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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.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • re-train even and get up to date. Do extra courses like first aid, conflict management etc as these look good on your resume

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  • Wise and wonderful tips, thank you.

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  • These are all good tips. I have been out of work due to a disability and I am incredibly daunted by it all

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  • Going to return to the workforce soon and I feel overwhelmed. Thanks for the article

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  • It’s scary thinking about going back to work. I’m at TAFE at the moent studying and it’s scary to think about afterwards.

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  • It’s so daunting going back after so long out of the workforce. And stating something new is scary. Then the whole juggling/balancing family with work thing…even more scary!

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  • I’m worried about this, as I don’t have any experience with anything, really. I got married young, my frist at 19. Before that was school. Ugh,

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  • I gave up my job in an office 29years ago. Back then I was so pleased that my husband made enough money that as long as we were careful I wouldnt have to work and I could stay home to look after our children. I was pleased and felt so very lucky. I loved being a stay at home Mum. I loved getting the kids off to school and being here when they came home. I delighted in school holidays when we could spend more time together and our mornings were less rushed.
    Now …29 years later I find that technology has over taken all the skills I had and now I am left with no skills. I have no superannuation because I have not worked. Years ago it used to be that my husband would retire and get the pension at 60 – 65 and as i am his wife when he got the pension then i would also get the pension…It doesnt work that way anymore and just because he gets the pension doesnt mean I will get it. I have to wait until I am 67 and now they are talking of changing that to 70.
    I am now in my 50’s with no work experience, no qualifications and no special skills.
    I am lacking in confidence majorly.
    There I was so pleased to be able to be here for my children but now I see that I have actually put myself in a very bad position.

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  • It is so hard to get back into the workforce, & in particular when you’re not as young as you used to be :) thanks for the tips.

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  • These are all great and trusted tips for re-entering the workforce. Also word-of-mouth sometimes helps in finding work that suits you best in your new situation.

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  • In numerous articles I read that’s necessary to fill the gap in your resume. I find this ridiculous ! As if it’s something shameful or something you have to be able to explain that you took care for your kids and your household….a most wonderful job ! Isn’t it strange that you have to be accountable about this to a prospective employer? I found this bizarre !

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  • Must agree that those voluntary jobs you do are often considered, like being the local scout group’s secretary or treasurer.

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  • very timely article. Very hard to enter the workforce. Upgrading your skills and also asking others regarding opportunities is what I am doing. Times have changed.

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  • Needed words of encouragement thanks :) x

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  • definetly some good tips here. thanks

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