Going back to work after a break from the workforce can be challenging.

No matter the length of your break, technological advances have changed how work is performed, especially the hiring process.

Whether your break was expected (due to raising your kids) or whether your break was unexpected (due to caregiving, divorce, or the death of a spouse), create a plan of action.

Start by addressing these questions:

Add other requirements you have for a new job.

Once this list is developed, it becomes your checklist when comparing opportunities.

The next item to address is what you can do – your skills.

The more specific you become with what you are looking for, the easier it is to ask others to help you find a job.

Which leads to the next item, list all your connections.

Contact each connection directly with your request.

The longer you’ve been out of the workforce, the greater your chance of finding a job through someone you know.

You’ll also have more options with a smaller firm than a larger one because their hiring process and requirements are less rigid.

Here are a couple of examples of what to say to your connections:


After a ten-year sabbatical from work, I’m looking to re-enter the workforce and would appreciate your help. In my last job, I was the Executive Assistant to the Senior VP of Sales at a PR firm. I was responsible for scheduling meetings, producing documents for each meeting, and planning off-site client events. Do you know anyone looking for an Executive Assistant?


Since my husband passed away, I’m ready to return to work. It’s been a while since I’ve worked, and I’m unsure what’s out there. Through my volunteer work, I’ve worked with teams to plan and implement different events. I’m looking for part-time general administrative work to supplement what I already have and to stay busy. Do you know anyone who is hiring?

Once you have an opportunity, then spend time creating your resume. Tailor it to the job you are applying for to have better results.

Most people create a resume first and then submit it online.

Because of your sabbatical from the workforce, it may be difficult for you to make it through the automated screening process.

Reaching out to connections with what you are looking for will give you better results.

Going back to work after a break is hard work. Mentally prepare yourself for this rigorous task.

One-on-one conversations take time. Depending on how many people you can talk with or meet with daily will determine how quickly you find a job.

During the process (and beyond), remain PEF (positive, enthusiastic, and focused)!

(Update to original post from May 23, 2018)


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA®, RICP®, is a Managing Director at Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing  comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, and retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”