Re-Entering The Workforce After Baby: Tips and Strategies
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. According to a survey, approximately 84 percent of Gen-X stay-at-home moms are considering returning to work after having children.
Returning to the workforce after a prolonged absence can be nerve-wracking for most. Here was this this morning’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.
Direct link to segment: http://globalnews.ca/video/2580987/reentering-the-workforce-after-kids
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?
Spring 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 use technology like your iPhone to stay on task.
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 – even online courses. 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. Additionally, if you already come with these certifications, it’s less dollars for your employer to have to invest in you – they will like that.
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. Be Flexible
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 – something you can build on. It’s called realigned, realistic expectations. Juggling motherhood and career is no easy feat, so easing into this new role and cutting yourself some slack is very important.