Returning to work: tips to get you to the top

Maggie Berry from womenintechnology.co.uk explains how you can get back on the career ladder after maternity leave

After all the sleepless nights that your bundles of joy can bring, many of you are eager to return to work, get back into the business world and savour some adult company! But returning to the workplace can also be a daunting prospect, full of new challenges and worries.

According to a recent survey undertaken by womenintechnology.co.uk and Microsoft, 88% of respondents believed that more should be done to encourage women to return to their technology careers after maternity.? ?A late in life maternity leave killed any chance of promotion stone dead? said one respondent, while another said:? ?Being a woman hasn?t been detrimental to my career, but being a mother has.??

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Many women also felt that retraining for returners was an important aspect that many employers missed. As one woman put it: ?A lot of effort goes into training graduates, none into refreshing women returners? skills.?

Little wonder then, that so many new mothers worry about what will happen to their career after having children. As a ?returner? here are our top five tips to ensure that you are not left behind:

1. Believe in yourself. Be confident. Be determined: Being out of the workplace can often lead to a loss of confidence in yourself and your ability. Remember what you are capable of doing, work hard and sell yourself!

2. Take up opportunities and be visible: Grasp opportunities with both hands ? this will prove your dedication and give you a chance to show what you can achieve. As one respondent to our survey said, ?Never say no if it will open up new opportunities. Even when I had children I said yes to things other women would have refused as it may upset their children if they are away for a few days. I said yes and got significant progress. If it?s a disaster don?t do it again soon. If you can, do ? it?s very simple.?

3. Keep up to date: Try to be aware of developments in your industry and keep up to date with new skills to ensure you stay ahead. Ask your employer if they can help to retrain you – it is in their interests too.

4. Be flexible: If you are starting work late or finishing early due to child responsibilities, perhaps do some work in the evenings to catch up. This will confirm your commitment and make sure that you deliver on projects.

5. It?s all about the people: Network to increase your visibility and reach. Maintain and develop a strong relationship with your colleagues and management. Have a mentor or join a women?s network for advice and support.

There is obviously still room for improvement with regards to employers? policies for, and some employee?s attitudes towards new mothers in the workplace, but with some determination you can succeed!

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