We have a wealth of experience in our mothers and the experts we work with; we asked for top tips on helping mothers feel energised and confident on their journey back to work. Here are the results that should help you transition smoothly back into work:
1. Be proud of what you do...
Celebrate motherhood and discover how to transfer the skills you have learnt as a mother to the workplace.
“Remember all that you have achieved in your career before and everything you have learned as a mother - the combination of these two things will blow their socks off!”
“Preparing to enter into the world of work, means moving away from the mindset of ‘I’m just a mum’ to one that sees your skills, abilities and experience in a new way.”
“Truly value the skills you had before you became a mother and those you have learnt during your pregnancy and transition to motherhood. Write down all the achievements previously attained and spend some time remembering how you felt at the time.”
“Make a list of all the skills you've been using during your break and consider how these are transferable to work (chances are there's nothing more challenging at work than negotiating with a determined toddler at home!).”
“Enlist the help of your friends and loved ones to tell you what they consider your strengths and skills to be too.”
“Be proud of your extended career break. What makes you the best candidate and how has your extended career break contributed to that?”
“Acknowledge the huge growth you have experienced and will bring to a new employer.”
“Make a note of all your strengths (not just what you're good at but what you really enjoy and what energises you).”
2. Focus is everything
What is your ideal job? How many days do you want to work? Become clear about what you want and focus on it.
“Take the time to find out what you really want to do. Think about combining your personal skills in a job sector you are interested in.”
“Write out a simple reminder of your “what” and “why,” so that you can pull it out in moments of doubt and reconnect at any time with your creative and inspiring energy.”
“Be clear about what you want and why. Identify your motivations for going back to work. Is it for financial reasons? to contribute?, to be a part of something, or to have an identity..?”
“What are your priorities? What you are prepared to be flexible about and what is non-negotiable?”
“Before looking outwards, spend some time looking within. Find 10-15 minutes a day for 7 days. Sit quietly and allow yourself to envisage your "perfect job", the hours, the location, the salary, and the purpose. How would it feel to see this opportunity appear and grasp it with both hands?”
3. Keep In touch
Even if it’s just the odd drink, It’s a good idea to keep in touch with old work colleagues. Aside from reminding yourself that you did have another life before becoming a mum, you never know when that perfect job might just pop up.
“Networking, networking, networking - this is the key to survival in the corporate world. Update your LinkedIn profile and see what groups others are following in your field. Follow organisations you would like to work for, and approach them directly, either through a contact or research the name of a head of department and send a letter to them.”
“While away from work, try to stay in touch with colleagues and others in your industry, so you're not completely out of the loop when you return. Read relevant industry magazines and websites too.”
“Focus on building your network. Treat every meeting as a potential work opportunity - jobs are quite often created around people, so be prepared to talk positively about what you have to offer.“Resist slipping into underselling yourself by talking about what you can't do/don't know/feel worried about. Save this for your closest friends and family!”
“Engage with social media and set up your profile on LinkedIn (but don't treat this as a substitute for getting out and talking to people).”
3. Get work ready
Having a CV together and your childcare in place is vital. That way you can feel focused and strong about finding work.
“Your CV is your key marketing tool - be sure you have it looking good and stating your achievements in previous positions.”
“Practice interviews. Think about your pitch and what you have to offer employers.”
“Find out what recruiters are seeking and maximise your potential by filling any gaps through developing new skills.”
“Chat with a professional CV writer or career coach. Your confidence in your skills and what you can offer to an employer will soar.”
“Lots of people aren't sure how to cover a career break in a CV but you can turn it into a positive.”
“If you have the time but no finance, hone your skills by offering to undertake a volunteer role – for example on a church committee, school governor or at a charity shop.”
4. Train your confidence
According to the experts, confidence is simply a state of mind that you can practice.
“Write down your top 50 'confident' moments. They are all there - you just need to look for them.”
“Believe in yourself and trust the inner intuition that has prompted you to return to work in the first place!”
“Re-connect with your previous successes rather than feeling you need to re-prove yourself and start all over again. “
“There is no failure only feedback. For example after a disappointing interview, remember you have learnt something from the experience and you can do better next time.”
“Stop with the comparison. Be happy in your own skin.”
“Are you sure you want to do the job you are applying for? In my experience when someone doesn't want to do something, they find every excuse not to and the procrastination creates unhappiness. “
“The more excited you are about your potential new endeavor, the more you'll have what it takes to make it happen.”
“Learn to silence your "inner critic", which erodes self-confidence and hampers your ability.”
“Praise yourself for the things you do well, keep this up when you take the first step towards getting a job and make a habit of it whilst you are working.”
“Surround yourself with positive "can do" people who are supportive and contribute to your sense of self-worth.”
5. Create a back to work look
According to the experts, it’s about a handful of basics. For more inspiration, check out (link to wardrobe blog) our blog for further top tips on your back to work wardrobe.
“Remember if you look good you will feel better about yourself. Take the time to think about the clothes you love wearing and why.”
“Nail your capsule business wardrobe. You need far fewer clothes than you think to create a successful working wardrobe. The key is to ensure all your items colour co-ordinate, which then gives you endless outfit combinations. Just 4 jackets, 2 skirts, 2 dresses, 4 simple scoop neck tops, a pair of trousers and a Mac will give you enough outfits for at least a month!”
“Have a haircut, get a manicure. Be polished and you will look like you are in control which is the first step to being in control!”
“Make the most of accessories - accessories are an easy and inexpensive way of adding interest and personality to your outfits.”
“Think about your the impact that you want to have when you first meet a prospective employer. What does your appearance say about you? How smart, confident and contemporary do you look?”
“Treat yourself to some office clothes so that you feel the part - even if it's not how you're feeling on the inside, an outfit that 'fits the part' will really help your confidence.”