Are you ready to return to work after staying home with kids? Taking a step back from work to care for others can be very rewarding, but returning to the workforce after a gap can be a bit nerve-wracking. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed about where to start. It doesn’t have to be super scary if you keep these tips in mind.
Tip #1: Make a plan. You are still a busy mom, so you will want to be thoughtful with your time. It may take a few months or longer depending on what you want to do especially if you prefer to switch career paths. Dedicate a certain amount of time each day/week to your career plan and stick to it.
Tip #2: Think about what you really want to do. Do you want to return to the same type of work before kids or venture into something new? Think of your professional goals, family needs and what truly interests you. Do you prefer to work outside the home or at home? Are you interested in earning some extra money or do you prefer a career with growth and substantial income? Is working full-time or part-time a better fit for you now? Knowing what you really want to do, your preferences and your goals will help narrow your search.
Tip #3: Network. Even if you don’t like networking, remember that people cannot read your mind, so you will need to put it out there. Start the shift by talking to friends and family about your desire to return to work as you never know who may hear of a great opportunity. If you are returning to your previous field of work, reach out to old bosses and colleagues to see if there are any positions open or if they hear of anything to keep you in mind.
Tip #4: Have your “elevator pitch” ready. This will help with networking. Think of a few sentences that state who you are, what you do (or hope to do) and what you can offer. Try to weave in what is unique about you and what you bring to the table. However, you want this to come across naturally, so try practicing a few times so that it flows effortlessly in a conversation.
Tip #5: Take some classes, earn a degree or certification. If you want to try something new and switch careers, use this transition time to take some classes, earn a degree or certification as well as go to some conferences. There are so many more options available online now. Another idea is to volunteer to gain some experience or acquire new skills. This can be a great way to find out if you truly like a different job or career.
Tip #6: Update your resume and social profiles. Determine which resume type makes sense for you (chronological, functional or combination) and be sure to include volunteer activities. Keep in mind that soft skills (i.e. communication skills, work ethic, etc.) count so don’t sell yourself short! Also, scroll through your social media accounts with an outsider’s perspective to make sure you are presenting yourself the way that you would like.
Tip #7: Schedule informational interviews. This can be as simple as a phone call and a great way to find out more about a desired career as well as expand your connections. If you have someone in mind, you could ask them to mentor you. Even talking to other working moms and how they best balance working and motherhood can give you some great ideas.
Tip #8: Plan for family needs. Going back to work will change things in your home so planning ahead can help with the transition. Coordinating transportation for kids’ activities with your spouse, carpooling with friends, planning meals ahead of time and scheduling some fun activities will be helpful.
Tip #9: Update your wardrobe. Slowly start adding pieces so that you are ready when you land your new job and not running around like crazy to quickly update your wardrobe. This may not apply as much if working from home, but it’s nice to dress the part for Zoom calls as well.
Tip #10: Think about Technology. If you are worried about technology and all the changes during your gap, take some classes or tutorials so you are more up to date. If you have older kids, ask if they can give you some quick lessons to boost your confidence. Yes, the tables can turn!
The decision and transition to return to work can be a bit daunting as it’s a big change for you and your family. However, I hope that these tips are helpful.
For some of us, it can be difficult to tap into our skills and figure out what we want. It’s easy to find ourselves stuck and not quite sure of how to move forward. If that is the case for you, know that you are not alone.
It’s my passion to help moms with their career change, boost their confidence and expand connection. I believe everyone has unique skills that are meant to be shared with the world. Schedule a complimentary call with me so we can figure out how you can best move forward.
It’s Never Too Late for the Life you Want.