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By Addie Swartz
March 10, 2016

Companies are facing a shortage of experienced talent. At the same time, 43% of highly educated, professional women with children leave their careers or temporarily off-ramp.

When the time comes for these women to re-enter the professional workforce and fill those jobs, they find it extremely difficult—if not impossible.

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Businesses can help close the job-skills gap and support strong women leaders by building clear, concrete pathways for women to off-ramp, and on-ramp in their careers. These new pathways, along with programs that provide the professional power training necessary to return to the workforce with skills and confidence, create a system where everyone wins.

While I’m encouraged to see this changing, currently, not all businesses have programs in place aimed at hiring and supporting returning women. When you’re ready to make the first step back into the workforce, here are five proven ways to start:

1. Take an honest assessment of your strengths to determine the kind of work you can excel at and where the opportunities exist today. Make this new start about you and where you can contribute the most value.

Read more: 4 Gifts New Moms Actually Want

2. Update your technology skills and knowledge of what is driving business decisions today. The more you understand the concepts that are driving the business world at the moment of your return, the more likely you are to get hired.

3. Show that you are passionate about bringing your intelligence and willingness to learn to the company. The job you left five or 10 years ago might not exist today, but there are many new jobs requiring new skills with new titles.

Read more: This Video Perfectly Captures the Struggle That is Being Asked ‘Are You Having Kids?’

4. Refresh and renew your resume, and consider working with experts who can help you put your best self forward. You can’t gloss over a large career gap on your resume, but you can make other areas shine. Update your social media presence, and fill resume time gaps with new content, personality and perspectives that showcase your current professional relevance and savvy.

5. Find opportunities to engage with other women like you, share your stories and skills, and help build each other up and into the workforce. Collective intelligence research shows that teams with more women outperform teams with men. There is tremendous power in women working together.

Read more: I Surveyed More Than 1,000 People To Find Out How Having a Working Mom Really Affects Kids’

The global need for experienced, educated, professional talent to fill jobs is real, and it will continue. It’s time for businesses to tap into the power of the returning women pipeline and unleash its full potential.

Addie Swartz is the founder and CEO of reacHIRE, a systematic training and placement pathway for professional women to get back into the workforce after a career break.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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