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How to Re-enter the Workforce as an Independent Corporate Communicator 

Have you taken an extended break from the workforce? Are you now seeking to re-enter the business world as an independent corporate communications consultant but not sure how or where to start?   


Perhaps you’ll relate to this scenario: Yesterday I had a Zoom meeting with a long-time corporate communicator who took a five-year break to focus on her family. Prior to the hiatus, she’d successfully worked as an independent corporate communicator for 12+ years. Now she wants to come back to her independent consulting practice, but she’s worried and wary. She shared her concerns about re-entry: 

  

  • Are my skills still sharp and relevant?  

  • Has my value been eclipsed by AI and other technologies?  

  • How do I get prospective clients past the gap in my work history? 

  

I know this consultant and she is very talented. But even though she is smart and highly skilled, and even though more people are taking career breaks, gaps in work history can create challenges to stepping back in to the career world. While I know that there’s a lot of incredible and untapped talent looking to come off the sidelines, I also know that not all employers share my worldview. 

 

So, while we wait for the world to wake up (wink), we brainstormed ways to help her get back in the action—and back in demand. Here are some of the ideas I shared with her. I hope you find them useful. 

  

  • Focus heavily on warming up your existing networking contacts. Former clients and former coworkers already know your work and your value. 

  

  • As you restart your business, look to take on a few smaller clients instead of one larger client. This will lengthen your list of current clients, references and examples of your consulting engagements. 

  

  • If you are concerned that AI and other emerging technologies have advanced and your own skills have not kept pace, sign up for webinars and online tech boot camps to quickly get up to speed. For more in-depth learning, enroll in virtual or in-person courses. 

  • There are some areas of communications that are less affected by technology, and this could be a place to focus on. For example, the psychology around adapting to change is more hardwired. In my humble opinion, change communications is an area that still operates similarly to how it did 5-10 years ago.  

  • Post a “re-introduction” on LinkedIn alerting your network that you are re-entering the professional world and ask key people who can attest to your work to add fresh recommendations to your profile page. 

  • Start blogging and sharing your posts on LinkedIn to demonstrate your writing skills and to offer value to your online LI professional community. 

  • Take on a volunteer role using your communications skills. For example, join a nonprofit board or committee as the communications lead. Or offer to do a small non-profit project pro bono. Be sure it’s something that will also give you a solid work sample. 

  • Seek a professional certification in a high-demand area such as strategic communication management, DEI or analytics. Be sure to highlight that certification on your resume, LinkedIn profile and other promotional materials. 

  • If you are having trouble securing work, consider temporarily lowering your rate. Again, temporarily. You do not need to be a low-price option forever. Once the flywheel starts to turn you can increase your rate for the next client or provide advance notification to an existing client that your rate will be increasing. 

  

  • If you are open to a full-time job opportunity, but just aren’t breaking through, consider contract-to-hire opportunities

  • Believe in yourself and don’t underestimate the value of the transferable skills you have developed in recent years.  

  

I think real talent never withers—it may just need a warm-up. 



Amy Spencer is the CEO and Chief Matchmaker at Evo Communications, a Minneapolis-based company committed to connecting exceptional corporate communications consultants with organizations across the country. Amy's career as a communications leader spans more than two decades and is marked by substantial contributions to companies such as Target, UnitedHealth Group, Kohler and more.  

These experiences fueled Amy's vision for Evo Communications—an organization that focuses on empowering corporate leaders by bolstering their team’s communications capabilities, building effective functions and significantly expanding their bandwidth. Amy merges her expertise in leading and developing corporate communications functions with her passion for finding creative talent solutions and cultivating strong client partnerships that drive success.  Learn more here.





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