It can be daunting to even consider returning to work after a career break. Many women never imagined themselves taking time off from employment when they were planning their futures. Women of a certain generation were sold the concept that they could have it all. In reality, we all have to juggle competing responsibilities. That might mean we take time out to spend time with our children or to care for elderly relatives. Life can throw up some shocks along the way such as illness, disability or redundancy. Whatever the reason for finding yourself at home rather than in the office, here are some tips for getting back into the employment game.
Returning to work after a career break
I think the first reassurance to put in place is that you are not the first woman to face this situation. Talk to friends and family and stories will emerge of other women working their way back to a wage packet. Look online for support for women returners and use social media to get some valuable peer support on this issue. You are not alone. With my degree in Law, I have found myself recently browsing Lawyer jobs online. We all go through this stuff. Even knowing this can help you build up the confidence to get back to work. Bear in mind that many of the people you will be sending your Curriculum Vitae or application form to may well have experience of returning to work after a career break too.
Value your talents and skills
When you return to work, you might be hit with the dreaded Imposter Syndrome. Take a good look at all the things you have done not only in previous jobs but when volunteering or managing a home too. Write them down and ask others to tell you what you excel at too. Write a Curriculum Vitae or refresh your old one. You can make it look really attractive using tools like Canva’s resume maker. We all have a different set of talents and skills. Celebrate yours and then sell yourself to potential employers.
Consider a change of direction
You may have always had a dream job but never pursued it. Now is a very good time to think about making your ideal work scenario come true. Ask for support from family and friends. Network both on and offline. Check out qualifications and training courses that can take you where you really want to be. There are special courses out there specifically aimed at women returners.
Preparing for the Hiring Process
Brushing up your interview skills may help reduce some of the anxiety you feel after returning to work after a career break. Do some research about the company and position you’re applying for, and list potential questions the hiring manager may ask. Practice answering these questions to gain more confidence when you speak.
Once a potential employee passes the initial hiring process, they will go through a series of checks, including medical exams and, sometimes, a preemployment drug test. You need to make sure you have a clean bill of health and are free from any substances that may lead to failing drug tests. That said, getting a job is not just about having excellent qualifications but also about having the right state of mind and body to work.
You know what time you have available to commit to work. You need to think about things like your commute and whether home-based positions might suit you best. What wage level do you need to have a decent lifestyle? I find so many women underestimate themselves so part of being realistic involves aiming higher than you might think. There is nothing wrong with testing the market to see where you might fit. You may be pleasantly surprised!
If the mere thought of applying for a job or returning to work after a career break sends you into a panic, consider counselling to help you move forwards positively in life. You may be a negative self-talker but know that with help this can change and then the world really can be your oyster!