Returning to work after an extended break, particularly if you have had time off to care for young children or other family members can be both scary and exciting. Taking the time to prepare for your return to work, can make the experience go more seamlessly for your family. Here are some pointers to help you plan ahead of time.
Plan the time to job search
Returning to work may require a substantial amount of time. Set reasonable goals. Going in, keep in mind that this process could take several weeks or, more likely, months to complete. Too often, job seekers burn brightly at the start of their journey but quickly burn out because it is a bigger task than they anticipated.
Although job searches can take several weeks or months for any job seeker, studies suggest that it may take even longer for parents who are returning to work. According to a 2018 study, parents who take time off from work to care for their families are half as likely to be considered for an interview as people who were unemployed for other reasons. It might be worth it if you are finding it particularly difficult looking at a new career choice or even retraining as something new. For example, if you are interested in health and wellness, you could learn how to become a health coach.
Once you know what you want to do, create a job search strategy based on your and your family’s needs. Knowing what you need to do and when you really need to do it will keep you on target and provide you with actionable tasks to work on if you become disheartened.
Make a list of your job search and networking objectives, and then mark the dates on your calendar. This could include taking classes to learn or refresh skills, voluntary work, or looking for adult internships.
Once you have established those, use them when speaking with professionals and conducting informational interviews. Seek out and validate job search services that can support you. There are many job-search fraudsters out there, so do your research to ensure youare only applying to genuine businesses and jobs.
Get into the right mindset
Begin acting as if you are already back at work. Discuss your career and the work you used to do or the work you want to do, if they are different. Instead of talking about yourself as a caregiver, try talking about yourself as a professional. These small mindset shifts, combined with a lot of practice talking out loud about work as a working person, will prepare you to speak confidently when having a conversation with potential employers.
Make sure you get advice
If the majority of your peers are other stay-at-home parents, you may need to look outside your bubble for guidance and inspiration. Make an effort to connect with other working parents to learn how they juggle work and family life.
Even if you do not know many working parents in person, you can connect virtually with other parents who have either returned to work or are in the process of doing so through virtual groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Their observations, counsel, and comradery will be a tremendous source of support, vitality, and inspiration as you return to work. Enquire about how they performed their job searches, what they wish someone had told them when they were looking for work, and any job search success strategies they may have.
Look at your social media presence
Lots of people have multiple social media accounts. Even if you only have one account, make sure it is updated and does not contain anything dubious. If you do not want employers to see certain pictures or opinions, consider changing your privacy settings so that only people you accept can view your profile.
Optimise your LinkedIn profile while you are at it. It not only allows you to demonstrate your relevant skills, but it also illustrates that you are involved and dynamic in your subject area.
Do not be embarrrassed about your time away from the workplace
Do not be embarrassed about or try to hide the fact you took time away from te workplace to raise a family. Depending on how long you were out of work, you most likely picked up a slew of transferable skills that can be applied in the workplace. In addition, include any voluntary work, side projects, or freelancing you did while caring for your family.