Transitioning back to work can be difficult when you’ve been a stay at home parent, often because during the time you’ve spent off work, you’ve lost contact with your professional network. However, even if you’ve been a stay at home parent for three, five, or even ten years, it is still possible for you to jump right back into the professional workforce. Whilst job hunting is a daunting task, here are four tips that can help you get back into work.
Consider Contacting Your Former Employer
The first thing to do is consider contacting your former employer. Unless you work in a fast moving industry, the chances are that if you worked for a company for a considerable amount of time they will value your commitment and be willing to take you back. Most companies also find it easier to rehire former employees than train up new ones, especially if previous employees performed well in their jobs.
Remember the saying “It’s who you know, not what you know.” In a way, this is true. Networking really does work, and a lot of people are hired having met employers through other connections. Networking won’t necessarily guarantee you a job right away, but it’s a start, and a good process of developing contacts gradually. Speak to former colleagues of yours, meet them for coffee, tell them that you are planning to return to employment and ask them if they know of anyone who is hiring. Make sure you show interest in what other people say and think about what you say in return.
Update Your Skills
How up to date are you with the latest versions of MS Word and Excel? What about other new technology tools? Now is the time to brush up your skills and qualifications as certain jobs will require an in depth understanding of certain areas. As a stay at home parent, you will most likely have a gap in your resume, but those years weren’t wasted. Try and think of all the skills and experiences you have acquired during your time out of work. You will also want to make sure that your resume is up to date. If you have completed an online masters in business administration (an online MBA) during your time out of the workplace, make sure this is featured prominently.
Be Flexible & Patient
When first starting out in a new field of work, you may be required to take a lower level position and salary than what you’d previously been used to. These are all steps that you are taking in your career path; remember that you are gaining a foot in the door, and will move up in time. Even volunteering could help you land a career by giving you the opportunity to meet new people. You can also demonstrate your current skills whilst learning new ones.
No matter, what you need to believe in yourself. It may take time for you to transition and will likely be exhausting too, but this doesn’t mean you should give up. Give it time. It may take a month or even a year to re-enter the workforce, but, once you’ve returned, you’ll be glad that you did.