Empowering All Working Moms: Tips for Women Reentering the Workforce After Taking a Career Break

March 2, 2020

This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating working mothers and shining a light on the barriers mothers face when returning to work after taking a career break. 

More than half (63%) of hiring managers recognize that there are obstacles -- from inflexible work schedules to stigmas attached to taking time off to lack of career growth -- that make it challenging for mothers to advance in their careers after a break. However, the data also reveals that hiring managers today are eager to recruit mothers returning to the workforce and see this group as an important talent pool with in-demand skills.

So how can we bridge this gap and combat this barrier to entry? To start, we’ve used our new research to compile top tips and advice for mothers returning to work. 

Embrace your break

Our research shows that nearly half (49%) of hiring managers say that they'd hire a working mom who's taken a career break, because she's likely to be hard-working, have strong time management skills (37%), and patience (30%). 

When it comes to addressing a career break during the interview process, nearly 60 percent (58%) of hiring managers agree that parents should highlight any career breaks they’ve had on their resume and proactively share the value of taking this time off.  

Tip: Take the initiative to discuss your career break during an interview and use it as an opportunity to highlight the unique transferable skill you’ve learned in your new role as a mother. LinkedIn Learning offers courses on how to explain the gap on your resume to help you feel confident during this discussion, and LinkedIn’s Interview Prep Tools can help you nail down your elevator pitch and get interview-ready. 

Look for a company that’s right for you 

When looking for a new job after a career break it’s important to take into account what kind of workplace culture best fits your needs. More than 64% of women believe that the biggest obstacle preventing working mothers from advancing in their careers is a non-flexible work schedule. 

Tip: When looking for a job or starting a new one, use the interview period as an opportunity to also interview the employer on the company culture: Do they offer employee resource groups for parents? Do they allow flexible work schedules? If you’re looking for a new job, you can also set up a Job Filter on LinkedIn to discover jobs that fit your needs, such as part-time roles or jobs that allow you to work remotely. 

Lean on your community 

Throughout the re-entry process, it’s important to lean on your community. Our data found that 28% of working moms look for their company to provide support groups for working parents. From advice on how to talk to a manager about a promotion to finding sponsorship opportunities, building a strong community of supporters can be key when it comes to advancing in your career. 

Tip: A great way to find inspiration, a mentor or even a lead to a new opportunity is through your network on LinkedIn. LinkedIn Groups provides a place for people with similar interests to share their insight and experiences, ask for guidance and build valuable connections. Some popular LinkedIn Groups for working women include Working Single Moms and Thrive: Professional Women's Group

The transition from employee to mother to working mother can be a remarkable shift, but remember that you’re not alone. Join us in celebrating International Women’s Day and the mothers balancing families and careers as they navigate re-entering the workforce. You can recognize a working mother who has had an impact on you with LinkedIn’s IWD "Kudos” and the hashtags #IWD2020 and #InItTogether.

METHODOLOGY: This data-driven analysis was conducted via a Censuswide survey fielded from February 13 - 20, 2020, among 3,000 working parents ages 18-54 and 1,000 hiring managers across the U.S.