An HR shares career advice for women looking to re-enter the workforce, from upskilling to networking to interview tips
“Just because you slowed down, doesn’t mean you’ve stopped.” –@OH_SoGraceful
In this day and age, many women choose to take a career break for during or after pregnancy. Here in Singapore it could be due to lack of support at home, or perhaps they arrive as a trailing spouse to a new place. Plenty of new moms go back to work and do all they can to balance both family and work, but may ultimately decide that they want to spend the early years with their baby at home.
But when the kids get older (or being a SAHM doesn’t suit the family) and mama decides she wants to re-enter the workforce, she may face an uphill climb.
Scroll through for my tips on how to strategically plan your move back into the workforce and put your best foot forward on the competitive job market!
Lead image via Unsplash
Once you think you are ready to start your job search, prepare a list of priorities that need to be sorted at home and the timings that you can dedicate to explore the market. Do a “practice run” by stepping out for the day and make yourself feel comfortable with the idea of leaving your child/children at home (if applicable).
Just remember: we are all figuring it out as we go!
Start going out to social events and register for meet-ups. Singapore is a very diverse nation and there are many companies with special programs and flexible working options, along with numerous networking events for all kinds of professionals — many of which are open to dependant pass holders.
Scour LinkedIn for industry-specific networking talks and events; reach out to your school alumni network, if applicable; research international networking events (eg ANZA or the American Association), which are often open to all nationalities; and scope out mama-friendly job boards like Hopscotch or [email protected].
Read more: Guide to Co-Working Spaces in Singapore
If you have made the conscious choice to take a career break, remember you will want to get back as well someday.Use the gap to “upskill” with an online / distance education course or certification. This shows that you are serious in your approach to work and willing to take out time to balance yourself.
Personally this has worked for me; when we moved from Sydney to Singapore I took a conscious break to give time to my pregnancy and our boy for 2 years. In the meantime I decided to change my career trajectory from a Telecom Engineer to a HR Professional. I took up a distance learning course and earned an MBA in Human Resources, which helped me carve an entirely new path in my career as an HR today.
Read more: All about Upskilling, and where to do it
Do your research! Whether preparing for a networking event or an interview, know that some companies are not too stuck on functional experience but would prefer to hear the way you will adapt to the current market trends.
If you’re in an interview setting, try little things like taking notes, writing down the specifics of the job. It’s a good indicator that you are truly interested to know more and are motivated to get the job.
Image via Pexels
If you succeed in securing an interview (yay!), be precise in your career snapshot,the reason that you had a break and what are you looking as a short term goal.
Answers that are quoted with examples or factual data sound more realistic than a rehearsed one. Be sure to come prepared with some questions ready to show you have thoroughly researched the company and the market.
Whether you’re sending a cover letter or preparing for an interview, as a stay-at-home mom an important component of success for re-entry is to be self-assured and honest about your reason for a career gap, along with explaining and why today you would like to get back in. Don’t hide it, explain it!
As an HR I see numerous women shy away from this topic. Taking a break for whatever reason was your choice and owning that decision will give you utmost integrity. Employers understand that!
Always look presentable for a job interview or a networking event.This in no manner means that you are being judged on your looks or fashion sense, but shows you are a powerful mama who has it together and is also very professional. The fact that we look confident inside out is a glorious way to show we mean business.
Image via Pexels
Project confidence in your career decision to stay home with your children. Confidence is your very strong asset here. The key to successful interviewing is to hold your head high and not show a hint of regret or guilt. You got this, mama!
A fellow working mama told me,
“I was talking to a group of women recently about our career paths and each one of them mentioned we have been lucky at one point or another in our jobs. Then we finally stopped ourselves and said ‘No,We have been risk takers. And as a result of that we put ourselves in the right places at the right times.’”
Let’s all try and worry less about fitting into glass slippers and go on to shatter the glass ceiling!