Top tips for Mothers returning to work

Have you just taken some time out to raise kids.  Are you now ready to get back into your chosen career?  It IS possible to get back in. You just need some advice and inspiration.

Remember, as a full-time Mom, you opted in to the most important job in the world – raising the next generation of capable and responsible adults. What could be more important?

But now that the kids are older– and you are able to get out of your jammies before noon – you may be ready to re-enter the workforce.

While job hunting may seem like a daunting task (do you even have a copy of your CV anymore?), these tips will give you some guidance as you begin your back-to-work journey:

  1. Perform a self-assessment.

This means asking yourself the question, “Why do I want to go back to work?” Whether you’ve been out for 2 years or 10, you need to think carefully about what it is that you want from your next job, or possible career. Are you going back to work for the money? To be in the presence of other adults? Because you want to find more meaning in your life? Your reasons for working at this stage in your life may not be the same ones that drove you in your pre-baby years.

Your shifting priorities may necessitate pursuing a less traditional career – or a completely new route. With experience and kids under your belt, you may care more about flexibility and work-life balance than a big paycheck. Take time to figure out what matters most to you in your next job.  Don’t rush this step. You can do this on your own, or sometimes a good brainstorm with friends or family is very useful

  1. Explore your career interests. 

What do you want to do?  Your interests can change over time. Seek out opportunities to get some experience in areas that interest you. You can do this by volunteering.  For example, if you are thinking about going into counseling/psychology, offer some hours at a nonprofit that focuses on mental health.  If you want to be a writer, start a blog.

Go for coffee with friends and acquaintances that work in fields that sound interesting to you and pick their brains: How did they get started? What do they like and dislike about their jobs? What skills do they need to perform their job? If you want to go back to your pre-child profession, seek out volunteer opportunities that can help build your CV. Lawyers who want to go back into practice can take on pro bono projects. If you want to go back into marketing or development, do some voluntary fundraising work.

  1. Stay in touch.

Going back to work often means calling on former work colleagues, so do your best to stay in touch with them during your time off. Today it’s easier than ever to connect thanks to social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook. But make sure to get yourself out of the house and meet people in person. Sitting behind a computer does not equal “networking.”  If your former colleagues don’t have a job to offer you, they may know of other people you can talk to.

  1. Update your skills.

How familiar are you with the latest version of MS Word and Excel? What about social media tools? If you’re like me, your kids are probably more tech-savvy than you are. Now is the time to brush up on your computer skills.

Read over job descriptions to find out what skills are required for the jobs you’re interested in. Then learn these skills! You can find classes – often for free or at minimal cost– at local libraries, community colleges, and even online. You will want to create or update your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles.

  1. Update your CV.

At its core, your CV should communicate your mission statement and your brand. As a stay-at-home mom, you most likely have a large gap in your resume but we all know that these years were not dead time. You need to figure out how to fill this gap with the skills and experience that you’ve acquired during your time out of work.

Most moms have spent a good deal of time volunteering, whether in their kids’ schools or in the community. Volunteering is great. It keeps your experience relevant, shows you are proactive, and gives you contacts that can provide references and networking opportunities. Did you fundraise for your kid’s school? Serve on a committee or a board? These are important roles that you should include on your resume as “Relevant Experience,” along with the position you held and your job responsibilities.

  1. Respect your unpaid work. 

As a stay-at-home mom, you’ve probably been hard at work balancing budgets, managing multiple tasks and deadlines, mediating disputes and doing a whole host of other things that have taught you valuable skills that can benefit employers.

Mastering the skills you need to run a family can make you a shoe-in for administrative, customer service and many other positions. During interviews, don’t make excuses for you time at home. Be upfront that you chose to stay home to raise kids and you now want to return to work outside the home.

  1. Spread the word. 

Don’t keep your job search a secret! The same people you’ve been working with through volunteering, chatting with at play dates and calling for parenting advice are critical to your job search. Let them know that you are looking for work. You may be surprised by the kinds of job opportunities that turn up when your network is helping you search.

Other ways to network? If you belong to a professional association, visit its web site for career assistance. Are you a college alumnus? Contact the Career Services office at your old college or Institute.  Let old employers know you are back in the market.  Making connections is the name of the game when it comes to job hunting.

  1. Hire a professional. 

If the idea of rewriting your CV or figuring out what you want to do now seems mind-boggling, consider the help of a career coach.  Alternatively there are lots of tips online for CV writing.  Take a look at a few different sites and see which tips are consistent across the board.

  1. Practice interviewing.

You wouldn’t run a marathon without training, and you shouldn’t interview without practicing. If you’ve landed an interview, your qualifications must have appealed to the employer. Your next objective is to ensure the interviewer that you are the right person for the job, and also ensure that this job is the right one for you.

Before you interview, learn as much as you can about the company and the person who is interviewing you. Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer about the company and the position. During the interview, it’s your job to explain why you want to work for this company – and why you are the best candidate for the job. This is a time to exude confidence, even if you aren’t feeling very confident. Fake it till you make it. It’s always a good idea to do a few practice interviews with family and friends before you head to the real one.  It is of huge benefit to have actually spoken the words out loud before you have to say them for real in the interview.

  1. Be flexible. 

Starting out in a new field might mean taking a lower position and salary than what you’ve been used to. Don’t get discouraged. Remember that these are all milestones as your work towards rebuilding your career and gaining your footing in the work world. You are on your way to your next act, and hopefully a healthier, happier work-life balance.

  1. Register on www.Part-time.ie

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, if you are thinking you’d like a part-time job, register on www.Part-time.ie and create a job alert.  That way as soon as we have a part-time job that might suit you in your area, you’ll know about it.  You have nothing to lose and there is every chance you will find a job that suits you.

Leave your thoughts