4 Ways to Get Hired When Returning to Work
Entering the world of work after a prolonged absence can often be as daunting – more so even – than entering it for the first time. There are not only the functional aspects of the job at hand to contend with, but the office politics, the interpersonal relationships, and the unspoken rules of making the working environment run as smoothly as possible. Luckily, the double-edged sword of technology means that there are more ways than ever that we can try to stand out from the crowd when it comes to acquiring that dream job.
But what can job-seeking mums do to be proactive in their entry back into the workforce, especially for careers that might have moved on during the time taken off for maternity leave? From showing tech prowess to industry expertise, showing a dedication to your hobbies and learning some transferable skills, there are a multitude of ways in which you can stay ahead of the game and prove to hiring managers that you have what it takes.
Be Tech Savvy
Most jobs that require some kind of skill also require some kind of knowledge of technology. No job will mark a prospective employee down for being a whizz on Adobe Creative Cloud or mastering Microsoft Publisher. Indeed, desirable skills include the Microsoft Office package, so wising up on your knowledge of Excel and the functionalities of Word can be crucial to showing you have the digital savvy necessary for the job. Even something as simple as understanding how to work the basics, such as how to rotate a PDF, can show a technical prowess that helps you stand out from the crowd. There are dozens of ways online, which a tech savvy person will know how to find. Solving everyday tech annoyances such as being able to rotate a PDF without a Creative Cloud membership and with knowledge of other sources online is also thought highly of and can really add extra value to what you're offering. HR managers might not think an understanding of social media tools would benefit them, but every string to your bow shows an immersion in a particular industry or sector and can make you seem like a better overall potential employee.
You may have some free time to spend out of work, but it doesn’t mean that your brain should be left ticking over until you have spreadsheets and KPIs to deal with again. Taking a short course or just teaching yourself something could show a transferable skill that also indicates that you prefer to keep busy. Languages are one of the key transferable skills that hiring managers enjoy seeing on CVs and can also open avenues for you going forward. While taking a course is useful for the immersive nature of such a class, there are still a myriad of online methods to teach yourself languages, including Duolingo, which is one of the most popular methods.
One of the most common CV mistakes is making yourself seem too corporate instead of a positive addition to the workforce. Part of almost all jobs is interacting with others and having only work commitments on your CV leaves questions about what you might be like as a person to work with. Ensuring that you mention hobbies to make you seem more well-rounded is crucial, and there are several schools of thought on what these hobbies should look like. Some suggest that you should opt for active hobbies, which usually result in some experience in staying calm under pressure. Others suggest following the Google school of thought where anything that makes you seem more quirky or interesting works best. Others suggest something that is time-consuming such as a theatre group or DIY projects, which show perseverance and determination. Anything public speaking related is also a positive hobby to list on a CV. Think about what your hobbies say about you, and highlight the ones that make you look more skilled.
Staying involved may seem obvious for some sectors such as digital marketing or fashion, but other sectors might be more difficult to keep track of if you're not immersed in the industry daily. Show that you have kept abreast of the latest changes and best practices in the field you work in. Trade journals and online information can be a lifesaver that keeps you on the periphery of sectors that value expertise and ingrained knowledge. Proving that you have retained this knowledge and kept in touch with the industry will be looked upon favourably by employers and will show your dedication to the job you are applying for.
Being able to come to a job interview after some time off and show that you kept busy and active in your downtime could be key to making the next step in your career. Proving that you have the correct technical skills that employers like to see, showing that you have other transferable skills and hobbies in your free time, and showing a commitment to the industry are all ways to make your return to work run a lot more smoothly. These small changes can be enacted over a prolonged period of time in order to pay dividends for your career.
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