Y ou’ve changed dirty diapers, tended to scrapes and bruises, and have provided your child or children with as much love and support as you know how to throughout the years. You made the choice to take some time away from your career to put your children first, and now it’s time to put some focus back on you. But where do you begin so you can assimilate back into the workforce? This is a question many mothers ask themselves when they decide to pull the work attire out of the closet once again.
First, as you begin this journey, be sure to step into those powerhouse shoes, tuck some patience, tenacity and belief in yourself into your back pocket, ask for help along the way, and know that you can do it. Consider this career transition advice for new moms.
Get clear on what you desire
Make a list of what you’re looking for when you do go back to work. What type or organisation? What type of position? Do you want to work for a company with promotion opportunities, or are you looking for a job where you can go in, do your work and head home without having to worry about your team or how others are doing? The clearer you are with what you desire, the easier it will be to hone in on specific jobs to apply for that match your list. This will also help you to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the many job postings you might be pursuing.
Update or prepare your marketing materials
Similar to when you listened to initial career transition advice and landed your first job right out of college or high school, you’ll want to have an up-to-date resume and cover letter that speak to your experience, education, and capabilities. When applying for positions, tailor them to fit each position for which you’re applying.
You might also consider developing a website that includes your professional bio and resume. You can easily build a simple, yet professional website with WordPress.com, Squarespace.com, or ehost.com, to name a few options. WordPress offers free website options, whereas the others mentioned will host your site for a relatively low annual or monthly fee.
If you’ve decided to make the transition from full-time mom to 9-to-5, here’s a guide to help get you going.
Update your professional social media profiles
LinkedIn has over 400 million members in more than 200 territories and countries throughout the world. LinkedIn is a great tool for you to use to promote yourself, as well as seek out potential employers.
Also, employers often Google names of applicants these days, so it’s a good idea to confirm that you’d be okay with an employer seeing what you have posted online or what comes up when you search your name. Keep your personal social media profiles set to private, as well.
Get out there and network
It’s not who you know but who knows you, as the saying goes. As you are preparing to get back out in the workforce, begin researching local networking events and online groups in which to participate. Further, send an email to family and friends and former coworkers and managers with your resume. Share with them the type of position for which you are looking and ask them to forward your resume if they know of any positions for which you might be a good fit. People like to connect people to opportunities when they can.
Consider part-time or temp work
If you find that your search for a position is taking longer than expected, consider part-time work or seek out a temp agency who can help you land a temporary or temp-to-hire position. If you get your foot in the door with the right company and prove yourself, then chances are good you’ll receive a full-time offer. Another reason to consider part-time work is the fact that it gives you some time to adjust to being back at work before going full-time.
Prepare to answer the inevitable question about your gap in employment
Interviewers are most certainly going to ask about any gaps in employment on your resume, especially ones that are a year or longer. You can choose to answer this question in a couple of ways, but it is important to consider this piece of career advice for new moms and provide an answer if it comes up.
- You can confirm that you took some time away for personal reasons which was the best decision for you at the time, and you’re now ready to return to work.
- You can confirm that you took some time away to be a mother, because it was the best decision for you at the time, and now you’re ready to put the focus back on your career.
When asked about gaps in employment, be honest and brief, and always bring the interview back to the position and your qualifications for it. Assure the interviewer that you are qualified for the position and you are very excited to return to work.
Forgo desperation and be focused
Patience is important when it comes to searching for the right job, regardless of where you are in your career. Once you are clear on the types of positions you are interested in, begin searching and only apply for those types of positions. Be careful not to apply for every position a company has posted, as this could reflect desperation and a lack of clarity on your part. It can sometimes create insecurities since you’ve been outside of the arena for a while, but you still deserve to land a great position that’s the right fit for you, so keep that in mind as you navigate the job search process.
Keep your options open
If you have enough experience, you could explore working for a consulting firm as well. There are lots of options, so be clear on the type of culture and position you are looking for, but be open to possibilities and opportunities that could fit within your specifics, yet expand your horizons at the same time.
Believe you can do it, and don’t be hard on yourself
If you have been out of the workforce for a while, it can be nerve-racking to go through the whole process of searching and interviewing for a job, as well as assimilating to a new company. Be gentle with yourself and take care of yourself throughout the process, from the prep stages to after you’ve been hired. You’ve done it before, so you can do it again, and with some patience and perseverance, you’ll find your next position in good time. Once you are in the door, give yourself some time to adjust to your new schedule and don’t expect to know or learn everything overnight.
Communicate with your family
Especially if your children are still school-age and living at home, having a heart-to-heart with them about your decision to return to work will support the transition for them and you. This type of conversation helps to manage expectations for the home and the new demands on your schedule due to work. It might take some adjusting for the family, but with open communication, the adjustment period will hopefully go smoother than it might without it.