With the school holidays in full swing and the general feeling that the whole world is slowing down, you may be tempted to postpone your plans to return to work until the autumn. However, away from the hectic pace and demands of the year, this is an ideal time to think about what you really want from a career and to start shaping an action plan for the months ahead. By taking a few simple steps now, you will feel more focused, confident and motivated about gearing up in September:
1. Identify your ideal role
A good starting point is to think about a work role in the past that you enjoyed and then focus on the elements that made it fulfilling. This exercise will help you to highlight your key skills and values and give you the direction you need to scope your job search. You may find that you look for a role in your previous field, or explore the option of starting your own business, or consider a role that combines aspects of your old job, but in a different sector, or you may even think about retraining. Either way, the process will clarify your thinking and give you the confidence and motivation to pursue that new role.
See our posts: What’s your USC? (unique strength combination)
2. Planning for courses, workshops or events
Whatever your career stage or length of your career break, everyone can benefit from sharpening their work skills. This is a good time to investigate which courses could best fill your needs. By doing a little research now, you will not only be on your way to plugging a skill gap, but you will also feel more in control.
Feeling a little overwhelmed at the prospect of researching a return-to-work strategy? Put our Women Returners Annual Conference in your diary for November. It’s an intensive one-stop-shop for finding out about returner opportunities, meeting returner-friendly employers, attending workshops and being inspired by the success stories of other returners.
3. Create a Network Map
You may be well aware of the benefits of networking – but uncertain where to start. Begin by listing people that you have met through the different phases in your life into three categories: Those from your past academic and work life, people from your current social circles such as volunteer groups, neighbours, parents or fellow sport enthusiasts – and also people who you are yet to meet – through groups and networks. You will be surprised how quickly the list grows and how receptive people are to meeting up after a summer break.
See our post: Five ways to build your back-to-work network
4. Craft your story
Away from the everyday, holidays are often a time when we meet new people in relaxing surroundings. Use the opportunity to practise answering the often daunting but frequently asked question: “What do you do?” Include your previous work, what you are currently doing and what you would like to do in the future.
See our post: Telling your story
5. Prepare your family
Looking for a new position requires time and focus, let alone the actual return to work. Use the summer break to plan how you can free up your time – perhaps by introducing new childcare arrangements, booking after school clubs or reassigning responsibilities among family members.
See our post: How to make time for your return to work job search
Posted by Anna Searle, Sales and Marketing Manager, Women Returners