Returning to work after a career break? Don’t be an egg.

More and more businesses are waking up to the untapped potential of talented, experienced women, who left professional roles to take a career break, often, though not always, to look after a family. Some larger organisations, such as investment banks and accountancy firms, are launching formal “returnship” programmes to encourage women like this to return to professional life.
On the other side of the fence, women who have brought up young children are finding themselves with more time on their hands once those children grow older. With years of experience behind them and plenty of earnings potential ahead, they are beginning to think about how best to return to the world of work. For some, running their own business or supporting a charity feels like a manageable option. Others, though, want to return to more formal and potentially lucrative roles. Some would very much like to relaunch the careers they left.
As Sheryl Sandberg points out in Lean In, for women with children, careers need to be more like jungle gyms than a ladder. At times, they will progress rapidly, at other times they need to take a sideways move or a less challenging role.
So how to return to professional life? How best to market oneself after a break?
Like it or not, we live in an era where social marketing is not just a “nice to have” but a “must do”. At a minimum these women need to be on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. And they need to be very conscious that what they post is an extension of their brand. It needs to be consistent with what they want to be known for and how they want to be perceived.
Which is where a photo comes in. How many times have you checked out someone’s Twitter handle or LinkedIn profile to see an image that is clearly cut from a holiday photograph? Or one which obviously has evidence of Christmas decorations in the background. Or – worse still – is a coloured egg?
So whilst you dust off your CV and rekindle your business contacts, take the time to invest in a professional headshot photo. It will take you a long way
Lisa Unwin is the founder of She’s Back

She’s Back is an organisations whose mission is to enable talented, experienced women to return to professional life in a way which makes sense for them.