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Mums and Dads: How To Return To Work

Spending time with your little people is great, but eventually you may want – or need – to get back into the jobs market. Whether you’ve only been away for a few months or have taken a career break of several years, finding a way back in can be tough for mums (or dads).

So what can you do to improve your chances if you have a child-shaped gap in your CV?

Here are some top tips for parents to get back into the world of work:

  • Update your CV – Even if you don’t have anything to add under the ‘Work’ section you’ll need to explain the gaps in your employment history. You might also want to think of explaining in  your summary why you want to return to the workplace.
  • Decide what you want to do, and how you want to do it – Part-time or full time? Flexi-hours or 9-5? Same industry or something completely new? Sit down with a cup of tea and think about what you want to do and how you can make it fit around other commitments.
  • Reconnect with your past working self – Ah, the time when you could converse with grown-ups on a daily basis. You should try hooking up with ex-colleagues and speaking to old bosses.  Even if you don’t want to go back to your old place of work, the networking could open doors.
  • Remember that being a mum or dad is a skill in itself – And wow can it be underappreciated! You’re probably a multi-tasking, time-managing, problem solving machine by now, not to mention being a peace negotiator. Employers need to know that. There are clever ways of phrasing those skills to make them relevant, so be creative.
  • Get up to speed on your industry – Reading trade magazines, news articles or chatting with other people in the sector you want to get into will help you get back in the loop. Pointing out how you’ve kept up to speed will impress potential employers.
  • Know how much your skills are worth – If you’ve been out of the jobs market for a while it can be hard to know how much your skills are worth now. Knowing your price tag so you can decide which salary bracket you might fall into is important.  Once you’ve updated your CV run it through the ValueMyCV tool to find out how much you’re worth after your career break.
  • Know your rights – Employers have to have a good reason to turn down requests for flexible working. You could consider alternative approaches to work, such as job sharing with another parent, delayed starts or working from home some of the time. Work has to work for you. Never be afraid to ask.

However long the break in your career has been, taking these few practical steps can help you open a door back into the workplace. Piece of cake. After all, there’s no job harder than the one you’re already doing.