Worried that a break from work will harm your career prospects? Read five simple ways you can remain attractive to employers while you’re on maternity leave – and still enjoy your time with your baby.
Depending on where you live in the world, having a baby usually entitles you to a period of paid or unpaid maternity leave.
But while it’s wonderful (and important) to have the opportunity to spend time with your baby, many women worry that taking a break from work will have a negative impact on their career.
Taking a break from your work to care for your baby doesn’t have to set your career back. So, to ensure that you can enjoy your maternity leave without worrying about what happens afterwards, we’ve outlined five things you can do to help you remain attractive to employers.
One of the best ways to ensure you don’t fall behind in your career during maternity leave is to simply stay in touch with work. And indeed there are a number of simple things you can do in your limited free time that can have a positive impact on your post-maternity leave job prospects. Here are some ideas:
If you’re worried about an extended maternity leave adding a large gap to your CV, then you may want to consider volunteering. There’s such a wide range of volunteering options available, and you should find it quite easy to find something that will fit the available hours you can spare.
Volunteering is a great way to boost your confidence, meet people, keep your skills sharp (or even add to them), and give you valuable experience and references to add to your CV.
It also shows employers you are still curious and committed to working. So explore the volunteering options in your area and see which ones you’re most attracted to.
Don’t think that, just because you’re on maternity leave, your opportunities to build your work network are non-existent. As well as staying in touch with former contacts, having a baby opens up a world of new opportunities to meet potentially useful connections.
So join local NCT and baby groups – you’ll be surprised at the wealth of talent you can uncover in fellow mums. It may take some time to find a group you click with, but do persevere. (Groups like Mothers Meeting have been set up specifically to help ambitious, intelligent mums connect and share ideas, dreams, resources etc.)
And don’t forget to keep up with any industry events you can attend. Just because you’re not working right now, doesn’t mean you can’t stay up to date with developments, extend your network, and get a good idea of what’s out there and how it can help further your career when you’re ready to resume work.
Continuing your education is a great idea for mothers who are eager to get back into the workforce after their maternity leave ends. And luckily, there are a plethora of online courses to choose from, many of which are extremely affordable and can be completed at your own pace.
Finally, even if you’d prefer to use your maternity leave to simply relax and disconnect yourself from all things work related, there’s still one thing you can do that will improve your employability.
Many companies today actually prefer more rounded people who know how to maintain a stable work-life balance, so you may choose to use this time to find a new activity that you can pursue. Hobbies like learning a new language or musical instrument may not always translate directly into workplace benefits, but they can help you broaden your horizons and often serve to make you a more employable person overall.
Some mums even decide to nurture their entrepreneurial spirit by starting a passion-based home business on maternity leave. But anything that keeps your mind busy and your spirits high is bound to be beneficial.
As you can see, there are number of different ways you can remain attractive to employers while you’re on maternity leave – and boost your career prospects when you’re ready to return to work.
But while it’s certainly beneficial to keep one eye on your career while you’re at home with your new baby, it shouldn’t be at the expense of enjoying this precious time. So make sure, above all, that you take some time away from worrying about your career and relish this opportunity to spend time with your child.
That’s why we’ve made sure the ideas above can be balanced quite easily around your role as a mum. The time will come to re-focus your attention more fully on work will come soon enough!