Back to (Paid) Work

Guest blog post by Kendal Drew.  Kendal Drew is a Career Adviser based in Perth.  Having made a joyful leap back into work after a break raising three children, Kendal is keenly aware of the challenges faced by women returning to work and optimistic about the possibility of achieving deep career satisfaction alongside managing a family.

Are you thinking about returning to paid work after a break?  If you are looking at a return to work, through necessity or desire, there are a few things to consider.

Chances are, motherhood has changed your expectations, interests and developed your skills in ways you may never have previously imagined.  Now is a good time to take stock of where you are at and how you would like to spend the next few years professionally.

It is a good idea to do a review of your previous roles and a skills assessment including those skills and any others you have developed in your new role as parent or in volunteer roles.  Take a good, long look at all the skills.  Some will be ones you are good at, but don’t enjoy very much.  Others will be ones you are good at, enjoy and want to use more often, and others again may be things you would like to get better at.  It is worth listing them all, in order of preference and noting skill level for each.

The first question is can I/do I want to go back to my previous work/position?

If this is the case, your first step is to dust off your resume and polish up (or create) your LinkedIn profile to ensure both are up to date.  The next step is to reconnect with your old networks and let a few key people know that you are ready to return to the workplace.  While there may be no immediate opportunities within your old workplace, many jobs are filled through network connections and referrals and some of the best positions may never be advertised.  Reconnecting with peers, and old colleagues provide you with more eyes and ears keeping a lookout to opportunities for you.

If you’ve decided it’s time to move away from your earlier roles and try your hand at something new, then this is where the fun begins!  Some soul searching and research are required.  What is it you would like to do?  Is there such a job?  Good question and the My Futures website www.myfuture.edu.au is a good place to start looking for some answers.  This website will provide information on a variety of work roles, salary information, job outlook and even the personal qualities required.  If you’re not that far along, it is possible to take some personal profiling tests (some good ones are available online, try http://www.groper.com.au/career-test and do a free mini test http://www.groper.com.au/assessOptions.php?start= choose free mini test on career interests).  

You may need to undertake some further training to bridge the gap between your current skills and those required for the role.  Training and education are very flexible options these days, with offerings available via distance/online learning, full time, part time and after hours options.  The My Future website will again provide information on what is available in your area for your chosen field of interest.

To recap, some key points to consider when looking at a return to paid work are:

  • Consider childcare options (and the costs involved)
  • Update your resume (including volunteer roles)
  • Conduct a skills assessment
  • Retrain if necessary
  • Refresh your networks
  • Target your job search

It can be a daunting process, but it is worth doing the groundwork to understand what you want to achieve and which roles will bring you satisfaction.  This is the first step in facilitating a smooth transition back into the world of paid work.

Good luck on your next chapter!


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