Many women leave the workforce at some point in their career to focus on raising their children. When the children are grown and the time comes to return to work, it can be disorienting and challenging.
The nature of work is rapidly evolving. Every day there are new technologies that change the way we communicate and work with each other. An accountant ten years ago may well be lost with today’s accounting software. A programmer who learned code in the late 90s may find that their programming language is obsolete. Common core requirements have fundamentally altered how teachers teach.
Do not despair. Yes, many things have changed, but many other things have stayed the same. The innate qualities and soft skills that you have to offer are still valuable to employers. Focus on these qualities to set yourself up for success.
Remember, you don’t have to apologize to anyone for choosing to stay home with your children. It is not a flaw that you must make excuses for. Be clear about how these decisions were the right ones for your family at the time, and now you are excited to be returning to work.
Here are some tips for moms returning to the workforce:
Inventory Your Skills and Accomplishments
Be ready to talk about your skills and accomplishments. Are you an excellent communicator? How are your leadership skills? Remember to talk about the qualities that make you an excellent team member and collaborator. Nobody wants to hire someone they wouldn’t want to work with.
Leverage Your Network
You may not think of your connections as a network, but they are. Reach out to past coworkers, peers, and mentors. See if you can touch base with them about what may have changed in the industry since you left the workforce. These connections may even help you get hired.
Close the Gaps
Remember how we said that a lot has changed? Use the time before your interview to brush up on your skills. Take a refresher course, watch some videos, read a book…do everything you can to catch up on what you have missed. The last thing you want is to get caught off guard during your interview. Learn as much as you can about what has and has not changed. You don’t have to be an expert, but interviewers will want to know that you care enough to take these steps on your own.
Before the Interview
- Investigate the soft skills needed for the position and be prepared to talk about what makes you a good fit.
- Learn as much as you can about the company and be prepared to ask insightful questions.
- Practice your interview with family or friends. Look up some of the most common interview questions and make sure you are ready for them.
- If necessary, make the drive to the company before your interview, taking note of the commute time and the appropriate places to park.
Returning to work can be stressful. But by following these tips, you can get up and running in no time.