Unlike many jobs, parenting is one position that comes with an exceptionally high level of responsibility, and yet no financial remuneration. Consequently, many parents feel that they simply don’t have the skills to re-enter the workforce, but let me tell you – they are wrong!
While job hunting may seem like a daunting task (do you even have a copy of your resume anymore?), the following tips will provide you with guidance as you begin your back-to-work journey.
Firstly – the past however many years have not been completely unproductive! Aside from undertaking one of the most important jobs in the world (raising the next generation of capable and responsible adults), you will have acquired and developed some significant skills. Use these favorably to add value to your application.
For example, most parents have developed strong skills in the areas of Training (through the delivery of concise instructions, role modelling, and measuring performance through recognition and reward strategies); Financial Management (running a household budget can be a complex task); and Negotiation Skills (need I say more!)
There are of course many more that you can include. The important thing is that you have a mindset that allows you to be thankful for the time you have had at home – don’t make excuses for it. It was a choice you made and the right one for you at that time.
Once you have made the decision to return to work, there are a number of things you can do to help achieve a successful outcome.
Don’t focus on the gap in your employment. Instead focus on things such as volunteer work, school PTA committees etc and the skills you have acquired during this time that can now add value to an organisation.
Reconnect with your former employer. Remember the saying “it’s not what you know, but who you know”. Well, there is never a truer saying in today’s employment market. Most employers will fill jobs with people they either know directly, or have met through their connections. Stay at home parents have often let their networking lapse, and so you will need to actively re-establish these connections.
Relying on online advertisements will often prove to be futile to your job search. It can also be extremely demotivating and sap away at your self-esteem which may well be lacking in the first instance.
Ensure your CV is an accurate reflection of who you are – now. Your CV will need re-working, and it’s important that it is modern, up-to-date and utilises the key words that the automated tracking systems that many employers and recruiters now use. Your CV (and Cover Letter) is often the first thing that will get you in front of a prospective employer. Make sure it portrays you and your newly formed skills in the best possible way.
Give it time. It make take a number of months to re-enter the paid workforce. Schedule in time to conduct your job search, gather your resources, get out of the house and meet people.
It will be immediately apparent to any prospective employer if you are feeling unprepared or are lacking in confidence. Returning to work is not a decision you will have made lightly, so give it the time and effort it deserves. Seek advice and guidance to ensure you are best able to make a smooth transition back into the workforce.