Have you recently returned to work, or are you planning to soon?
Does the prospect of continuing in the same career you had before the kids came along fill you with joy or trepidation?
Whilst many mothers relish the chance to jump back onto the same career track, perhaps you’re considering your options.
What do you do if your old career isn’t entirely compatible with family commitments – such as hours that don’t work around childcare? Or, if you’ve been out of the market for a while perhaps the business or technological landscape makes the prospect of returning to your old profession either daunting or unappealing.
Necessity is the mother of reinvention
Working out what to do next can feel tricky. To help you Corinne Mills, a highly experienced career coach, has put together five ways to navigate this and get the right career for you.
What needs to change?
It was Einstein who supposedly said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It's important to think carefully about what you want to be different in the future, otherwise, there is a danger that you could replicate your situation.
Make a list of your priorities, including practical considerations, such as pay and commute time, the type of work you want to focus on and the environment. Which are non-negotiable and which could you compromise on? Have this list to hand as you look at jobs. Think about whether a complete career change is needed. Sometimes this process can remind you of the things you like about your current job, so it may be worth exploring whether you can improve things where you are, rather than moving on.
Take a wide view of your options
There are always more options available to you than you think. Ask people you know for their ideas about what they think could be a good fit for you. Look at different job profiles on the National Careers Service website, consult a career coach and browse LinkedIn to find people who work in the types of roles you are interested in, and see how they describe their job, and the career path they took to get there.
When it comes to searching for jobs keep your search options broad – on 2to3days.com you can select up to 10 industry sectors and 5 departments to ensure you’re not missing out on the perfect role.
Close the skills gaps
Be realistic about the gaps that separate you from those who are already working in the roles you are interested in, and close as many of them as you can by acquiring the relevant skills, knowledge and any qualifications you need. Think about whether a lateral move within your organisation or voluntary work experience could also take you closer to where you want to be. It's also worth considering temporary work as another route into organisations you are interested in.
Professional associations are also helpful for those who are new to the field. Many offer training, speaker events and publications to keep you up to date with industry issues and encourage networking.
Focus on your transferable skills
A functional CV format, where you use the first page to highlight relevant skills and experience drawn from your entire career history, tends to work better for career changers as they enable you to focus on your transferable skills. This is useful for any prospective employers that are wary about career changers. Luckily, employers on 2to3days are open to all sorts of career paths, that’s why they’re drawn to the site.
Avoid getting into lengthy personal justifications for your career change as these often raise more questions for the employer than they answer. Instead, position your career to date as one of natural progression as you discovered more about the things you were good at and enjoyed.
Stand out from the crowd
Typically, jobs advertised on 2to3days.com attract on average 12 applications but it can be as high as 50+, including some who may be a more obvious fit for the job than you. Stand out from the crowd by demonstrating that you are up to speed with the challenges and trends in the sector; how technology, impending regulation or even Brexit might impact on the role.
Craft an original and enticing approach to a recruiter to avoid being put in the rejects pile with the other proforma cover letters. Whatever you do, don’t hold back from applying for jobs – you’ve got to be in it to win it. Worst case, the application and interview process will help you to refine your job search strategy. Best of luck.
See what jobs are available on 2to3days now!
Corinne Mills is Managing Director of Personal Career Management.