If you’ve been away from the office for a few years, it can be daunting to get back into the workforce. Many self-help books will talk about the skills you learned as a “home executive”, and this was excellent for women entering the workforce for the first time in the 70s.
However, most modern women had jobs, maybe careers, before they decided to take time off to have a family or become a caregiver. With the speed at which technology develops you may be worried that you won’t ever catch up again. Or you may worry that people will judge you.
The first thing to do is to stop worrying! The only thing that you can change is yourself, and how you react. So, let’s take a look at the things that you can do to help ensure you are prepared to re-join the workforce.
See a professional CV Writer & Interview Coach
Even if you already have a job ready to go to, talk to the professionals, and have a new CV written up. This is the starting point to remind yourself that you are skilled, that you have talents, and that you are capable!
However, it is also an excellent place to start addressing any areas where you may be lacking knowledge or experience. Hiring a professional CV writer is like having someone organize your skills and thoughts in a logical format. While you can find someone cheap to do this, what you want is a resume writer who can understand your key qualities and knows how to highlight them.
Are you a person who is flexible, or do you prefer a structured life? This could be phrased on a CV as either highly adaptable or excellent time management.
Once you are armed with a written document that spells out your skills, experience, and general background, go talk to an interview coach. Yes, even if you have a job already. Investing in your job related conversational skills will be time and money well spent. This is even more important if you are feeling overwhelmed or self-conscious about returning to work.
A job interview coach will talk with you about your experiences and skills, as well as the job you will be doing. They will then be able to help you work out your answers for common questions such as “why did you come back to work”, “do you miss staying at home”, “it must have been great not having to do anything all day”. While these aren’t interview questions, they are the type of questions that you will encounter in your day to day interactions with colleagues. You are not preparing “canned” responses, but working through your experiences and developing a way to share those experiences without coming off as standoffish, evasive, or defensive.
Now that you’re armed with your responses and you have a firm grounding of your skillset, you need to start looking at where you need to upskill or just brush up your skills a bit.
There are a lot of free resources that can help you here. One of the most popular is Linkedin Learning. It is free with a monthly subscription to Linkedin premium, but there is also have access to a free trial https://www.linkedin.com/learning.
In response to the changing job market caused by COVID-19 Microsoft has introduced its own Microsoft Learn https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/. This is currently focused on more technical aspects of using Microsoft products. However, they also have a range of training programs for Office users https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office
There is also a new initiative from Google called “Google Garage” which is training programs designed for those who want digital skills. Most of the courses are free and cover a range of topics including social media and digital marketing. However, Google has also included a variety of short training programs on “soft skill” subjects that are designed to build confidence, improve job satisfaction, and generally encourage more productive people.
Of course, a quick search for “online training” will bring up millions of results, but looking through these three first will provide a wealth of up-to-date information. If you are working in a specialized industry with proprietary software, start with the company website to update yourself on any new changes.