Are you considering returning to work after taking time out to raise your family?

Maybe you’re feeling a sense of trepidation or trying to weigh up the need for adult company and mental stimulation versus the guilt and anxiety of missing precious time with your children?

There’s no doubt about it, returning to work is an emotional time. However, the 3 steps below will help you to think logically and clearly to find a job that meets all of your needs.

Step 1: Ask yourself some questions

 ‘Do I want to return to work?’

(you may not have a choice).

 ‘What hours do I want to work?’

e.g. part time, flexi time or weekend only.

 ‘What are my options with regards to childcare support?’

e.g. nursery, grandparents, nanny, wraparound childcare.

 ‘Can I return to my old job and, if so, do I want to?’

Step 2: Brainstorm ideas

If you decide to look for a new job, consider whether your new role will be in the same industry, in a different industry or maybe starting your own business. Perhaps you could turn your passions into a job or business opportunity?

Identify which of your old work tasks you really enjoyed doing and consider which jobs these tasks might apply to.

Consider what transferable skills you have – think about the skills you have acquired as a mum. Can’t think of any? OK, what about the yearly children’s parties you have organised – event management. The household budget you look after – financial management. Plus, you don’t survive the toddler years without having some serious negotiation skills under your belt!

If you have undertaken any voluntary activities e.g. being a member of the PTA, have you learnt any new skills? Could any of these skills be used in the career you’re interested in?

Step 3: Take action

 Once you have decided what job you want, you need to do the following:

  • Update your CV

  • Ensure your profile is up to date on LinkedIn. Not only are jobs advertised on there but prospective employers use it to find good candidates.

  • Use your network. Ask friends and other mums if they have any useful contacts or know of anyone looking to fill a role in your chosen field.

  • Research relevant companies that offer flexible working and approach them directly

  • Join recruitment agencies. Some agencies are aimed specifically at working mums, such as Capability Jane or Simply Mums Recruitment.

  • Prepare for your interview. Perfect your skills by arranging a mock interview or by trying to answer common interview questions, which can be found online.

By following these 3 steps you can return to work on your own terms. The time you invest now will pay off when you are in a job you enjoy that fits around the needs of both you and your family.

 First seen in the May/June issue of Families Magazine (Thames Valley East)