When considering a return to the corporate world, one of the very first things to prioritize is updating your LinkedIn profile. However, effectively communicating the experiences of being a physician spouse/partner and the career pause due to relocation, childcare, and supporting your partner can pose a significant challenge. All of these responsibilities can be considered full-time jobs, but how do you present yourself in a way that shows what you’ve been doing during this career break has had purpose and meaning, even though you weren’t getting paid for it?
Luckily, in 2022, LinkedIn discovered over 62% of employees have taken a break from their professional careers. Knowing this, they added the option to include a ‘career break’ feature in LinkedIn profiles to help candidates explain the gap in employment and open the conversation about their real-life experiences.
This is great news for medspouses and partners! Now, explaining a work gap can be approached in a way that highlights your support for your partner’s career while showcasing your own personal and professional growth.
So how do you get started? Logistically, using the Career Break feature is easy. Go to your LinkedIn profile and select “Career Break.” From there, you can add information about the duration of your break, the reason for it, and any relevant experience gained during that time.
Explaining your break is the next step. It’s crucial to provide an honest and concise explanation that showcases your relevant skills, personal growth, and readiness to reenter the workforce. Here’s how:
- Be Honest and Transparent: Honesty is crucial in presenting your situation authentically. Briefly mention the reason for the break, such as a move to a new city, and use terms to assure you are now fully committed to re-entering the workforce and contributing your skills and experience.
- Highlight the Purpose and Benefits: Explain the relocation was a significant life event that required your full attention and energy. Emphasize the purpose behind the move. Highlight how the relocation has brought positive changes, such as a broader perspective, exposure to new cultures, or increased adaptability and resilience.
- Show Your Resourcefulness: Discuss any proactive steps you took during the career break to maintain professional development or stay connected to your field. Mention any relevant online courses, participation in industry webinars, networking events, or volunteering in related projects. This demonstrates your commitment to continuous learning and professional growth, despite the temporary pause in your career. If you haven’t done any of these things, it’s ok! Supporting others can definitely be a full-time job.
Highlighting New Skills
Now is also the time to discuss transferable skills that can be used on LinkedIn’s Career Break feature to highlight how these skills can be applied effectively to a new role. To help you do this, let’s break down some reasons you may have taken a career break as a medspouse or partner and the transferable skills you may want to highlight on your LinkedIn profile.
Physician spouses and partners often have to relocate when their loved one’s job requires it. This may result in a career break as you adjust to the new environment and/or prioritize family needs. Explaining a career break due to relocation to a potential employer requires clear communication and emphasis on the value gained from the experience. Here are some transferable skills you may have learned in the process:
- Adaptability: The ability to adapt to new environments, cultures, and dynamics is highly valuable. It demonstrates your flexibility, openness to change, and resilience in navigating unfamiliar situations.
- Cultural Competence: Relocating to a new area often involves interacting with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. Cultural competence, including understanding and respecting different customs, beliefs, and communication styles, enables effective collaboration and enhances your ability to work in multicultural settings.
- Networking: Building professional relationships and expanding your network is essential in a new area. Transferable networking skills, such as relationship-building, active listening, and maintaining professional contacts, can help you establish connections and tap into opportunities.
- Resilience: Relocating to a new area can be challenging, and resilience is key to overcoming obstacles and adapting to change. Demonstrating resilience shows your ability to bounce back from setbacks, learn from experiences, and maintain a positive attitude.
- Independence: Oftentimes new physicians are at the hospital more than home. This requires medspouses/partners to take initiative and make decisions without constant supervision. They can assess situations, identify issues, and generate creative solutions on their own.
Childcare and Family Responsibilities
Many physician spouses take a career break to focus on raising children or managing family responsibilities, both of which require a range of skills that can be highly transferable to the workplace. These skills showcase your ability to multitask, communicate effectively, and manage time efficiently. Here are some transferable skills learned from childcare/family responsibilities:
- Time Management: Balancing the needs of multiple family members and coordinating schedules requires strong time management skills. The ability to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and effectively allocate time is crucial in the workplace.
- Organization: Managing household routines, schedules, and logistics involves staying organized. This skill translates well to the workplace, where you can demonstrate your ability to manage projects, documents, and tasks efficiently.
- Communication: Effective communication is essential in coordinating family activities and ensuring everyone’s needs are met. This skill transfers to the workplace, enabling you to communicate clearly, listen actively, and collaborate effectively with colleagues and clients.
- Problem-solving: Navigating the challenges and unexpected situations that arise in childcare and family responsibilities requires strong problem-solving skills. These skills can be applied in the workplace to analyze issues, generate solutions, and make informed decisions.
- Multitasking: Juggling various responsibilities simultaneously is a common aspect of childcare and family duties. The ability to multitask, prioritize, and maintain focus is highly valuable in fast-paced work environments where you may need to handle multiple tasks and projects concurrently.
- Patience and Empathy: Caring for children and managing family dynamics demands patience and empathy. These qualities are transferrable to the workplace, enabling you to build positive relationships, navigate conflicts, and provide exceptional customer service.
- Leadership and Teamwork: Taking on leadership roles within a family unit, such as managing household activities or coordinating family events, develops leadership and teamwork skills. These skills can be leveraged in the workplace to lead teams, delegate tasks, and collaborate effectively with colleagues.
- Adaptability and Flexibility: Family responsibilities often require adapting to changing circumstances and adjusting plans on short notice. This adaptability and flexibility are highly valuable in the workplace, where you may encounter shifting priorities, new projects, and evolving work environments.
- Decision-making: Making informed decisions that prioritize the well-being and needs of family members is a crucial skill developed in childcare and family responsibilities. This skill can be transferred to the workplace, where you can demonstrate your ability to analyze options, evaluate risks, and make sound decisions.
- Conflict Resolution: Resolving conflicts and managing emotions within a family setting develops strong conflict resolution skills. These skills are transferable to the workplace, where you can effectively navigate disagreements, mediate conflicts, and foster a positive work environment.
Supporting Physician Spouse/Partner’s Career
Supporting your physician spouse’s career involves various skills that can be highly transferable to the workplace. These skills highlight your ability to be organized, communicate effectively, and manage relationships. Some transferable skills learned from supporting your physician spouse’s career are:
- Organization and Coordination: Supporting a physician spouse often requires managing schedules, appointments, and logistics. This skill can be applied in the workplace to coordinate projects, events, or teams, demonstrating your ability to handle multiple tasks and ensure efficient operations.
- Problem-solving: Supporting a physician spouse’s career involves navigating challenges and finding solutions. This problem-solving ability can be valuable in the workplace, where you can analyze complex situations, identify issues, and propose creative solutions.
- Stress Management: Supporting a physician spouse’s demanding career often entails managing stress and maintaining a calm demeanor. This skill can be advantageous in the workplace, helping you navigate high-pressure situations and maintain productivity in challenging environments.
- Adaptability: Living life with someone in medicine requires constant adaptation to changing schedules, emergencies, and demands. This adaptability transfers to the workplace, demonstrating your ability to adjust to new circumstances, embrace change, and learn quickly.
- Empathy and Compassion: Supporting a physician spouse involves understanding and empathizing with long days, poor patient outcomes, and stressful situations. These qualities are transferable to the workplace, enabling you to provide excellent customer service, build rapport with clients, and foster a supportive work environment.
- Teamwork and Collaboration: Dealing with ever-changing schedules, spontaneous emergencies, and long shifts showcases your ability to work effectively as part of a team. This skill can be applied in the workplace to foster collaboration, contribute to group projects, and build strong working relationships.
- Resourcefulness: Supporting a physician spouse’s career often necessitates finding information, resources, or solutions independently. This resourcefulness translates to the workplace, where you can demonstrate your ability to seek out knowledge, identify opportunities, and problem-solve effectively.
LinkedIn’s Career Break feature is a significant step towards creating a more inclusive and diverse platform that supports job seekers from all backgrounds and experiences. Remember, explaining a work gap as a physician spouse is about showcasing the experiences, skills, and personal growth you gained during that time. By presenting a comprehensive narrative that highlights your support, transferable skills, personal development, and future plans, you can demonstrate your value and readiness to reenter the workforce.
Looking for more? Check out these career articles for medspouses and partners: