"The career break is really a gift," she added. "It is often the first time people allow themselves to step back and reflect on whether they were on the right career path to begin with."
2. Network. Networking is perhaps the most effective way to figure out your next career move and land job interviews. But networking takes nerve and, if you've been out of the workforce for some time, there's a good chance that you aren't feeling overly confident about your qualifications. You may also doubt that you have any useful contacts, particularly if you are mulling a career change.
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The solution, experts say, is to start by networking with people in your "safe zone"—in other words, nonjudgmental friends and family members. Next, reach out to acquaintances, such as people you've gotten to know through volunteer work, and to former colleagues with whom you have a good rapport.
Your initial efforts should help you to refine your "elevator pitch"—a brief explanation of what you've done and what you want to be doing next in your career—and build up your confidence as you work up to meeting with high-value contacts, said Michelle Friedman, founder of Advancing Women's Careers, a consulting and coaching firm. A good "elevator pitch," she added, should also include "a little bit of an ask," such as a request for introductions to people who are doing the type of work you'd like to do.