It can be both scary and exciting to plan your way back to work after a break. But if you take the time to plan your return to work, it will be easier on your family. Here are some tips that will help you make the right plans.
Advice for People Who Stay at Home Parents Who Go Back to Work
Make the Time to Find Work
According to FlexJobs, Brie Reynolds, Career Development Manager and Career Coach at FlexJobs, says, “Getting back to work may take a long time.” “Before you start, you should know that this process could take many weeks or, more likely, months to finish. Too often, moms and dads start out with a lot of energy but quickly lose it because the journey is longer than they thought.
Any job hunt can take weeks or months, but research shows that it may take longer for parents who are trying to get back into the workforce. A study done in 2018 found that parents who take time off work to care for their families were about half as likely to get called in for an interview as people who had been working but were unemployed for other reasons.
Even though these numbers may be discouraging, it’s not impossible to go from being a full-time parent to a full-time worker. Parents who took time off work to raise a family have often been able to go back to work after a few years.
Get your mind in the right place
Reynolds says, “Start practicing as if you were already back at work.” “Talk openly about your career and the work you used to do or the work you want to do (if they are different). Practice talking about yourself like a worker instead of a parent. With these small changes to the way you think and a lot of practice talking out loud about work as someone who works, you’ll be able to talk confidently with potential employers.
Get Some Advice
If most of your friends are also stay-at-home parents, you may need to find advice and ideas from people outside your circle. Try to talk to other working parents to find out how they handle work and family.
Reynolds says, “Even if you don’t know many working parents in real life, you can connect with other moms and dads who have returned to work or are in the process of doing so through online groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. When you come back, their ideas, advice, and friendship will give you a lot of support, energy, and ideas.
Ask them how they found jobs, what they wish someone had told them when they were looking for a job or going back to work, and if they have any tips for finding a job that worked for them.
Determine What You Really Want to Do
You know you want to work, but you might not know what kind of job you want. You might be considering going back to your old job because it would be easier than starting over. But you might want to try something different.
Sit down and think about what brought you happiness while you were raising your kids. Figure out what you really want to do and what steps you need to take to make it happen.
Make a plan for finding a job
Make a job search plan after you’ve thought about the above questions and have a good idea of what you and your family need. Knowing what you need to do and when you need to do it will help you stay on track and give you tasks to work on if you start to get frustrated.
Set goals for your job search and networking, and then write down the dates. This could mean taking classes to learn new skills or brush up on old ones, doing volunteer work, or even looking for internships for adults.
Prepare your elevator pitch, your personal brand, and a five-word description of the job you want. Once you have those ready, you can use them when you talk to professionals and do informational interviews.
Find and check out services that can help you find a job. There are a lot of scams out there when you’re looking for a job, so do your research to make sure you’re only applying to real jobs and companies.
A lot of people have more than one account on a social media site. But even if you only have one account, make sure it’s up-to-date and doesn’t have anything that could be a problem.
If you don’t want employers to see pictures or opinions you don’t like, you might want to change your privacy settings so that only people you approve can see your profile.
Also, improve your LinkedIn profile while you’re at it. Not only does it give you a chance to show off your relevant skills, but it’s also a great way to show that you’re interested and active in your subject area.
How to Answer Tough Questions About Going Back to Work
They want to talk to you, so congrats! As you get ready for the big day, keep in mind that there are many professional and reassuring ways to talk about your job gap.
Don’t try to hide the fact that you’re raising a family. Depending on how long you were out of work, you probably picked up a lot of skills that you can use at work. Also, talk about any volunteer work, side projects, or freelance work you did while taking care of your family.
How to Handle Tough Subjects
Someone might ask you questions that they shouldn’t, whether or not it’s legal or fair. If you’re in this situation, you should be ready to hear the questions and have a great answer ready to go.
Some questions that are less than ideal are:
Does your job matter more than your family?
How do you let someone else raise your children?
Who feeds your children?
Are you required to work?
There are many more like this, of course. But, most of the time, you can answer these kinds of interview questions in a few different ways.
Staying calm is the most important thing to do. Take a deep breath and try one of these ways to answer the question.
You could first answer the question straight away. “Who feeds my children? Since I’m not very good at cooking, my partner does it, and I do the dishes.
Second, you can try to change the question and the answer by giving a funny answer. “Who feeds my children? I will try to get anyone to do it because I can’t cook. Seriously. I can’t even get water to boil right!”
Third, you could ask the interviewer how the question is related to the job duties. “Who feeds my children? Can you tell me why this matters? I want to know everything there is to know about the job. I’d like to know that if I’m going to cook for you and be your account manager.
In the end, this will teach you a lot about the company and how it works.
Stay-at-home options Dads and Moms Going Back to Work
Don’t give up if you didn’t get the job. You can still do things that will help you get back to work.
Part-time and temporary jobs
Think about working part-time or as a freelancer as a step toward getting a full-time job. This will help you and your family get used to the idea that you work. It also lets you test the waters and find out what kind of balance works best for you and your family.
Work that is part-time, temporary, or freelance is also a great way to get back into technology.
The job is yours!
That’s awesome! But once you start thinking about it, you might start to wonder how you’ll make it all work. Who will watch the children when they get home from school? Why not take them to practice for soccer? What happens if somebody gets sick? Here’s how to make sure your return to work goes smoothly.
Try out the day care
Most of the time, you will have about two weeks before your first day on the job. You should find care for your kids during that time.
Do a test run once you have everything set up so the kids can get used to the new person or people helping you out. You can also figure out what works best for you in terms of schedule and routine, and you can learn to trust and rely on your helpers.
When you go back to work, you might do everything you can to show that you can do everything. But in reality, that’s not good for how you balance work and life.
Set limits and be sure to stick to them
If you need to leave at 5:00 to get to daycare by 6:00, you should always leave at 5:00. As a trade-off, you might have to do some work at home, but let your team know that you have to leave at 5 p.m. and can’t stay late for a meeting.
You can offer to have the meeting at a different time or suggest that it be done online instead. There are a lot of tools for working from home that let you meet with coworkers at any time or place.
It takes time to go back to work as a mom or dad.
It’s not always easy to get back to work, so ask for as much help as you can. Reynolds says, “It can also be helpful to work with a career coach. This person can help you get clear on your goals, fix up your resume, practice interviews, and figure out the best ways for you to get back to work.”