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Finding a job after taking parental leave seems very daunting, regardless of how much experience you have under your belt. Coming back to work and a new way of managing the work/life balance is challenging at best, so it’s important you take the right steps to ease into this new stage of your career as a new parent.
We’ve rounded up some of the best tips we’ve seen from our readers and advice from working professionals on what worked best for them. Hopefully, armed with this info you’ll be able to make the right decisions when finding a job after parental leave.
One of the most challenging things about finding a job after parental leave is finding the right role that will be what you want for your career progression, as well as satisfying your family unit and new way of working.
Ease back into the working world with part-time hours at first. This helps you get comfortable with working again – and your child can adapt to going to school or your childcare arrangements. A freelance role often works well for flexible hours – or consider volunteering to rebuild your confidence, too.
Many job sites offer part-time or freelance roles as part of their listings:
Just make sure you tick the ‘part-time’, ‘freelancer’, ‘remote’ or ‘volunteer’ options when combing through the endless page of listings available. You’ll find a role that will suit your career goals, your family situation and help you make money – the magic triangle!
This is a key priority for any parent returning to work after parental leave. Making sure you have the right support at home to make sure your child(ren) are being looked after gives you more freedom to settle into your new role.
Organising a sitter or nanny for a few days a week, up to a full-time carer or in-house help is completely up to you. Other parents wait until their children can attend day care, nursery or school, which means they can go back to working regular hours. Having someone who can look after your child in emergencies, or during your working hours if they aren’t of school age, helps everyone get into a routine. That’s essential for a settled child and happy parents!
It’s vital you make room for this expense in your monthly or quarterly budgets. Having reliable and secure child-care is expensive. However, as one of the hottest jobs around this summer, there’s going to be plenty of providers to choose from. Make sure you can afford to pay a decent rate and ask those in your neighbourhood, town and local area for their average prices to manage your expectations.
Parenting is a full-time job in itself. Use these skills on your CV! What you learn as a parent is transferable to almost any paid position. Your patience, organisational skills, time management, budgeting, people skills, problem-solving and ability to think on your feet are not skills to be played down or doubted. If you think these are ‘soft’ skills compared to the more practical or field-specific skills, you need to change your mindset!
Finding a job after parental leave is all about presenting your capabilities with confidence and trusting that you’re able to do the job well. All of these skills are incredibly useful and a smart employer grabs onto these bonuses and welcomes them.
The fear of returning to work after parental leave is how to explain that mysterious gap of time in your CV, and essentially feeling you have to justify the fact you took time off to start your own family. Many stories have circulated over the years within HR that show how disapproving or judgemental future employers can be.
Ultimately, don’t be scared to address the gap on your CV as time for family. Many people take breaks from their career during their lives and this is completely normal to experience. Employers appreciate taking time off to care for your family shows lots of positive attributes, like empathy, so play to these strengths on your applications.
Coming back to work is no mean feat, so we would encourage you to put your best self forward and own it proudly. Plus, you now have new examples of all these transferable skills we mentioned to show for it!
As with any job hunt, using your existing connections within your network is a good move when finding a job after parental leave.
Asking your connections to find those looking for freelance or part-time work might be the best place to start. If they know of any vacancies in particular fields or if they know any connections at businesses you have built up in your list of ideal companies to work for.
It’s also a good idea to create a LinkedIn post for these connections to share, that shows your availability, previous work experience, the new role you’re looking for and when you’re available to start. This makes it easier for more people to know the headlines about you and your situation straight away, and will also give you a good template and practise for the next step, outreach emails.
Job searching after parental leave isn’t easy, but with these steps in place we hope that the search becomes that little bit easier.
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