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Finding Your Confidence, Embracing Your Skills, and Landing Your Dream Job After a Career Pause

HarperCollins Leadership,

15 min read
8 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Reentering the workforce after a career pause may be stressful, but you can pivot into your dream role.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


For the millions of women who take career breaks, reentering the workforce can induce plenty of anxiety. Nancy Jensen and Sarah Duenwald share tools and strategies to help you pivot into a new role, and they remind you that you’re not alone. Their book covers how to stand out to recruiters, how to negotiate your salary and much more. Whether you’ve been caring for children or elders, isolating during the pandemic, or relocating to a new town, Jensen and Duenwald stress the importance of making no apologies as you confidently embrace your authentic vision and dream big.


If you’ve taken a career break, you’re not alone. 

Nearly half of American women take a career break each year. Returning to work after a career gap can be a frightening and lonely experience, but 77 million women have already gotten through it. Women who leave the workforce may lack knowledge about current hiring and business trends and new technologies. They may need to rebuild their professional network.

Be proud of your choices. Pivoting requires learning to articulate what you want, leveraging your existing connections and shaping your career to suit the life you want.

Select the job search strategy that is the best fit for your circumstances and ambitions.

Reenter the workplace by using one of these four job-search approaches:

  1. “Boomerang” – Return to your former employer in a role that’s similar to the one you last held. This demands less reinvention of your personal brand, but may not work for those who want to pivot in a new direction.
  2. “Lily pad” – Accept a role that’s slightly lower in the organizational hierarchy...

About the Authors

Sarah Duenwald and Nancy McSharry Jensen cofounded The Swing Shift, an organization dedicated to keeping women in the workforce.

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