This is a difficult time for everyone. But it will end and slowly life will transition back to the familiar. In the meantime, try to use this windfall of time productively.
For those who are trying to navigate one of the more difficult job transitions -- shifting from caretaking at home to “back to corporate” or “back to the office,” this is a great time to create the tools (resume, LinkedIn profile, etc...) that are essential to your search.
If you have been a caretaker of children or parents, the process of searching for work can feel daunting. Your time at home may not always be respected. Don’t let this get you down. People return back to the business world all the time.
Make sure you know what you really want. You have probably become used to managing your own time. Consider what types of changes you are willing to make to your schedule. Think about what excites you about returning back to work and what doesn’t. Have a clear idea of what you are willing to give up, compromise on and/or change. Think about how far you are willing to commute, to travel, whether you want to be full or part-time and how much flexibility matters to you. Make sure that the jobs you seek align with what appeals to you.
Unfortunately, time doesn’t stop for those who step out of the traditional work force. How long have you been out? Four years, 10, 20? Are your skills up-to-date? What would help you become more current? Don’t devalue yourself. You are the same person -- only older and wiser! More than likely, your caretaking time has helped you become a more empathetic person. At the same time, be realistic. Understand that your caretaking experience isn’t always transferred as valuable job skills to a hiring manager.
If you haven’t been volunteering, figure out what interests you and jump in. Everyone wants to see experience and current experience is critical. Remember too, that you never know who you will meet in these situations. Be open and vulnerable; share that you are looking for a new position and leave your ego at home.
Create a resume that highlights your abilities. Don’t overlook past accomplishments but focus on current experiences that also portray your skills. Resume etiquette has changed over the years. Consider working with a resume professional or career coach to make sure that you present yourself in a contemporary manner. There are also many books and online resources to help with this.
Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is current. If you don’t have many connections then get started connecting! Don’t be intimidated or daunted by this task. It’s not as overwhelming as you might think. If you start by making just three connections a day you’ll be amazed at how fast this will build up. You’ll have around 84 by the end of the month!
Let people know that you are (or will be) looking for a job. Nobody can help you if they don’t know you are looking! Remember, despite the effort that goes into taking care of children or parents, the experience is not always a boost to the “job seeking ego” and a lack of confidence is a fast de-motivator. Stay away from individuals who tell you that “you’ll never get back in.” That’s not helpful. Remember that you have a lot to offer. If you find yourself questioning your own abilities, now would be a good time to find a coach or friend who can support you throughout your job search. Confidence and believing in yourself will make a huge difference.
Although many of us are in “limbo” about the economy, schools, and life in general, it’s important that we keep moving forward. This helps our psyche and can provide a sense of “control” that is helpful during uncertain times. Wash your hands, stay healthy and continue to take steps forward each day.
Barbara Gough, CCTC Career Coach, Leadership & Entrepreneur Consultant Barbaragoughca@gmail.com