A reporter reached out recently to ask for my best tips on returning to work — ones that went beyond the obvious so I spent some time putting these together and thought I would share them here.

1) Your network can be your lifeline back into the workforce. Be careful to activate it only when you’re really ready. I thank Laura Riordan for really bringing the readiness aspect to my attention. People have limited time so you want to be specific when you ask something of them. Do you want to tell them what you’re interested in doing next? Do you need an introduction to someone they know? Or are you just reaching out informationally for now?

2) Nurture your network while you’re out. This can be as easy as staying in touch with former colleagues on social media, or as personal as meeting for coffee once or twice a year. Holiday cards are also a nice way to keep connections alive. It will be easier to go to people with an ask if you aren’t returning from out of the woodwork all of the sudden. A nurtured network also enables you to be useful to others along the way so the sharing of information is mutually beneficial.

3) Be social. This is not a time to hide behind your laptop. Go to social gatherings with friends, professional events you find interesting, alumni events and so on. Talk with others with interest about things that are interesting to you. Don’t make every interaction a sale of what you want to do, just be social and natural. Then follow up after those events with an email that is more specific. Enjoy the process and opportunity to get together with others!

4) Be confident in yourself. Look at the time you took to be with your family as time well spent. A chapter that leads you to the next. This is invaluable and your enthusiasm for both chapters will be contagious.

What have you learned that you want to share? Tell me and I’ll compile into a post to share with everyone.

~ Stacey

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