Returning to the workplace can feel daunting - but help is at hand - check out our checklist below to help get you started.
Returning to the workplace after a few years off to look after the children can be a daunting task. It's a time when our insecurities can overwhelm us and threaten to derail the process before we even begin.
But help is at hand! The best way to ensure a successful return to the workplace is to prepare and plan. Here's a checklist of 6 things to get you started:
1. Skills - is your skill-set up-to-date? If you want to return to the same role as prior to starting a family, is there a refresher course you can do to demonstrate to employees that you are ready to go? If you are wanting to change your role, what courses can you do to ensure that you're skilled-up for your new path? Check out courses available through www.seeklearning.com.au many of which are online and can be done in the comfort of your own home while the kids are napping or in front of a DVD.
2. Technology - It's also worthwhile to make sure your technology skills are up-to-date. As we know, technology moves incredibly quickly these days and ensuring that you have knowledge of the latest technologies being used is very important - back in the day clouds were only in the sky - now they're virtual servers! Be ready for the new jargon. Research what technology prospective employers in your sector are using and take a one-day course or complete desktop research on the internet to make sure you're up with it.There are a lot of packages that have free tutorials available online.
3. Know your strengths - pull out your latest CV, dust it off and take an honest look at it. You will need a new CV which better reflects who you are now. Imagine you are your best self - write a list of the qualities and strengths you have to offer an employer. If you find it difficult to do this for yourself, ask a trusted friend or family member to help you with the list - you may be unaware of the qualities you display to others and you may surprise yourself with the skills and strengths you have gained from raising a family! If you need help drafting a CV that is effective and current I can help! If you're happy drafting one yourself put it in front of someone whose opinion you trust and ask them to provide you constructive, honest feedback. And make sure that your Skills and Experience isn't a list of tasks but a list of achievements about how you improved your employer's business.
4. Know what you want - take some time to reflect, and really understand what is driving you to return to work and what your needs are. This list could include money, hours, what type of role you are after and other factors such as the type of organisation you want to work for or an employer's location. Your motivation may be as simple as a financial need to pay the mortgage. If so, do a budget and understand how much you will need to earn to cover your costs, including childcare. Be ready to be clear about what hours you want to work and when and target those employers who are open-minded about part-time workers.
5. Research the market - it is important to understand that a lot of jobs, particularly part-time ones, don't even get advertised. Start with internet-based research to find out as much as you can about employers in your area. Check out Seek and the local papers to see who is advertising and make a call to their HR department to discuss any opportunities or to understand the skills they are looking for.
6. Network - Now it's time to get unashamed and get on the phone! A hard thing to do but it will be what makes the difference to your search. You need to get the word out that you are on the market. First step is to have two sentences prepared that sums up what you do and what type of job you are looking for - something simple that you can tell anyone. When ANYONE - and I mean ANYONE - asks you what's going on in your life, tell them you are looking for a job, what kind of job and if they hear anything please let you know. Think about people amongst your friends, family and acquaintances who may know business people in your area - contact them and ask them for a favour - can you buy them a coffee or lunch and ask for their advice about jobs in the area. I find that if you are upfront and honest about asking people for a favour they will happily oblige. You never know what you will learn and the more people who know you are looking, the more likely you are to find that job!
It can be hard after spending years cleaning up after kids to feel that you have the skills to offer something in the job place. But the truth is that working mums make great employees. They are experienced and wise and they work hard when they're at work because they know how to make the most of their time and enjoy the chance to get out of the house and contribute.
My final take away - if this whole process feels too daunting and you feel overwhelmed - stop thinking about the process and just focus on the first step. Once you get started you'll build momentum and confidence and the rest will follow.
If you'd like help returning to the workplace I can help you! Give me a call on 0400 429 811 or email me email@example.com and have a no-obligation chat to see how I can help.
Alison Walter enjoys coaching others to success. Read some tips about changing your life in Alison's blog posts.