Even after a two week holiday, it can seem as if a lot has changed when you return from work. So it’s no wonder that most women returning to work after a career break feel that it is a daunting prospect indeed.
Of course, you know that this time off has been anything but a time for relaxation and you might feel as if you have been working harder than ever. Nevertheless, it’s now time to get back to a career and you need to pay attention to your CV or resume.
1. Look at this from a positive point of view. During your time off you have amassed several new skills. You are really good at multitasking, time management, project management and your coping skills have improved considerably! Never underestimate what you need to do to manage a busy home and bring up a young one and look at these skills as important additions to your resume.
2. Some specific coaching for women advocates that you should compose a “functional” resume in this situation. This type of approach lists your skills and qualifications rather than focusing on a chronological list of employers. As such, you are definitely focusing on your experience and this should be stressed in the body of the document. List your employers without reference to dates and focus on your skills, experience and qualifications above all else.
3. Don’t be defensive when it comes to your time off for maternity leave. Many women worry that employers judge them if they have prioritised family over career. But let’s put things in perspective here. There are plenty of far more serious things for employers to get concerned about such as lack of honesty, unwillingness to work hard, disloyalty etc. The list goes on and on. Prepare yourself as if you were a saleswoman: What objections might be raised and how will you overcome those objections!
4. What have your interests been whilst you’ve been on your career break? Have you held any volunteer positions? Perhaps you took evening classes or further study. Put all this experience into a positive light and include it on your resume. If nothing else, it shows that you’re able to multi-task the role of mother and home keeper with other interests and duties and this strengthens your position in a prospective employer’s eyes.
5. Show that you are in control of every situation by outlining your plan to manage that time off. In other words, it would be far better to say that you had initially planned to stay home with a newborn until a certain point in time, until he or she arrived at a certain age, for instance. This is so much more professional than if you were to come up with a “woolly” answer such as you were prepared to stay at home until the time was right to return to work. Once again, it shows that you are in control.
6. Do some research before you prepare to send out those resumes. How long have you been away for? Find out if anything significant has changed in a prospective employer’s business. This might be the time to catch up on your specific education, even learn a new system operating procedure. Make sure that you include this on your resume, as it will strengthen your position.
7. You don’t necessarily have to use contacts that you had before you took your career break, and you don’t have to include references only from the workplace. By keeping in contact with some of your networking contacts whilst you are away from the work environment, you will create a useful list of people who might be able to provide you with references testifying to your good character.
In our modern society, professional coaching advice from online life coaching experts can help you to focus on all that is positive in your life, so that you come up with a perfectly presentable resume.
Amanda Alexander, Director of Coaching Mums, helps mumpreneurs and work at home mums who long for more hours in the day. Through her professional coaching programmes and online coaching courses, Amanda helps mums to create successful businesses that work for them. For self-coaching tips to help you achieve more, sign up for Inspire, our free newsletter at http://www.coachingmums.com