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It has long been accepted wisdom that women must permanently give up their occupations to fulfill their obligations to their families, particularly as wives and mothers, in almost every nation on earth.

At some time in their life, women also frequently choose to take a temporary leave of absence. Revitalizing their professions after a break of more than three years, however, often proves to be more difficult than it appears.

Career

This article will provide a brief overview of the main problems women encounter with the employment gap caused by marriage, having children, family obligations, and suitable jobs to fill a career gap.

What is the problem?

Women frequently quit their jobs due to numerous family-related concerns and a lack of work-life balance. This is a global issue that affects people of different races, cultures, and geographical locations.

The perception that women are not capable of handling higher positions in the workplace is further reinforced by the prevalence of such events. Because some authorities think women can be less focused and motivated about their careers than males, their chances are given little thought. For many women, this becomes an obstacle to receiving that well-earned promotion.

The primary causes of women’s employment gaps are marriage and children. Lack of support from loved ones or even a significant other can seriously undermine someone’s self-esteem. For a new mother, the situation is far worse. They are expected to manage the kids, their jobs, and home tasks by themselves if they want to keep working after having a child.

Women who resign from their jobs after marriage still have the drive to pursue their careers, but the maternity gap presents a distinct challenge. When women consider devoting more time to their careers than to their families, they experience intense guilt.

Aside from that, the largest obstacle facing women who choose to return to the workforce is locating positions that fit their career gaps. The majority of medium- to large-sized organizations frequently reject qualified applicants whose career gaps exceed three years. They conclude that because the individual has been out of the game for so long, their past experiences are meaningless.

The severity of the problem

According to the International Labour Organization’s projections (2022), more than 2 million women quit the labor force in 2020, which is further related to men’s and women’s participation at home. According to the survey, there is a considerable gender gap in household participation in most nations, which puts pressure on women to take on childcare and home chores.

As a result, the biggest problem is the employment gap brought on by marriage, having children, and family pressure.

In addition to highlighting the spike in female job abandonment during the pandemic, the research also emphasized how low mother participation and married people’s overall participation rates were in the labor market even before the outbreak.

Just 55% of moms with at least one child under the age of six were actively engaged in the labor force, compared to 97.1% of fathers. Men made up 93.5 percent of the labor force, compared to women who made up only 62.1 percent.

How is this career gap impacting females?

There are a few preconceived notions about women in the workforce that support the idea that they are less suited than men to manage a demanding work environment. In addition, women have traditionally been placed in a position of guilt by society, leading them to believe that it is immoral to put employment before household duties.

A woman’s résumé suffers considerably more when there is a professional hiatus. Women are already viewed as being less productive and profitable for a company. Furthermore, a CV with a gap of more than three years frequently causes a recruiter to doubt a candidate’s qualifications.

There is still a long way to go, even though the difference in incomes between men and women has greatly decreased in comparison to earlier times. For all genders, however, finding a work becomes challenging during a protracted employment hiatus. But in the case of a female, it is highlighted even more.

Recruiters have the right to reject female candidates with a variety of justifications, even in the face of a demonstrated history of excellent performance and outcomes. The main justification is that women tend to prioritize their families over corporate obligations. Furthermore, people anticipate that a woman will do it again if she has already done it in the past.

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Solutions for the problem

This guide aims to empower women with practical advice to seamlessly transition back into the workforce and achieve their professional goals.

1. Acknowledge and Embrace Your Career Gap

The first step to overcoming a career gap is to acknowledge it confidently. Instead of viewing your break as a setback, recognize the valuable experiences and skills you gained during this time. Whether you developed time management skills while caring for a family or pursued personal growth through volunteering, these experiences are assets. Embracing your career gap allows you to present it positively to potential employers.

2. Update Your Skills and Knowledge

The job market is continuously evolving, and staying updated with the latest trends and technologies is crucial. Consider enrolling in online courses, attending workshops, or obtaining certifications relevant to your field. Platforms like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and Udemy offer a wide range of courses that can help you bridge any knowledge gaps and enhance your resume.

3. Revamp Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile and CV serve as your marketing assets. Ensure they are up-to-date and reflect your current skills and experiences. Highlight any new qualifications or skills acquired during your career break. Include a section that briefly explains your career gap and emphasizes the positive aspects of your time away from the workforce. Additionally, seek recommendations from former colleagues or supervisors to bolster your profile.

4. Leverage Your Network

Networking is a powerful tool for re-entering the job market. Reach out to former colleagues, mentors, and industry contacts to let them know you’re back in the job market. Participate in forums on the internet, join professional associations, and attend industry events. Networking can provide valuable insights, job leads, and support as you navigate your return to work.

5. Consider Part-Time or Freelance Work

If a full-time position seems daunting initially, consider part-time or freelance work as a stepping stone. These opportunities can help you gradually ease back into the professional world, rebuild your confidence, and expand your portfolio. Freelancing also offers flexibility, allowing you to balance personal commitments while re-establishing your career.

6. Prepare for Interviews

Be prepared to discuss your career gap during interviews confidently and positively. Practice how you will explain your break and the skills and experiences you gained during this period. Emphasize your enthusiasm for returning to work and how your time away has prepared you for new challenges. Highlight your commitment to continuous learning and professional development.

7. Seek Professional Support

Career coaches and mentors can provide valuable guidance and support during your transition back to work. They can help you refine your job search strategies, prepare for interviews, and build your confidence. Many organizations and non-profits also offer return-to-work programs specifically designed to support individuals re-entering the workforce after a break.

8. Focus on Self-Care and Confidence Building

Returning to work after a career break can be stressful. It’s essential to prioritize self-care and build your confidence. Engage in activities that boost your self-esteem and reduce stress, such as exercise, meditation, or pursuing hobbies. Be in the company of encouraging and motivating family members and friends.

9. Be Open to New Opportunities

The job market may have changed since you last worked, and being open to new opportunities is crucial. Consider roles that may not align perfectly with your previous job but offer growth potential and a chance to learn new skills. Sometimes, stepping outside your comfort zone can lead to exciting and fulfilling career paths.

10. Stay Persistent and Positive

Re-entering the workforce can take time, and it’s essential to stay persistent and positive throughout the process. Rejections are part of the job search journey, but each rejection brings you closer to the right opportunity. Keep refining your approach, learning from feedback, and maintaining a positive outlook.

Conclusion

Overcoming career gaps is a journey that requires resilience, confidence, and a proactive approach. By embracing your career break, updating your skills, leveraging your network, and maintaining a positive mindset, you can successfully transition back into the workforce. Remember, your career gap is just a chapter in your professional story, and with determination and the right strategies, you can achieve your career goals and thrive in your chosen field.

FAQs:

  1. Why is acknowledging my career gap important?

    Acknowledging your career gap shows confidence and transparency, allowing you to highlight skills and experiences gained during the break, which builds trust with potential employers.

  2. How can I leverage my network to find job opportunities?

    Reconnect with former colleagues, mentors, and industry contacts, attend events, join professional associations, and participate in online forums for valuable job leads, insights, and support.

  3. How should I prepare for interviews after a career break?

    Practice explaining your career gap confidently, emphasizing skills gained, enthusiasm for returning to work, and commitment to continuous learning and professional development.

  4. What should I include in my resume to address a career gap?

    Include a brief explanation of your career gap, highlight relevant skills, new qualifications, volunteer work, or freelance projects, and focus on how these experiences make you a stronger candidate.

  5. How can I build my confidence when returning to work?

    Engage in activities that boost self-esteem, reduce stress, and surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Practice self-care and focus on your achievements and strengths.


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