Many mums make the decision to become stay-at-home parents after having children, but down the line you may feel the desire to return to the world of work.
Maybe you've been out of the workforce for a few months, or maybe it's been years - regardless of the time, it can be a bit overwhelming starting the job application process again.
Getting back into the working world doesn't have to be difficult, though. Here are a few tips to get you started...
1. Know why you want to start working again
If employers see a gap on your CV, one of their first questions is doubtless going to be about your reasons for starting work again. Even if the main reason is simply a need for more money, try to prepare an answer for this question that does not focus on finances. Knowing what excites you about getting back to work will benefit both you and your future employer. You may wish to develop new skills, to interact with new people or to build on past experience - make your reasons part of your motivation while job-hunting.
2. Update your experience
The job market can be extremely dynamic and if you have been out of the workforce for a while, you may find that your skills are outdated or not worth what they used to be, especially when it comes to technology. Before or during your job hunt, focus on updating your skill set by volunteering or taking specific classes. This kind of dedication shows employers that you are willing to work hard to earn a place in their company.
Having the right contacts or a foot in the door can be hugely beneficial if you have been out of the workforce for a while. Chat to other working parents or friends to discover where opportunities may lie. Even getting the word out there that you are looking for a new job could be enough to set the ball rolling.
4. Optimise your CV and cover letter
If you have a large experience gap over the last number of years, consider organising your CV differently, for example by placing the most significant experience first rather than your most recent role. Tailor your CV and cover letter to each job you apply for and don't be afraid to include voluntary experience - if the role calls for communication skills for example, things like heading up your school's PTA meetings show that you have confidence speaking publicly and leading others. Don't disregard experience simply because you're worried it doesn't seem "professional" enough - everything counts.
5. Practise your interview skills
Interviews are intimidating enough without getting stuck on a question you were unprepared for or stumbling over your words. If you do have an interview coming up, ask family or friends to sit down and run through some questions with you. You can even do it alone in front of the mirror if you prefer, whatever makes you more comfortable. The more familiar you get with potential questions and answers, the more relaxed you will feel on the day.