Tips for Women Re-Entering the Workforce
At some point in your life, you may find yourself re-entering the workforce—maybe your children are no longer at home, you need to add to the family income, you desire to return to a career, or you are now the primary breadwinner for your family due to divorce, disability, or the loss of a spouse. In this time of transition, the first thing to do is create and follow a plan and ensure you have the skills needed to be competitive in the job market. The following are some tips for getting started on your return-to-work plan.
How Do I Make the Transition Easier?
Evaluate your circumstances and seek heavenly help. Consider your family’s emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual needs as you begin your job search. It can be difficult to care for your children while also trying to make ends meet. So counsel with your family—including your children—about the decision, and discuss what this change might mean for everyone. Make sure to include your Father in Heaven in your decisions and prayerfully counsel with Him about your specific circumstances. Search the scriptures for answers to know what He would have you do.
Ask for help. As you make this transition, you will need the support of family and friends. Reach out to your home teachers, members in your ward or branch, and others who are or have been in similar circumstances. Create a support group for yourself and find a mentor. The support you receive from others will help you and your family adjust to your new schedule and will help reduce negative feelings about the transition. As you keep an eternal perspective and focus on the lessons you are learning, you will have the confidence you need to find the job you desire.
Be realistic about the amount of work you can take on. Make a schedule of what obligations you have right now, and then consider employment options that will allow you to work and cover your existing responsibilities. Set goals for what you want to accomplish and make a plan. To help make these big decisions, counsel with your family and bishop or ward Relief Society president for help and direction on how to accomplish them. As you talk with others, consider the physical and emotional demands of working and caring for your children. If you are concerned about how you will carry your new load, you may consider taking a part-time position before you move on to full-time employment.
What Do I Need to Do to Prepare Myself for Returning to the Workforce?
Before you start your job search, ask yourself some key questions:
- What would I like to do for work?
- What have I done in the past?
- What types of companies would I like to work for?
- What skills have I developed raising my children, as a volunteer, or in my Church callings?
- Is the career I once pursued still viable today? If not, what training do I need?
- What is the job market like where I live?
Answering these questions will be a great start to better prepare yourself for the challenges and decisions you will encounter as you re-enter the workforce.
Update your skills. You will be re-entering a job market that has significantly changed and has had many technological advances since your last job. Updating your qualifications, credentials, and technological proficiency may be necessary for the jobs you will be applying for. If needed, obtain additional training or refresh your skills. Consider enrolling in online training courses or volunteering your time at a company you are interested in.
Network with others. Networking is an important key to reaching your career aspirations. You may feel reluctant to share your career goals with others because of your absence from the job market, but don’t be afraid to let others know you are looking for work. Connect with friends, family members, and business professionals, and create a networking profile. This will provide your networking contacts with information that will help them better understand what you are looking for and how they can help.
Evaluate your capabilities. Determine all the qualities, skills, and talents you possess and what type of work environments are right for you. This will help you find a job that will allow you to use your strengths and succeed in your career. Consider the work atmosphere and responsibilities at particular companies to determine if they are a good fit.
Attend the Career Workshop. The Career Workshop will help you identify your resources and make plans for your job search. The workshop helps you learn how to create power statements and gives you an opportunity to practice networking and interviewing.
How Can I Get Past the Barrier of My Limited Work History?
Learn how to write an effective résumé and cover letter. Don’t be embarrassed if you lack work history on your résumé. In this case, rather than focusing on your work experience, focus on your skills—and learn how to market them. Showcase your volunteer work and participation in community and church organizations. A résumé and cover letter will help you better introduce yourself to your future employer and how much you have to offer.
What Should I Do to Maintain a Sense of Normalcy at Home?
Maintain family time. Once you have a job, establish a schedule with your children that can provide them with a sense of stability and support.
- Talk with your children about your plans and backup plans.
- Spend one-on-one time with each of your children.
- Make time for family worship, including family prayers and scripture study, attending Church meetings, and holding family home evening.
- Make time for family meals.
Plan for schedule changes. Create a plan and backup plans for taking care of responsibilities at home. Consider plans for getting children to and from school as well as plans for when the children are not in school. Plan how you will handle emergency situations or who will take responsibility for times when someone needs to be home.
This is just the beginning of your transition. As you move forward in this next step, remember that the workforce needs you and your skills. As you involve Heavenly Father and your family members in your job search and apply these principles, you will be successful in finding and maintaining employment.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson said, “By work we sustain and enrich life. It enables us to survive the disappointments and tragedies of the mortal experience. Hard-earned achievement brings a sense of self-worth. Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God. A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, sometimes menial, sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, orders, sustains, lifts, ministers, aspires” (“Reflections on a Consecrated Life,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 17).