Getting a pay cheque for all that hard work
As we go through college and university, we prepare ourselves for the big day: the moment we begin our careers. But, as the saying goes, you can’t have it all, and some women decide to take some time off to raise their children rather than hire a helper or enrol their children in day care. If you’re someone who has stayed at home for a while, getting back into the workforce can be more than a little daunting. So, how do you go about it?
Below are some important points to think about when looking into re-entering the workforce successfully.
What is it you are looking for?
Your priorities might have changed. Your previous job might not have been family friendly, and constant travel or long hours were required. Maybe you want to look for a more flexible role with a Small, Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) or a start-up. Or, you know exactly what you want, and that is picking up where you left off, climbing the career ladder. Giving yourself the time to think about what it is that will give you professional – and personal – fulfilment is really important before you start your search.
Do keep in mind that when re-entering the workforce, some humility is required and you will have to recalibrate depending on how long you have been out. For example, you may need to update your qualifications. The perfect job may not be available immediately, and you might have to take a step back and take a pay cut to re-establish your credibility and move up that ladder again.
What about the family?
Do you have childcare in place for when you are at work? Make sure that when you apply for jobs and go for interviews, you are comfortable with the childcare solutions you have in place. One of the concerns that employers have (but might not dare to ask directly) is if you will need to take time off to look after your children. This doesn’t mean that the employer doesn’t care about work-life balance, but when you return to work, it is important that you are able to fulfil the demands of the role you are applying for.
Have you updated your resume recently? Before you start applying for jobs or reach out to recruitment consultants, make sure your Curriculum Vitae is updated.
As the CV is an important piece in the return-to-work process, make sure it looks like the real deal. Do not forget that a hiring manager spends on average six seconds on every CV. It is important to highlight the right information and not to overwhelm them with details. And write a good cover letter – this is a great way to make a good first impression.
During your career break, keep up with what’s happening in your industry by reading trade publications, blogs and staying in touch with former colleagues. This makes it a lot easier to reach out to them when you are ready to return.
As many of us have moved countries and continents since we had our children, this might not be as effective, but using your existing network can be really helpful with finding your next opportunity!
If possible, begin updating your skills by volunteering, getting involved in community events, taking an online course, doing anything that can help fill gaps and refresh your CV a few months before you want to go back to work.
As the CV is a professional and sophisticated document that represents your professional career, make sure you use the correct language. It is recommended to not use quirky wording such as stay-at-home-mum or CEO of the House.
If you are not sure where to start, there are consultants out there that can help you with career advice and CV writing. Choose organisations such as FLEXImums, as the experts there work closely with consultants that can help you.
Once you are ready, your family is ready, and your CV is polished, start to network, network, network, and land yourself that dream job. Good luck!