Career Tips

How To Get Back Into The Workforce After 20 Years?

Hey mom! Have you ever wondered how to get back into the workforce after 20 years of being on a hiatus? Well, wonder no more as we are going to talk about it today and also sharing with you a few tips on how to get back into work after such a long absence.


We think it’s pretty normal that in some cases when a mom gives birth to a child, her priorities change. Her focus becomes solely ensuring that the baby grows up healthy and happy.


It isn’t surprising why a lot of women turned mom would rather sacrifice their jobs just to be with their child, taking care of them.


While some moms, leave their work because they want to, most of the other moms leave working because they have no choice – meaning, no one’s going to take care or look over their child but them. Hiring a babysitter may be one of the best options for working moms, but sometimes it just doesn’t work either.


For instance, some of us did opt to leave our jobs not because we wanted to but because we needed to – all for the love of my child. Some of us may have tried looking for a babysitter but were not able to find the right one – the scariest thing for any mom and/or dad is entrusting the kids to a stranger, right. Thus, some couples end up with a decision wherein the mom is forced to stay at home and focus on our child.


At first, it can be really exciting and thrilling especially if you have been in the workforce all your life. Being away from it gives you a different feeling. It’s like grasping some fresh air.


However, as times passed by, it may feel like it’s not as happy as it was the first time anymore. You will eventually feel that yearning to go back to work and earn your own money once again. Every single day becomes really challenging that all you can do is to keep reminding yourself about the very reason why you are doing this little sacrifice – it’s not for you but for that tiny little human you love so much.


Tips on Getting Back Into the Workplace


Let’s admit it, going back to work after a long time can be intimidating. It is not surprising if sometimes you feel like your brains are already dull. Your self-esteem decreases. You sometimes wonder, if you ever go back to work again, will there still be companies who would be willing to choose you over the younger ones? Probably, you have been out of the workforce for just awhile. Well, think about those who have been out as a fulltime mom for more than a decade now, in particular, 20 years.


Now that makes you wonder even more how to get back into the workforce after 20 years?


That said, here are a few tips on how to get back into the workforce after 20 years of being on a hiatus. This is also applicable to those who have been out of the workforce for less or more than 20 years.



  1. Know what you want.


By now your priorities career-wise may have changed already. That is why it is important that you, know what you want and then once you already know it, you focus on it.


For instance, you have worked as an administrator before quitting your job to be a fulltime mom, you may want to rethink if it’s still the same thing that you want to do after 20 years of being away from work.


You may start asking yourself questions like:


– Am I still confident doing this job?

– Am I willing to work fulltime again doing this kind of job?

– Is it really for me?

– If I pursue this, will I still get to reach my goals?


These are just some of the questions to ask yourself to help you decide what you want to focus on.


Being away from the workforce for such a long period of time, you may find yourself seeing a different path to take. You may want to consider trying out a new kind of work, or you may still want to focus on your niche. Regardless of your choice, the thing is, once you decide to work again, you face to focus your time and energy finding work within the area that you want.


In case you no longer want to pursue the kind of job where you are at before, you may consider asking the following questions to yourself to help you discern what it is that you want this time around:


  • What do I want to do?
  • What kind of work industry do I want to enter?
  • Am I okay with getting an entry-level position or does my previous job level matter to me?
  • Should I look for a part-time work schedule, or should I look for a flexible one?
  • Am I willing to travel?
  • Am I willing to be relocated for work?
  • Geographically-speaking, where do I want or work?
  • Would I rather look for a telecommuting job or I prefer working on location?
  • Am I okay to travel for work?


It is normal for moms to ask themselves these questions especially if you still have younger children attend to. These questions will surely help you get through the next steps.



  1. Find your reason for going back to work.


Probably the most common question any recruiter will ask you is the reason why you have decided to work again. You can be as blunt as you want to help your husband meet the financial needs of your family, or you can simply say, you just feel the need to go back working.


While these are good answers, potential employers will most likely look for a deeper response that is appealing to them. Something that will make them see why you are the best option for the job.


Find a very solid reason why you are going back to work. It would be beneficial to you as well since that very reason will also serve as your motivation for finding a job, and at the same time, your motivation to do your job well, and be a good employee.


Apart from the usual financial-related reasoning, you may also consider the following:


– Ability to use your current and develop potential skills

– Gaining more responsibilities

– Being able to impart something to the society in making this world a better place to live in especially for your kids’ generation and the generations to come

– Imparting your knowledge and skills to other people

– The ability to interact with other people, at the same time, being able to help


But really, at the end of the day, you just have to look deep in your heart to see what is it that you really want to do after such a long work break.


  1. Make your experience up-to-date.


You may probably ask, how in the world would you be able to update your experience when in the first place, the only current experience you have is being a mom to your kids. Well, that may count! Hey, you get to learn a lot of things about life by being a mom.


But seriously, we understand how time can probably lose your expertise on some things. Sometimes even as simple as basic Microsoft applications, you sometimes forget how to operate or use it. Well, that’s pretty normal. But once you decide to work again, you better double-time in updating your experiences.


Some ways to help prove your potential employer that you are not as dull as they may think to include:


– Do volunteer activities. We think this is the most common, most available, cheapest, yet mots fulfilling way of updating your experiences. This will keep your abilities up to par. Depending on your career expertise and the industry you belong to, you may look for volunteer work by contacting organizations, hospital, school, vet, a local business, or even your local church to check if you can offer your services for free or be part of their volunteer program if they have any.


– Take a crash course. You do not necessarily have to go back to regular school to gain knowledge. All you have to do is look for and enroll in crash courses or classes. There are many certificate courses out there that will enhance your knowledge and expertise. Just be mindful of your timeline though if you planning to enroll in a class or crash course. Make sure you plan it out along with the time you are planning to start your job search.


– Attend industry conferences. Normally, professionals do have annual conferences. Take advantage of those. Be in the know and be updated on the latest trends in the industry where you belong to by attending conferences. Another thing is, you can also take advantage of this occasion to widen your network or professional connections. So, be sure to check the date and plan ahead if you want to attend such a conference before you even begin sending your applications.


– Do research. If in case you are unable to attend a conference due to an unmatched schedule or lack of funds, you can still get updated on the latest trends in your industry by simply doing your own research from the comforts of your home. All you have to do is hop ion the internet and find resources from reliable websites related to the industry where you belong. You may also subscribe to professional journals to widen your knowledge about the latest research and discoveries related to your field of expertise. Your being up-to-date will sure make an excellent impression.


– Prioritize. Make improving your skills a priority. Schedule the list of activities you are attending or the classes you will be taking. After all, once you are done with all these, you are sure to reap what you sow. A little sacrifice, for now, will go a long way for you for sure.


  1. Format your resume strategically.


The resume is your number one tool towards finding a job. It’s the very first thing any recruiters will look at first before even inviting for an interview. Thus, making it more crucial to ensure that your resume will work for you.


To be perfectly honest, the huge time gap between your last jobs to now is an immediate red flag among recruiters. Thus, to ease out the impact of the gap in your professional work experience, the key is to organize your resume in such a way that it emphasizes your skills rather than your work experience.


You may consider the following tips when writing your resume:


– Combination Format. Instead of the usual resume writing, do a combination format for your resume. Meaning, you highlight your skills by putting it on top of your resume, and then your professional experience is placed at the bottom part instead.


It is usual among recruiters to look at your resume from top to bottom. By using the combination format means recruiters will get to see what you’re capable of doing first before what you have already done before.


– Never mind following the reverse-chronological order. Usually, when you are writing a resume, you do a reverse-chronological order in order to highlight your most recent work experience. But if this is not going to work for your advantage, better showcase your most impressive work experience by listing it first instead.


– Transferrable Skills. List down all your transferable skills as this is highly important when you are trying to get back into the workforce after such a long period of time. Also, apart from your transferable skills, you may also include your leadership experience, if applicable.


– Be honest. We think this is the ultimate rule. Be honest with what you put in there. Do not exaggerate. The best way to sell yourself for a job is by being completely honest with your skills and job experiences.

– Avoid common resume mistakes. Be mindful of errors. As much as possible, you avoid them. Before sending it out, make sure to look for any error and correct them right away. If you are not sure, you may ask someone like a friend or former colleague to proofread your resume.


  1. Do have an interview rehearsal.


How to get back into the workforce after 20 years? You do a mock interview with a friend! It’s been a long time since you have been in the workforce, which means it’s been a long time since you also experience being interviews by a job recruiter.


That said, invite a friend to your place – better if you have a human resources friend – and do a mock-up interview with her. Ask her to ask you questions that are normally thrown to applicants these days. After your rehearsal, ask for your friend’s comments or inputs.


Doing such exercise will also help boost your confidence level especially once the real one comes. Remember, for someone who has been out of the workplace for such a long period of time, we say, it’s better to over-prepare than not prepare at all.


  1. Look for jobs online.


Twenty years ago, probably the best way to get into a job is handing your resume personally to the human resources people of the company you are applying for.


Time has changed. The best way to find a job nowadays is via online job sites. In fact, there are several job sites to choose from nowadays – some are even focused on a certain industry, but mostly are well-rounded. Meaning, they cater to all industries and types of jobs, including the job level.


To be able to apply for any job online, most websites will require you to fill out their online forms, at the same time, giving you an option to upload your resume. Believe us, it’s a lot easier to look and apply for jobs these days. You can do it right at the very comforts of your home.


  1. Do some networking.


Remember we mentioned earlier about attending industry-related conferences? That is the best way for you to network with people in your field. Let’s admit it, knowing someone from the industry helps big time towards landing a job especially with such a huge break from the work atmosphere.


Apart from attending conferences, you may also widen your professional network by joining professional organizations, reaching out to your university’s alumni association, as well as joining LinkedIn.




How to get back into the workforce after 20 years?


Well, whether you are a fulltime mom who thought it’s time to get back into working or someone who just opted to go on a hiatus from the workforce for such a long time, the fact is, you can always and you will always have work to get back to.


While it may sound really challenging to get back into the workforce after such a long period of time of being away from it, at the end of the day, as long as you have skills, and the right attitude towards work, plus the dedication to your craft, you will surely land a job.


The tips we mentioned above are very useful to help you get started. Also, keeping a positive mind will also help a lot. Good luck!