Returning To The Workforce After Baby: 6 Strategies and Tips
An increasing number of women are taking a few years off from their careers to have children and are then re-entering the workforce once their kids are in school. These women are called sequencing moms.
Returning to the workforce after a prolonged absence can be nerve-wracking for most. Here was this week’s Global TV segment. As always, it’s difficult to pack in all the tips into a 5 minute segment, so the full strategies are written out below.
1. Examine Your Life and Career, and Set Goals.
A few good questions to ask yourself to assess where you’re at:
- What do I really want?
- Part time or full time?
- Will I put my child in daycare, or will I hire a nanny?
- Do I want to start my own business or work for someone else?
- Do I want to go back to my previous job, or start in an entirely new field?
August is here along with back to school and this is great time to really self-assess, either by taking self-assessment quizzes or working with a career coach.
When examining your life and career, think of things like:
- What do I value in an employer?
- Do I need more flexibility than the average employee? Chances are yes, as you are a mother now.
- Do I enjoy a fast-paced, more corporate environment, or would I prefer to work for a small company (the big fish in a small pond scenario).
Familiarize yourself with all the different industries that interest you. Once you’ve evaluated your life, your current situation and have figured out more of what you want, it’s time to set some goals. Give yourself a timeline of when you hope to accomplish each career goal / step. Have that timeline clearly mapped out, and posted in a visible place. This keeps you focused, on track and holds you accountable to your goals.
2. Revamp Your Resume
Fill in that gap in your resume with any volunteer projects you worked on. Did you manage your child’s bake sale at school? Were you president of the PTA? Many of these experiences can be inputted into your resume. Online sites like Monster.com can help you nail your resume.
Polishing your CV also has to do with your interviewing skills. Practice interviewing. In the mirror. Yes, your interview technique will have a major influence on the success of your job-search. Take the time to research the company prior to interviewing, and try to anticipate questions they would ask. Your personal style has much to do with you landing your dream job as your skills do.
3. Expand Your Network
Most people get turned off or scared of networking, or simply, don’t even know how to do it! They walk into a room and freeze. I say to the women and moms I coach, “get over it!” You’re not going to network or grow your contact database by sitting in your pj’s all day. You need GET OUT THERE and EXPAND YOUR NETWORK. Shyness just won’t cut it as an excuse.
Your roster of personal contacts is one of the most powerful tools you currently have, and a great place to begin the networking process. Commit to reconnecting with those in your existing and prior networks like friends, old friends, family, old work colleagues, old bosses, peers, etc… See if any of these people are connected to your field of choice.
But it is crucial to go one step further than just your roster of personal contacts. Join local organizations like your local Chamber of Commerce, local networking groups in your area. BNI is a great organization to join, as it is based upon a built-in referral program, where everyone shares referrals.
GOING ONLINE is an excellent place to expand your network. A reminder to have your resume in a PDF link, so that you may even reach out to someone on Twitter, Facebook, Linked in, Workopolis, Monster, WowJobs, etc… and send them your CV easily.
4. Upgrade Your Skills and Consider Additional Training/Education to Stay Marketable
A sure-fire way to improve your employability is to gain additional training or certification. It simply keeps more options available to you and opens more doors. Today it’s become more necessary than ever to stay on top of technology, industry trends, and customer requirements to keep you relevant in ANY company. In upgrading your skills, obviously keep them relevant and consistent with your interests and career goals. Simply put, never stop learning. Knowledge is power to you, and your future employer.
5. Consider Advancing Internally in Your Previous Company
Don’t be so quick to dismiss your most current employer before maternity leave. If you have searched to no avail, consider approaching the HR department in your last job and see if an alternative career path is available within the company. You come in with seniority already. As I always you, “You’ll never know if you don’t ask.”
Check in with that old employer the moment you are thinking of going back to work. He or she knows your previous experience and qualifications better than anyone else and may be thrilled to have you return.
6. And finally, if there is nothing that has excited you after working with a coach or self-assessment, and you have that entrepreneurial itch, consider becoming YOUR OWN BOSS and starting your own business. If you truly have the passion, the talent and the drive, 2014 may be the year you become an entrepreneur.
I can tell you from personal experience, it is fruitful and rewarding. Being an entrepreneur gives you unlimited earning potential. No ceiling. The ability to affect great change and call the shots, as they say. If this is your career choice, I tell my coaching clients, first consider making your passion your paycheck. Success has as much to do with passion as it does with talent, persistence and hard work. Look at people like Martha Stewart and Richard Branson who made their passion their paycheck. I made my passion my paycheck in both my businesses. It was key to my success.
Or, if can’t make your passion your paycheck, did you thrive in a previous position and would be willing to go out and do this on your own? In essence, what are you good at? Where do your expertise lie? Using your current skills, may very well may be your next business!
And finally, can you use those skills, and purchase a franchise? Not every mompreneur starts their business from scratch. Many entrepreneurs buy existing businesses or franchises.
A FINAL REMINDER TO MOMS:
May I remind you to remember to BE FLEXIBLE. You may wish to work full time, but sometimes working part time gets your foot in the door and gets your feet wet – it’s also great for your resume.