Some mums return to the same job they did previously and others will change completely. Whichever end of the scale you are and however long you have taken out of the career game here are some top tips on changing direction.
- Know yourself. Self-analysis is the first critical step. Spend some time analysing your career to date, your skills, strengths, values and interests. Spending time on this as a first step will help you crystallise where it is you want to go. To help with this ‘What to do next?’ by Charlotte Billington (Amazon) is a practical exercise book you can work through. With particularly good reviews from Mums this good value alternative to coaching has helped many Mums at the start of their journey.
- Once you have figured out what you want to head towards, start researching. Research the industry, people within that industry (and their backgrounds), the market and recruiters and key companies.
- Talk to people. Who can you speak to within your network or others’ network. Most people who are passionate about what they do are happy to talk to others who are starting in their area. Look on LinkedIn too to see whether anyone else can introduce you to people who may be able to help you.
- Educate yourself. Skill up. Can you do a course or training to build experience and knowledge in your area of interest. There are a whole range of courses out there from on line or council led courses to in-depth programmes or training courses. My key tip here is get a recommendation or speak to someone who has completed it to ensure it is right for you and of a good standard. Something else I have noticed being more prevalent are mum-returner programmes and returnships run by a variety of companies. Another interesting company is Digital Mums who run a programme for mum returners to gain ‘client’ experience, skills and knowledge.
- Have an elevator pitch and communicate clearly what it is you want to do. Once people know what you are looking for they are more likely to think of you when they hear of a similar opportunity.
- LinkedIn – make sure your LinkedIn reflects what you are now looking for, that your profile is impressive and that absolutely any relevant experience that you have is highlighted. Key words are repeated and that you join relevant groups and networks for tips, to be noticed and for further insights.
- Gain experience in any way possible. Can you volunteer? Temp? Do a contract? If you are currently working, can you offer to work on internal projects that will add to your relevant experience? Don’t forget to add to your CV/LinkedIn any charity work or work that you have done if you have been on a break that may well be relevant.
- Register with job boards, companies and agencies that are relevant to what you are looking for. There are more places out there now for flexible work and mum returners – some examples are 2 to 3 days, Capability Jane, Beyond the school run and others.
- Is there an intermediary step between where you are and where you want to be? A stepping stone role?
- Present yourself well, in person and on paper/online. Keep positive and persistent. This is an excellent opportunity to do what you actually want to do so use it to your advantage.
By Charlotte Billington
What To Do Next is Now Available from Amazon