Congratulations on your decision to return to the workforce! Now what do you do? If you have been a stay-at-home parent for a while, the prospect of returning to work can be both exciting and scary. Whether you are planning to start fresh in a new career or go back to your previous one, here are six strategies to help you with your return to work.
1. Establish Realistic Goals:
Competition in many fields can be fierce. You may not be able to return to work at the same pay and level you had enjoyed previously; especially if you have been away from the workforce for more than a few years. Employers are more interested in candidates with recent experience so talk to people in your field of choice to find out what employers need now.
Recognize too, the need to be flexible. Many of us would love to only work while the kids are in school for a company that is only 5 minutes from home. Consider though, how this limits your chance of finding a job. Going back to work can mean the need to establish day care and a new schedule for your family. Research all the options before starting your job search.
2. Career Exploration:
This can be a great time explore a new career. Consider what type of job would make you happy. If you are considering a career change, create a list of the job titles that appeal to you. Research these jobs to learn about the education, training, pay rates and demand. The Government of Canada Job Bank is a good place to start career research.
3. Upgrade Your Skills Or Learn New Skills:
Consider returning to school or taking additional training if your target job requires credentials and specific, up-to-date skills. This can be particularly true in technical fields where even an absence of a year or two can mean the need to upgrade. Investing in yourself now, will make you more marketable.
Most job vacancies are not advertised. So how do you find out about them? A tried and true way is networking. Start telling everyone you know that you are re-entering the paid workforce. Just because you have been out of the workforce for a while does not mean that you don’t have a network. Friends, family members, former colleagues, neighbours, even your dentist can be good sources for job leads. Also, check out networking sites such as LinkedIn as a way to connect with people who can help you with your job search.
Volunteering is a terrific option for keeping skills sharp, building new competencies, obtaining references and easing into a new career. Treat volunteer positions on your résumé as you would a paid job.
If you have always wanted to start a business and be your own boss, this might be a good time to give it some serious effort. Many communities have government-run business centres to support budding entrepreneurs. You can also check out your community’s chamber of commerce for information.
A final word of advice:
Be patient and keep an open mind. You probably will not immediately regain the pay and same type of job that you had before you left the workforce. Be flexible with the roles that you might consider, especially if your experience is not current. There are likely many jobs that you might enjoy where you can use the skills that you have now. Good opportunities are there for those who are flexible and persevere.
Do you live in Halton or Peel Regions and would like some help returning to the workforce? Contact The Centre for assistance.