As working women, there are various times where career and life can clash. One of these life changing events are when you leave the workforce to have a child or start a family, and put your career on hold. Planning a return to work can be daunting and you may be nervous about what your prospective employers will say about the gap on your resume, or whether they’ll trust you’re capable again.
We give you 5 tips on how to re-enter the workforce with a stride in your step after taking a break.
- First take time to evaluate who you are and what you want
Having children and starting a family brings about many changes, including but not limited to your friendship group, leisure activities, free time and interests. It’s possible that this break from the workforce has coincided with some new values, goals and ideas about your future, resulting in a desire to work in a new industry. Before you apply for any jobs or attend any interviews, make sure you’re clear on who you now are, where you want to work, how you see your days, whether you’d like to be casual, part time or full time and if you’re open to upskilling.
Defining this for yourself will provide clarity and ensure you don’t end up in a career or area that was right for the old version of you.
- Decide your non-negotiables
Whether it’s working a few days a week, having flexibility to work from home on occasion or differed hours to start earlier and finish in time to pick the kids up from school, you need to first know your boundaries before you go into an application or interview. That way everything’s all out on the table, there’s no confusion with your employer regarding expectations and you’ll feel at ease knowing the wheels are still moving at home with your family life.
- Update your professional social media platforms and get out and network
It’s safe to say you probably haven’t touched your LinkedIn profile in a little while, so one of the first steps to take is to update the various prompts on your profile and your display picture. Many employers will search up your social media profiles before they request an interview to get a well-rounded idea of who you are. Even though you’ve taken a break from the workforce, updating your professional social media profiles will show you’re serious about returning. It will also prompt your existing network which may allow you to chat to old colleagues and bosses who may be looking to hire a familiar and trustworthy old face. On top of that, send out a few comments, likes and messages to past colleagues and ask if there are any networking events you could tag along to.
- Acknowledge your skills
Although you may feel that being away from the office has paused your career, your skills have continued to build and these can be a valuable asset to your next employer. Being at home with children requires an ability to multi-task, organise and time manage which are all skills that make a great employee even better. They may not be the most convincing on a resume or cover letter, but it’s absolutely worth mentioning at the job interview when you’re showing your prospective employer who you are as a person. It’s important to think from an employer’s perspective what they want to see in their staff and mould yourself as their best candidate.
- Reduce stress in your home life
If you’ve been a full-time Mum from home for a while now it’s understandable that going back to work is a huge adjustment and change for you. Start planning some shortcuts such as cooking more food than you need for dinner to cover yours and your child’s lunch the next day. You could go the extra mile and freeze a week’s worth of dinners so that when you arrive home from the office it’s already sorted and there’s no extra work on your plate. If you’re in a relationship try to assign your partner some responsibilities to equally share the domestic tasks now that you’re both working and work around each other’s schedules.