One of the impacts of divorce, and your changing circumstances, is that you might find yourself having to return to the workplace after several years at home raising your children, increasing your hours, or even changing careers. There’s no doubt this can be a daunting prospect.
Many women who find themselves in this position feel they simply do not have any skills to offer an employer. Most worry they wouldn’t know how to operate the latest IT system or in fact any other systems, let alone how to compete with younger applicants for jobs.
Let’s put a different spin on all these concerns:
1. I haven’t worked for years . . .
Everyone has skills, gifts and attributes. Every single person. Even if you haven’t had a job for a long time, you will have organisational skills, passions and interests that can all be harnessed and all of which will be of interest to someone. It’s like dating; you just need to find the right match! Contacting a careers coach can be really beneficial at this point, to help you tease out all of these and to package them to a potential employer
2. So much has changed since I last worked . . .
In reality not much has changed over the years, apart from the IT and systems. Increase your capability and confidence by taking some of the many courses you can find online or in person to bring yourself up to speed before you start going to interviews. Think of this as an investment in yourself for your future.
3. I would never get an interview as I’m competing with so many people . . .
You have unique skills and experience to offer an employer and it’s about matching those skills to the right role. Many employers are as concerned about whether you would be a good fit for the culture of their organisation and be willing to train you for the role if you don’t have all the experience required.
4. I don’t have a CV . . .
If you haven’t worked for a number of years, you probably don’t have an up-to-date CV. That’s ok. Take some time to map out your career from when you left education, including all your roles and your responsibilities and achievements for each of them. Once that’s down on paper it’s remarkable what realisations you can have. Everything you’ve done is relevant, but you can’t always see it.
5. I suffer with social anxiety, particularly after Covid . . .
That’s completely understandable but start by taking small steps. Nobody can ask you to become the CEO of Marks & Spencer when all you have done outside of your family work is some volunteering at Cancer Research. Be realistic. Think about volunteering initially to build up your experience. The volunteering part takes the pressure off, and it gives you a starting point to entering the workplace and interacting with people again.
Practice your “personal pitch” and gradually get into situations where you can practice it until it becomes natural.
Returning to work after a period of absence is a process; it can be empowering and the start of a new chapter in your life.
But it does take time.
There will be rejections - but focus on the learnings from them instead of letting them knock your confidence. Once you find that perfect role, you’ll grow in confidence and skills, meet new people, and start earning money again.
Working with a Careers Coach is an investment you might want to consider if you are returning to the workplace after a long period of absence. They can help you prepare your CV, focus on which roles to apply for and help you with interview practice.
This blog has been written by Claire Deacon who is a Careers Coach. If you want to find out more about how she might be able to support you, please contact her here: www.clairedeaconcoaching.co.uk