Returning to work after either having a baby or raising your kids can be a real challenge. It can be daunting effort – and maybe even a bit frustrating at times. However, it is not an unattainable goal. Wondering where to start when considering going back to work? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Check with Your Previous Employer
Depending on how long you’ve been out of work, your last employer may be a good way to get back into the workforce. Assuming your previous job is the career you’re still interested in, this is a good place to start. Even if your previous employer can’t rehire you right now, it doesn’t hurt to let them know that you are interested in jump starting your career again. If you do work with your previous employer again, you might have to come back in lower position just to get your bearings. Before you take this route, decide if you want to go back where you left off or pursue an entirely new career.
Make a list of companies you would like to work for – and work through it in reverse order. Start making cold calls and see if you can find an open position that matches your needs. Not all companies are quick to advertise their available positions. If you’re qualified and anxious to jump back in, you just might be given a chance. The reason you’re starting in reverse order is to practice your approach and hone your skills before you start calling the companies you’re really interested in working for. Even if you don’t find an open position, get contact information for HR departments so you can at least send them a resume and cover letter to keep on file.
Use Your Network
If you had a career before having your kids, you may have a good source for getting back into the workforce. You likely have a list of professional contacts. Let them know that you’re ready to resume your career. They are likely to be willing to put the word out that you’re looking for work again. Consider using a professional site like LinkedIn to upload your resume. Many companies search sites like LinkedIn, CareerBuilder or Monster to find potential employees. Speaking of “networks,” consider using social networks such as Facebook to post your resume or spread the word that you’re ready to work again.
Use Employment Agencies
If you don’t have a previous employer to fall back on, consider an employment agency. Do a little research and find one that matches your goals, otherwise you may be sent out on any available job. Don’t ignore the niche agencies, otherwise you’ll be in the pool of taking whatever is available. Niche or specialty agencies tend to be smaller, meaning you get more individual attention and they work closer with you to help you find what you are looking for.
Consider Online Education
If it has been a while since you’ve been in the workforce, you might want to brush up on your skills. If you are still actively taking care of your kids, an easy way to accomplish this is by taking an online course. This can be a way to make yourself more attractive to perspective employers as you restart your career. Recent education tends to carry more weight. The great thing about online education is that you can take classes on your own time. Any advantage helps.
Set Realistic Goals
If you have been out of the workforce for a while, it helps to set realistic goals. The process of putting your name out there again is a good first goal. It helps to just let potential employers know you’re looking again. Make a list of goals leading up to the point where you officially restart your career. Make the goals small to start with to avoid getting discouraged. Once you start reaching your goals, you’ll gain confidence that will help you when you have preliminary interviews, callbacks and other appointments that hopefully lead to a rewarding career.
Realize that you probably won’t fully restart your career overnight. Several factors are involved, including how long you have been out of the workforce and what relevant education and experience you have. Start by setting realistic goals and letting friends, former colleagues and even former employers know that you are ready to restart your career. It may be a challenge to jump start your career again, but – with a little determination and persistence – it can be done. Confidence is a great motivator.
Bio: Megan writes for Assisted Living Today, a leading source of information on senior care, including information on assisted living facilities in NJ.