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10 tips to successfully re-enter the workforce

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Returning to work

Many mothers who are looking to find a new hobby, fulfill a lifelong goal, generate additional income or occupy time once devoted to their children habitually search newspapers, store fronts and internet search engines for a job. For many women this notable milestone is usually marked with great trepidation. Questions such as whether or not to return to a former job or to work part-time, full-time or on weekends mar the vision and ambition of mothers wanting to reemerge in the workforce. The decision to consider returning to work often lands mothers in a precarious situation.

You're not alone if your job search includes questions such as 'how will my children tolerate the change' and 'what do I need to know before reentering the workforce'? Should you pursue a job you love, a career you've always wanted or a position that works with your schedule? Is it possible to find all three in one ideal situation or will you have to make several sacrifices to go back to work?

Know yourself

Wondering if the changing climate of the workforce has become unrecognizable to them drives many women to seriously debate how many hours they are willing to work, and what industry would be suit their needs. "It can be auspicious to know how to take that first step and determine where to begin looking for a job," says Professional Employment Recruiter Jamie Jensen of Otis Orchards, Washington.

Finding a job that fits your prerequisites will be easier if you identify some key aspects to your personality, habits and characteristics. Are you a morning person or do you prefer to set your own hours? Would you be comfortable wearing a uniform or supervising employees? Do you want to work with children, seniors, in an office or on the road? You are a different person and worker than you previously were. Make it your mission to pursue a job or career that compliments who you are today, instead of who you were in a former job.

Set your priorities

"Taking the time to understand how you want a job to impact your life will provide clarity to finding the right job," adds Jensen. Some women want to work close to home while others focus on finding employment that allows them to set their own schedule. "Many women reenter the workforce wanting opportunities for career growth or tuition reimbursement while others are looking for socialization. Ultimately women need to establish what they're looking to gain from working and pursue that goal," says Jensen.

Take time to list the priorities that will impact your job or that your job will impact. Ranking factors such as time spent from home or commuting, earnings and earnings potential and opportunity for advancement will guide you through the job search process.

Find your passion

If you love spending time with children, consider working in a day care facility or returning to school to complete a teacher certification course. If you're a slave to fashion who's shackled by a budget, consider a job in retail that offers employee discounts and company provided clothing incentives. Avid readers fit well in book stores or libraries while health and fitness enthusiasts thrive in health clubs or nutrition centers. "Whatever the passion, a woman should focus her search on industries that compliment her hobbies and interests," Jensen says.

Interview potential co-workers

Establish a network of people working in diverse fields and occupations and ask for feedback on their positions. Ask employees at your bank, salon, health club or doctor's office about what they like and dislike about their jobs. Use every experience as an opportunity to investigate possible jobs and careers you might be interested in. You might discover that your park district is looking for leaders to teach a class that compliments your favorite hobby, your church needs a day care director or your dentist is looking for an office manager.

Revising your resume

Mother of four Marie Crabb of Crystal Lake, Illinois openly shares, "After years of working as a mom, I had no idea of what else I was qualified for." Many mothers do not realize that chairing a school carnival committee, volunteering in the classroom twice a week, or teaching religious education classes are all pertinent skill building experiences that can be highlighted on a resume.

"I always encourage mothers to tap into their years of valuable experiences to enhance their resume," says Jensen. Shuffling your family's schedules, shuttling your children to a variety of activities and making dinner while practicing spelling words affords you terrific time management and organizational skills. Serving as room mother or PTO Chairperson offers terrific insight into event planning and requires excellent communication skills.

Crack open the door

If you're uncertain about charging head first into the evolving workforce, consider taking a few small, calculated steps. "I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, so I started by working at my son's school," shares Lisa Yaeger of Baldwinsville, New York. Volunteering at a few diverse organizations can help determine if you'd prefer to work in a hospital, animal shelter or school. "Eventually, I realized that I loved working with children and took a job as a teacher's aide," Yaeger proudly notes.

Follow your instincts

Listen to your inner voice when you're exploring potential job opportunities. Whether you consistently find yourself consumed with budgetary restrictions or concerned about who will take out your family pet if you're working full-time, trust in your instincts. "Women who don't listen to their intuition voice often find themselves accepting positions they're not happy with or that don't meet their lifestyle requirements," notes accomplished author Francesca McCartney, PhD

Technology beware

"Women should not be intimidated by their previous experiences or degree of software proficiency," urges Professional Life and Skills Coach Fran Collins of Job placement training centers offer skills assessments and training courses on a wide variety of office equipment and software. "Community colleges and public libraries are also options to hone your skills or acquaint yourself with the newest versions of software and office technology," Collins notes.

Beware of scams

Promises of 'getting rich quick' or earning a significant amount of money working just a few hours a week from home are sprinkled throughout classified ads and job related search engines. "The fact is that reputable companies do not make promises of getting rich quick, and women need to investigate all claims before committing to any such proposals," Jensen cautions.

Prepare your lifestyle

Before starting a new job, take time to prepare your family and pets for the change in routine. Organize closets and drawers and enlist everyone's help to develop a schedule of shared household responsibilities. You'll appreciate the support once you've landed the perfect job and your family will thrive knowing what is expected of them while you're at work.

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