How to Return to Work After Raising Children
Parents who take time away from the workforce to raise their children often face challenges when they want to go back to the workforce. This is especially true for parents who did not have a clearly established career trajectory before having a child. Returning to work after raising children can be challenging but it is achievable.
The following are tips on how to return to work after raising children:
- Be clear and concise: When communicating with a hiring manager, it is best to be clear about your past and your current situation. For example, If you are trying to return to work after having a baby or taking time to raise your kids, do not forget to state it. Being a stay-at-home parent is not something that needs to be hidden. It has given you skills and experience that can be useful in the workplace.
- Explain how the situation has changed: Before a recruiter will employ you to work in his/her organization, the recruiter will want to know what has changed to allow you to return to the workforce. After you have explained the reason for your time away from work, be ready to convince them that you are ready to come back to work after taking the time off to raise your child/children.
- Network: Job leads can come from anywhere, so be sure to tell people that you are looking for a job. Do not forget to tell people in your network that you are returning to the workforce and ask if they know of any relevant job vacancies, they should inform you about them. You can also connect with past coworkers, family members, and friends and let them know what you are up to and where they can help or assist.
- Be patient: Searching for a job opening after a long time away from the corporate world can be very daunting, especially frustrating if you are looking to return to work after taking time to raise kids. It will take you a long time to find the right fit. Not every company is going to think you are the right fit, and that is okay. If you are determined to get back into the workforce regardless of the challenges, it is important that you keep searching and submitting applications. Job searching can take several months or more, try to remain positive and be patient and persistent. You will face different challenges, but keep your eyes on the goal and do not give up. Not every hiring manager will want you, but you only need to find one. So do not give up.
- Acknowledge your skills: Staying at home with your family brings new skills and hones existing ones, from dealing with people, getting creative and thinking outside the box, and time management, writing down these skills is a good place to start. The next step is to articulate them to a hiring manager.
- Gain clarity: If you need help gaining clarity on what you want to do when you return to work, then undergo a self-assessment to evaluate your skills and strengths. Upskill by reading and taking courses.
- Update your resume: Relaunching your career effectively takes some strategic work. Update your resume and think broadly about what you have learned from your stay at home. For example, if you learned how to blog while you were at home, indicate it in your resume. This will show the recruiter that although you stayed away from corporate work for a while, you still engaged in activities that kept your brain busy and sound.
- Consider transferable household management skills: Taking care of your household demonstrates organizational and leadership skills. You can tell the recruiter that staying at home equipped you with the necessary skills that will be needed in a workforce. For example, you learned how to manage time effectively to achieve a goal, you also learned how to coordinate activities at the home front, do not forget to mention it to the recruiter.
- Identify your ideal vision of the future: The key is to design your life around your ideal vision of the future. What kind of work-life balance do you seek, and what things are you good at that give you energy? Recognize your uniqueness and how you can leverage this ability to grow both your employer and yourself while having the life you want.
- Keep up with your contacts and industry news: Stay up to date with your industry and profession by keeping up with your contacts as well as industry publications. Although you may not be active in the office, use your social media platforms to share relevant industry articles and events. Remember that you’re looking for a job, always ask questions.
- Attend training or certification opportunities: Being a stay-at-home parent requires so many valuable skills that translate well into the corporate world. Sadly, most recruiters are looking for “proof” of your ability to do the job. For them, proof means job-related experience or education. Polish your current skillset by looking for training or certification opportunities that would help you to get a job.
- Reconnect with and expand your network: Reconnecting with your existing network and expanding it are two of the best ways to get back into the workforce. Many of your best advocates will be those who have worked with you, and many companies highly value candidates who are referred by their current staff members.
- Follow your passion: Getting back into the workforce after years out of it can be confusing. If you want to get back into the workforce, start by figuring out what your unique ability is and what you are passionate about.
- Refresh your skills: Staying away from work after a long period to get back into the workforce requires a lot of hard work. Gaining employment will not be easy as presumed so it is important that you freshen up your work skills or learn new ones to give you a safe landing when you gain employment. Going back to school may not be your best bet, you can sign up for classes, conferences, or certifications. Whether in person or online, these are great ways to get reacquainted and learn about new development in your career field.
- Get active on social media: Social media is a great tool that can be used to get back into the workforce without unnecessary stress. As a stay-at-home parent that wants to get back into the workforce, you need to create or update your profile on professional websites to grow your network and be visible to job recruiters.
- Practice and prepare: Practice your interviewing skills ahead of being invited to one. Practicing and getting prepared for an interview will help you to build your confidence and become comfortable when answering interview questions. Curate a list of common interview questions and practice answering them out loud, even while doing household chores like laundry, cooking, or showering. Ask a friend or your spouse to do a mock interview with you and get their feedback on your answers, body language, and presence.
In conclusion, making the decision to stay at home for the family is a big one to make, but returning to work after being a stay-at-home parent can feel like quite the transition. But with the right preparation, personal investment, and a confident, realistic outlook, you will succeed.