Mums returning to work

Juggling a career and home life

The prospect of returning to work after a long break while you raised your family can be very daunting. There are many issues that you need to take into consideration and relaunching your career after staying at home may not be easy. However if you anticipate that you will eventually return to work and keep your skills and knowledge up to date, retain useful contacts etc. it can be easier than if you had no preparation at all for being a mum returning to work.

Things to consider when returning to work:

  • Is your CV up to date?
  • Are you skills up to date?
  • Useful contacts
  • Research the company
  • Juggling family and work

Is your CV up to date?

While being a mum you will have acquired a whole new skill set, such as multi tasking, juggling the finances, crowd control ;) How to diffuse arguments, managing a team and much more. Mothers underestimate their role in the home but really it is a tough job, and as long as you recognize what your contribution has been you can add that to your resume. Be clever about how you word it and don't overdo the 'mommy' bit.

You can also include any details of clubs or associations, voluntary work you may have been involved with while being home with the children. You may have helped out at their schools, the local church, participated in fundraising activities etc. All of these things demonstrate a range of abilities that an employer may find attractive.

Make a list of any reading that you have done that may be relevant that shows you have kept up to date of changes within your industry etc. journals, company magazines, websites etc.

Are your skills up to date?

The world of IT has and still is moving along at a rate of knots. Computers may not have been as widely used in the office you occupied before you had children but they almost certainly will be part of the scenery now. There are many courses that can help you to update your skills in these areas and it is important that you try to remain as up to date with the changing world as possible.

The courses can be quite short and fit around school hours. If you have a computer at home, there are also many teaching CD ROMs that you can buy that will teach you anything from basics to advanced computing and how to use various programs. The minimum skill you would require is word processing along with knowledge of how to use the Internet. Spreadsheets and desktop publishing are also very useful skills to have. These courses will also help to rebuild your confidence, which may have taken a bashing while being out of work for a long period of time.

You can also retrain to do a completely different job. Something that you feel now you are older and wiser would suit you better than what you were doing previously.

When employers see that you have retrained or kept your skills and knowledge up to date they will feel reassured that you are serious about returning to work.

Make useful contacts

While being a full time mum you will undoubtedly meet many people during your day, school teachers, church workers, fundraisers, course leaders and other parents who may themselves be working in fields similar to yours. Do not be afraid to let these people know what your career history is and that you will soon be available for work. Quite often employers will look favorably on a trusted candidate who has been recommended or at least shortlist them for an interview. So networking and retaining old contacts is very helpful in your return to a familiar industry.

It is never too late to re connect with old contacts. You can join professional organizations in your chosen field and begin to network and develop contacts by attending meetings, functions etc. Active career-seekers may want to volunteer to serve on committees within the organizations.

You can contact old employers and see if they have any vacancies or just to let them know that you are ready to return to work should any arise. Most employers will happily favour a known and trusted employee over an unknown quantity candidate. So you have nothing to lose by approaching previous employers for work.

Research the company

Research the company before you apply to find out how parent friendly they are. Do they have flexible working hours, part time opportunities, job share etc? They may offer training or have an on site creche or nursery. You may also be planning on having more children so will need to know what their maternity scheme is.

Juggling Family and Work

Things to consider may include:

  • Out of hours care for your children
  • What to do when my children are sick re taking time off work
  • Fitting the school runs in with work hours
  • What to do during the holidays

With regard to both courses and work, juggling your time and what you can manage within that time is all-important. Do not overload yourself or you?ll burn yourself out. Many courses and jobs these days take full consideration of mums and make provision accordingly. They may have flexible working hours, offer part time work, job share etc.

Your local schools and library will have information about various childcare options and out of hour?s school clubs. As will other parents who work. Do not forget the great resources that already exist for you and that is those that have already made that transition back to work.

Childcare options can include:

  • Child minders,
  • Playgroups,
  • Cr?ches,
  • Day nurseries,
  • Nursery schools/classes,
  • Out of school classes,
  • Holiday schemes/camps,
  • And of course family and friends.

It takes time

It may take a few months to re-enter a professional career. Make sure that you utilize all of the available resources for applying for jobs and having your CV available for suitable employers to contact you. Now you can register your CV online with job sites that can make it available to many employers who are looking for candidates with your skills and experience. It's possible, with time and preparation to return to work after being away for a long period.