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Returning to STEM
Returning to STEM

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1 Strategies for returning to STEM

Figure 1 Strategies

In Week 1 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , you read about the strategies that worked for people who have successfully returned to STEM after a career break. While the types of work they went back into varied considerably, there were five main strategies that had helped them:

  • Foot in the door – a great way to get started on the journey back to work is volunteering, carrying out unpaid work, or working in a non-STEM role within a STEM organisation, which can give you access to hidden job opportunities.
  • Networking – your contacts and networks can help you find jobs that have not been publicly advertised. These can include friends or family as well as previous professional contacts, and you can use LinkedIn to reconnect with employers or former work colleagues who you have previously lost touch with.
  • Retraining – you might decide to undertake a completely new qualification that will take you into a different but related career. On the other hand, you may need to refresh your skills and learn new techniques that will update you in your specialist field.
  • Helping hand – remember, you are not alone in your quest to return to STEM work. There are a number of agencies and funding resources specifically for women returners, such as the Daphne Jackson Trust, as well as other organisations, advisors and formal networks.
  • Back to basics – sometimes it might be necessary to make a trade-off and work in a lower status job, perhaps at low rates of pay, in return for flexibility and proximity to home. You may decide to use this as a stopgap until a future time when you can commit more time to work. Remember that you need to consider your work life balance as a whole when you are planning your return, so, by all means be ambitious, but you must also be realistic about what is feasible.