Returning to work after maternity leave or a period at home raising family is a daunting prospect for many Mums.
For this reason and to support your return to work journey we have compiled the following 5 top tips:
1. Work Out The Why
Be clear on why you want to return to work and on the type of position and working arrangement you hope to return to. If you are confident and comfortable with your decisions and able to align your choices with what motivates you, your interests and your values, the transition will be smoother and your return to work more likely to be a successful one.
2. Have a Strong Resume
It is a strong resume that will see you shortlisted and invited to interview – nothing else. Never underestimate the importance of a good resume and invest some time to ensure you are commencing the job search process with a document that is working for you rather than against you. In a competitive market, you simply cannot afford to get it wrong. Update it, rework it and tailor it to suit the position you are applying for. Always account for your time spent outside of the paid workforce, as unexplained gaps in your resume are often a “red flag” for the reader. If you need help ask a friend or colleague to read over it or pay a credible resume writer to do the work for you.
3. Broaden The Job Search
Do not solely rely on online job boards to search for work as you will literally find yourself competing against hundreds of other jobseekers. Use your own network, approach businesses or companies that appeal to you directly or register with a recruitment agency. If you do not yet have a LinkedIn profile, get one. Employers and Recruiters use LinkedIn extensively to source and approach prospective staff, so if you are not online, they cannot find you, nor contact you with that perfect job opportunity. Best of all, it is free.
We suggest you start your preparations at least 6 months ahead of the time you intend to return to work. Exploring childcare options as early on as possible and transitioning your family prior to starting your new role will ensure all are comfortable and happy with the new arrangements, reducing any separation anxiety or feelings of guilt. If managing the household rests with you, look at ways you can outsource some of your responsibilities or draw up a roster and delegate some of these daily tasks to your partner or family members. The last thing you need is chaos breaking out on the domestic front when you return to work.
5. Consider Flexible Working Arrangements
In November 2014 The Workplace Gender Equality Agency announced an inaugural list of leading organisations recognized as employers of choice for women through a range of employment initiatives. Many implore flexible working policies and arrangements to support working mums. This list can be viewed at www.wgea.gov.au. Additionally, if you are returning to your employer post maternity leave you can now request the right to return to your role in a flexible or part-time capacity under the Fair Work Act 2009 (www.fairwork.gov.au). Flexible working can be many things; commencing part-time to transition to full-time hours over time, accessing annual leave to work shorter hours, job-sharing, working from home or telecommuting, working compressed or even reduced hours such as during school hours only. Whatever the case and whatever your preferences, be confident in your communication, be prepared to negotiate and don’t be afraid to ask.