Returning to the workforce after taking time off to care for children can be one of the hardest career moves to make for a number of reasons.
And yet, many women either have to, for financial reasons, or want to because they desire the sense of purpose that they feel comes with having a job.
There are things you can do to make yourself more attractive as an employee, and here are some tips on how to do it:
1. Get more training
If you’ve been on the job hunt for a while and aren’t having any luck, consider getting extra training. There are plenty of flexible education options – you could take an online real estate course or a night accounting class at a local university or community college. Do some research and see if there are extra certifications that are either common or helpful in your field.
2. Brush up on technology
The unfair and undeserved stereotype is that people who have been out of the workforce for a while are behind on technology. This may or may not be true in your case, but work to ensure that it isn’t. Do some research on your chosen field or on the business world in general to see what operating systems, software programs, and devices are being predominately used. Many programs offer free trials, making it easy for you to get a grasp on even field-specific software.
3. Change fields
If you liked the field you worked in before you took a break, then by all means, try and get back into it. But if you didn’t like it, now is as good a time as any to shift into something new.
Shifting gears might require more schooling and translating skills and experience to be relevant in your new career.
4. List all relevant skills and experience on your resume to fill the gap
Show on your resume and in your cover letter that you have continued to use relevant skills and gained important experience. This could be any skill you have used or developed, like bookkeeping (which you may have had to do for your family’s finances) or leadership skills (which you may have obtained in extracurricular activities).
Most employers take volunteer experience into serious consideration.
5. Get support from your family
Your decision to go back to work is going to affect your family tremendously, so make sure every member, even the children, understand what is happening and are comfortable with it.
Your husband and children can help adapt to the change by occasionally taking over some of your duties, such as cooking dinner or cleaning the house.
While it can be challenging to re-enter the workforce after taking years off to raise children, it’s not impossible and there are a lot of things you can do to better sell yourself to employers.
Most importantly, don’t lose faith in yourself. It can be hard seeing yourself as a professional again after all this time, but the more confident you are about your skills and experience, the better prepared you will be to impress your new employer and kick-start your new career.
Do you have any other helpful tips to add to this list? Please share in the comments below.
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