Being a parent is certainly a full-time, 24-hour and endlessly rewarding job. But there comes a time when many parents make the seemingly daunting transition back into the workforce, following some time off. After stepping away from your career, it can be difficult to get back into the habit of your daily working life, similar to your day-to-day work before having your child. No matter what your desired job looks like, every parent can work towards a fulfilling career, as well as a fulfilling personal life.
1. Asses your priorities
Once you become a parent, your needs and priorities have been instantly altered. This shift also impacts what a parent envisions as an “ideal job.” For example, do you need more flexibility with your working hours? Do you need to work closer to home? What financial compensation do you need to effectively provide for your growing family? Knowing exactly what you want from your job before you enter the workforce again is imperative. After discussing personal priorities with your family, these are things you should talk to your previous manager about, if you intend on picking up where you left off in your career. If you are looking for a job with a new company, make sure you know that your potential employer is willing to work with any non-negotiable requirements you have to accommodate your family-related responsibilities. Around three-quarters of the way into your maternity or paternity leave is a good time to start thinking about how you want to get back into the workforce.
2. Think about starting part-time
Transitioning from being a stay-at-home parent to a full-time worker outside the home can be overwhelming. A great alternative to consider is starting with part-time employment to ease back into the workforce. A part-time job allows you to close that gap in your resume but still enables you to spend an extended period of time at home. With the prevalence of technology, many employers are being more adaptable with their policies on working remotely as well. If your goal is to enter the workforce full-time, the earlier you’re able to start doing some work in your industry, the easier it is to land a more permanent position.
3. Stay in touch
Every industry is constantly evolving and the more you stay up-to-date on these evolutions, the easier it will be to get back into the workforce. Even a few regular phone calls with your former colleagues and existing contacts can help you stay informed and connected. Let them know you have taken some personal time with your family, but you are looking to get back to work. These individuals can be your golden tickets to your first position back in the workforce but don’t forget to continue to network with new people in your industry as well.
Yes, you’ve been away, but don’t let that time off make you less confident in your abilities. Employers want to make sure your skills are up-to-date and you are truly ready to transition into a position with their company. They will also want to know if you’ve done any relevant work while you were taking some time off. It’s important to be able to articulate to an employer that you are fully committed to the job you are trying to transition into – and confidence is key.
5. Keep your options open
It might take some time to find a position that’s a good fit for you and your family – but don’t panic! If you’re applying for jobs, make sure you have a clear, concise resume that showcases your skills, and stay focused on the companies that align with your personal needs and values. If you’re talking to a previous employer about coming back to the company, be open to an offer for a different position, as long as it allows you to have any flexibility you need in your personal life and still advances your professional career.
The most important tip to remember when returning to the workforce is to be honest. You might feel pressured to go back to the career you had before becoming a parent, but the more time you take to evaluate your ideal work-life balance, the more prepared you will be to reintegrate back into the workforce. Keep an open mind and don’t rush into anything, the last thing you need to do is jump into a position that you’re not ready to take on or doesn’t fit with your family’s schedule. Keep talking to professionals in your industry, and promote the skills and talents you have to offer. Being a parent is likely the most rewarding experience of your life – make sure your career is rewarding as well.