The Comeback Mom: How To Reinvent Your Career After A Break

Actress, activist, mother and now visiting professor at the London School of Economics Angelina Jolie is part of a wave of women returning to work after reinventing themselves.We get it that she is not your average working mom returning to full time work, redefining herself with a new career. After all, she has six children and as an Oscar-winning actress has played everything from a Disney evil queen to Lara Croft, a live action figure from the video game, Tomb Raider.But Angelina Jolie will be donning a professor’s cap to co-teach with William Hague, the former foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, “a masters course at the London School of Economics under the school’s Centre for Women, Peace and Security,” according to Rachel Cruise writing in the Parent Herald.Registration for classes starts soon, but she will not be teaching the course until 2017, and she may only be on campus for one lecture. But women leaders from around the world also taking part in the lecturing and teaching are going to make this one amazing learning opportunity.According to Cruise, “Other visiting professors expected in the women’s studies class at LSE are Jane Connors from Amnesty International Geneva and Madeleine Rees from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. LSE is the second top ranking school in the United Kingdom when it comes to social policy and administration, per The Guardian. It is in the top 20 universities in the country overall.”Perhaps Jolie is a brand of working mothers who are bucking the old advice of not talking about your children in job interviews to being transparent and spilling about their lives at home.New research shows that being more authentic may help you get a job, not hinder you. Rebecca Greenfield writes in Bloomberg:Researchers at Vanderbilt University asked more than 3,000 people to assume the role of employer and judge résumés of hypothetical female job applicants. All the résumés displayed equal qualifications, and all applicants had taken a chunk of time away from work. Some applicants explained the reason for the gap, with reference to raising children, and others offered no explanation at all.”[bctt tweet=“New research shows that being more authentic may help you get a job, not hinder you”]She adds, “Being candid about a child-rearing interval proved far more successful than silence, with employers becoming 30 percent to 40 percent more likely to hire a woman who offered an explanation for taking a break from work. ‘Any explanation is better than no explanation at all,’ said Jennifer Shinall, an assistant professor of law at Vanderbilt who worked on the study. ‘People prefer known risk, knowing why a woman left the labor market.’’There are a lot of women in this boat, headed out of the harbor and back out to sea.Greenfield writes: “Around a third of highly qualified women leave their jobs to spend time at home with their children, according to an oft-cited 2009 study from the Center for Talent Innovation. Almost 90 percent of those women wanted to go back to work, this study found, but only 40 percent got full-time jobs. The women who do make it back into a job take a financial hit, with compensation dropping about 30 percent after just two or three years away from work, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.”Gloria Feldt, president and co-founder of Take The Lead agrees that parenting belongs on every resume. She writes in Take The Lead: “The sense that parenthood has little to do with professional life remains stubbornly in place. Parenthood doesn’t just equip you with experiences that come in handy at work. It can actually help you hone the skills that the 21st-century economy is coming to value more and more. And it’s why working parents should start adding ‘parenthood’ to their resumes, especially women in leadership roles.”To meet the demand of women returning to work after raising child and now looking for jobs, Jennifer Gefksy founded Apres, a search site for women going back to work after a break.Lydia Dishman writes in Fast Company: “Like LinkedIn, Après is free to join and search jobs. Those who want to be found by potential employers can pay $250 per year or a $25 per month charge (with a three-month minimum) for a premium membership. Companies pay an annual fee on a sliding scale based on their size. Unlike recruiters, Après will not take an additional fee if a candidate is placed through the platform.”Dishman adds, “It’s a virtually untapped market for employers, Gefsky underscores, particularly as more educated millennial women are heading toward parenthood. Gefsky does maintain, ‘We don’t discriminate, anyone is welcome to join,’ she adds that women are Après’ focus.”Many women returning to the labor force after having children may decide to open their own businesses, simply because it is too hard to get hired. In another piece in Fast Company, Dishman writes: “When a woman becomes a mother, the challenges continue to mount. Michelle Budig, author of The Fatherhood Bonus and the Motherhood Penalty, found that working mothers are viewed as more distracted and less productive, while working fathers are viewed as more stable because they have kids to support. Other research from Harvard indicates that women who become mothers are perceived as less goal-oriented than men.”[bctt tweet=“Many women returning to the labor force after having children may decide to open their own businesses”]In a recent TED talk about women relaunching their careers, “Carol Fishman Cohen (How to Get Back to Work After a Career Break, CEO of iRelaunch) addresses how growing numbers of companies are on a mission to attract such women — and men — through novel reentry internship programs,” writes Rich Eisenberg in Next Avenue. “Cohen calls these people ‘relaunchers’ and dubs them ‘a gem of the workforce,’” according to Eisenberg. “In the last few months, there has been a surge of startup activity in the career reentry space, including new offerings focusing on job boards and updating people who are returning to work after a career break.”He adds, “These startups include Apres, The Mom Project, OptIn, GSVlabs Reboot Career Accelerator for Women and Landit.com. Also, Cohen noted, Path Forward, a nonprofit working on reentry internships just launched.”“I look at all of this activity as a big plus,” Cohen told Eisenberg. The new ventures “will help the professionals who are returning, and ultimately the employers who hire these energized and enthusiastic high performers,” Cohen added.Whether you are a mom returning to work, or someone taking a new career path, be sure that you map out where you are going carefully.[bctt tweet=“Whether you are a mom returning to work, or someone taking a new career path, be sure that you map out where you are going carefully”]Ruth Medd, founder of Women on Boards in Australia, writes in Womens Agenda: “Do take the time to ask, ‘What do I need to do next? What do I need to develop?’ You can’t just sit in a corner and figure it out. Perhaps you do need some form of assistance. It might be offered by your place of employ or via review mechanisms. It might be offered through your professional association. Give the matter more thought earlier, rather than just sailing forth.”