5 Key Steps for a Return to Work After Children
by Chris Morrow
It can be scary returning to the workforce. It might be years since you last collected a salary or had a job interview. Irrespective of the length of time since you were last in work, there are a few things to bear in mind whilst you are at home being a full time parent. These little things will help make the transition back to work as smooth as possible.
1. Network, Network
The network that you have spent years cultivating is going to prove invaluable for you when you eventually return to work. One of the main reasons for this is that any potential employer will want to speak to at least two referees when deciding whether or not to offer you a job. So maintain contact with old work colleagues, friends and people you know in the industry. You can do this all online (i.e. via LinkedIn or Email), it doesn’t have to be a significant investment of your already very limited supply of time and energy. Maintaining your network might not be high on your list of priorities when you are away from the office, however, it will pay dividends when you do want to return to paid improvement.
2. Identify any gaps in your skills
Consider whether anything has changed in your line of work since you have been out of your industry. Do your skills may need updating? Is your industry knowledge up to date? You may need to take the time to up skill or research industry news before you start applying for jobs. Take some time to speak to people in your network to get their advice on any gaps you need to fill. This will make a difference when you eventually start interviewing for new jobs as it will present you to an employer as proactive and self-aware.
3. Identify the right job for you
Consider the type of role you want to return to. Are you after a part time or more flexible working arrangement than you had in your pre-kids career? It is important to identify a job that fits your current situation. You never know, that might represent a change in career entirely! If that is the case, you will need to put a plan in place to make the leap to something new, whatever that may be.
4. Explain the gap in your CV
There is mixed advice online about this topic. In this writer’s opinion you should just be honest. You’ve had a baby! You are a parent. You don’t need to say anything other than that on your CV. Technically, employers should in no way discriminate against anyone who has been out of work because they have been caring for a baby. Employers are wary of unexplained gaps in a CV and it is better to deal with any ambiguity with the truth.
5. Get some help if you need it
There are lots of resources out there to help parents returning to work, both at a government level and in the private sector. If you need help with your CV or if you are a bit anxious about going to an interview, get some professional help if you need it. Speak to your friends that have made the transition back to the workforce for their advice.
Going back to work after caring for children can be scary and intimidating. The seemingly mammoth task of finding a new job after time out of the workforce can seem overwhelming. By keeping up your network and industry knowledge, and understanding the type of job you are after you will make the transition as smooth as possible for yourself.
Chris Morrow is a Sydney based recruiter who kindly agreed to share his insights with Think Bespoke’s community. This was originally written after Chris has his first child and specifically referenced Mums. I have adapted the original to reference parents generally.