How to come back after a long maternity leave?

Hello ladies,This is my first post here. I'm happy I was able to find this community. I could really use some advise. I really feel lost and I don't know from where to start.I am 41 years old. I finished a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech in March 2018. By that time, I had been living in the US for almost 5.5 years for the PhD (we are from the Middle East). My husband has been relocated in his job to Dubai. So, as I was starting over anyway after the PhD, Dubai seemed as good as any other place to start over. So I finished, headed over there (we were finally together after 5.5 years) and started the job hunt. Next month, I was pregnant. Nine months later, after a very hard pregnancy, I had the loveliest baby girl ( I was 38 at the time).Some background, we were married for 12 years before being pregnant. It just never happened to us and we just thought it was never going to be for us and we were OK with that. Suddenly I was pregnant and everything changed. Also, all my life, I just worked in academia. Research assistant, teaching assistant, lab assistant, lecturer, instructor. Teaching and research are my passions. Now, in Dubai, away from family and friends, without any support system, I stayed home with her for a year. Then we finally managed to get a nanny, then COVID hit. I was trying here and there to look for a job, but honestly, it has been REALLY hard. And as more time passes by, I'm beginning to think I can never come back. All my publications date back to 2018 and before. I have no recent publications. I have no experience as an assistant Professor, nor a postdoc, as I finished the PhD and since then no work. I cannot apply to positions in industry as I have no experience and I am 41. The academic positions are very rare and it's extremely competitive, and as I mentioned I have no experience since March 2018. Honestly, I am starting to give up. I love being an Engineer and a researcher. I miss going to work everyday. My daughter is 2.5 years old now and we are finally starting nursery. I feel like it's now or never. I really don't know how to start, what to write on my CV... I held no position in the last three years. I understand that I kind of did that by choice (at least this is what I keep telling myself, that I really enjoyed spending this time with my kid and I was there for all her first steps). But still, I need to work and I don't know what to do.I would really appreciate any advise, any ideas, thoughts? Any similar experiences?? Thank you
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Hello @mahiabdelbarYour post definitely shows that you are passionate about your field and since you are I am sure you will go to all lengths and that's why I believe you will get what you are looking for, don't worry!It seems you love Engineering + Research and becoming a Professor is something you are aspiring for. After my Masters in CS, I have worked in companies and so I am not sure about ways to get into becoming a Professor easily, but the following ways come to my mind :a) Can you meet some professors in your city in person? If you can that will set your stage with the Prof, he/she will understand your situation and can help you get into their university or help you network.b) Look for events (seminars/conferences) both online and in-person and visit them. Maybe you find some connection. Check university websites for events and sometimes universities also post events on https://www.eventbrite.com.c) Write a nice write-up about yourself, your work, and email them to professors. Don't write a too-long email, and make sure you have some links to your work (and Linkedin profile link). d) Definitely polish your LinkedIn profile if it's not. Also, make sure you mark yourself 'Open to work on it' on it. There are other websites too like AngelList if you want to go into the startup space.e) Look for job posts on university websites. If you like the opportunity just apply for it! :) If you have some friends who are already working as Professors ask them if they can suggest some ways to get jobs, they might have some secret sauce for you :)f) Companies are helping people in getting back to work. I recently saw someone posted this: https://www.facebook.com/careers/facebook-life/return-to-workP.S. are you on https://lunchclub.com? It's a nice way to connect with other folks in your city online or in person. Lastly, I hope you dance and thrive through this uncertainity https://zenhabits.net/delight. Keep fighting! :) I wish you success and I am sure you will rock!
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Thank you for sharing your story! For those in a similar position to @mahiabdelbar: Hi! I'm Rachel Serwetz, an ICF-certified career coach. My background is at Goldman Sachs & Bridgewater Associates, before moving into the career space to systematize my novel career exploration and job search methods and tools.My mission in life is to ensure people feel supported in making these critical, impactful career decisions. These decisions can feel stressful and tough, but with the right support (which you deserve), you can feel relieved, excited and confident in your next steps. I have been coaching hundreds of professionals for over 8 years and have developed unique processes and frameworks so that you can confidently clarify your ideal career direction and efficiently job search to land a role you feel fulfilled by. Happy to chat directly and see how I can help! calendly.com/woken/demo Best,Racheliamwoken.com
First of all, congratulations on getting through a stressful time. My mum had her children in her 40s and was away from the workforce for 17 years, if that helps. Here’s my perspective as a hiring manager. You do not have to say anything about the gap, on either your resume or in your cover letter. If someone asks, you can respond exactly as you did above: “I got pregnant in 2018, and decided to take time off after my daughter was born. She’s in early education, and now I’m back.” That’s it. Any manager at a place that would welcome you will understand. I definitely would. A manager that wouldn’t is not someone you would want to work for. Many schools have women faculty with small children, so I don’t think your job search will be that hard.