do TODAY

3 LinkedIn Smart Strategies You Can Do TODAY

I’d like to address LinkedIn and how important it is in your job search from a slightly different angle and share some smart strategies for using LinkedIn as a job searcher that you can do today.

Remember, LinkedIn is your ticket to finding out who works where and who’s hiring. For a job seeker, this is important information.

Here are 3 things to try on LinkedIn today:

 

TIP #1: Look up your dream company using the feature that allows you to see “people who work at…”. Are you connected to anyone who works there? If yes, send them a message asking for a phone call. It can read something like this:

 

Hi Sally,

I hope you’re doing well. I’m considering my next career move and have always been really interested in XYZ Company because my background in project management seems like a great fit for the roles XYZ is currently hiring for. Would you have 15 minutes during the next week or two for a phone call so I could ask you a few questions about the company and hear about your experience there?

Thanks in advance!

Katie

 

If you aren’t connected to anyone there, look at the second-degree connections and pick out someone you know who has a connection at the company. This can be either someone in the department you’re interested in (preferably) or a recruiter. Send a message to your connection asking for an introduction.

Here’s a template you can use:

Hi Sally,

I see you’re connected to Jane Smith on LinkedIn and Jane works at XYZ where I’m really interested in getting a job. Would you be able to introduce Jane and me via email or LinkedIn? My email address is xxx. Thanks for your help!

Katie

 

Did you try it? It’s pretty easy, right? Now try it a few more times – your goal is to expand your network and this will take work every day. Once you get an introduction or schedule a phone call, be ready with great questions, your elevator pitch, and an offer of “what can I do for you?”

 

 

Tip #2: For our next trick, message someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time to keep the connection fresh. Just a very brief “hello” is all we’re after here. Here’s an example:

 

Hi Bill,

It’s been a while, but I’ve enjoyed following your success on LinkedIn and hope things are going well for you at XYZ Company. I’m working on my return to work after taking a career break and I’m really excited about the possibilities!

Katie

 

Why do this? Because you never know who Bill knows or what kind of help he may be able to provide. If nothing else, you’ve done what people always say they plan to do (keep in touch with their network) but never seem to get around to actually doing – so good for you! Your contacts will recognize that this is smart networking and give you credit for it. Plus, if you need to reach out to Bill with a specific request in the near future, it won’t be so awkward because you’ve checked in with him recently.

 

Tip #3: Ask for recommendations! Having multiple recommendations is a great way to fill out your profile and asking for them is easy. Use the “Ask for recommendations” feature on LinkedIn. Or you can send your request via email. Allow me to get you started:

 

Hi Sally, I’m planning my next career move and filling out my LinkedIn profile as part of the process. Would you write a brief recommendation for me? I was hoping you could reference our work together as project managers/my technical skills/the great teamwork we had while working together at X Company. I’d be happy to do the same for you so please let me know if that would be helpful. Thank you!

A few things to keep in mind about your request:

  • Be specific about what you’d like people to comment on. This helps them write something quickly and gets you just what you want on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Offer to reciprocate.
  • Keep your request brief!
  • Don’t shy away from asking people for recommendations even if it’s been many years since you worked together. They’ll remember you and the work you did.

 

Try these out today. Why today? Because doing this now while it’s fresh in your mind is your best bet for getting it done. Also, because these are things you need to do on a regular basis and you’ll get more comfortable as you do them more often. Start today and then do them again tomorrow.

Remember, your job as a job seeker is to expand your network. If you’re returning to work after a career break you’re going to have to tap into your network to find your next opportunity and LinkedIn is a great way to do this.

 

When not offering tips on making LinkedIn the focus of your job search…well, actually, because LinkedIn IS that important, Katie can always be found offering LinkedIn assistance to her UNC MBA Candidates and women like her who are returning to the workforce. For more information and tips, check out www.backtobusinessconference.com.