Return to Work Strategies

There are two different types of mothers who turn their thoughts to work after having precious time at home with the new addition to the family;

The mothers who can’t wait for the social interaction and intellectual stimulation work provides, and the mothers who are obliged to return to work to maintain career status, contribute to the family finances, and because they feel they ‘have to’.

Welcome to the world of wanting quality time to raise your child and the independence of having your own career, but feeling guilty wanting both- this feeling may prevail for years.

Circumstances play a big part in a return to the workforce being eagerly anticipated or approached with caution and anxiety. Perhaps you have left a job or career that you would be happier without? Perhaps you need to re-enter the workforce in a completely new role? Whatever circumstances surround you there are some key strategies which you can implement to ensure that your foray into the new role of ”working Mum” is a smooth transition.

Here are some key points which can help you gather confidence and be prepared to “sell yourself” again to the labour market/workplace:

Returning to an existing position/employer:

Hopefully you have left your last role on good terms and have remained in contact with your boss or colleagues who have “filled you in” on what is currently going on at work. Perhaps you have been working part-time on projects at home during maternity leave? If so, be very clear about your intentions to return to work so that your employer and colleagues are aware and can anticipate your return. Make sure that you have captured these conversations on email or via an official letter from the Human Resources department or your boss.

Applying for a new position:

If you are applying for new positions become engaged in job search activities well before your chosen time to re-enter the workforce.

Undertake a Skills Audit – this is a comprehensive listing of technical skills, personal attributes and knowledge that you may possess which can be used to extract information to update your Resume.

Complete a Work Values Audit – this is a tool which lists a diverse range of values based on the work you do. For example, working in collaborative teams or working autonomously may appeal to some people and not others. This will become very important when applying for jobs in a new industry – you need to ensure that you will be performing work that you enjoy and in the right environment.

Update your Resume and don’t be afraid to list maternity leave and the relevant dates. Modern organisations and workplaces realise that people have lives and family outside work. If you think this doesn’t apply to an organisation you have approached perhaps they may not be the right employer for you anyway.

Educate yourself about the labour market- read, and research! Read the employment pages in the national newspapers and have a look at job ads, even if the jobs are not available in your local area. Do loads of Google searches on the job websites such as seek.com.au and MyCareer. Start to research jobs that you might aspire to do and learn what the selection criteria for positions might be.

Investigate what short courses are available – these may be the bridge you need to cross before launching into a new career

Join as many social media professional groups you can think of – Linked In being the main source of information – many groups have job boards you could access.

Keep up to date with the local economy- be savvy about growth industries and new businesses. You may be a step ahead of other jobseekers and could just land a job via word of mouth!

Keep an open mind to developing your own business- there are loads of Mums out there who have been successful in identifying a need for a service or product and making a viable business from their ideas or passions!!

Most importantly – ”Dont wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it!!”