Thinking Through the Return to Work

Returning to Work
Poornima Kirloskar-Saini Programme Director Women Like Us
Poornima Kirloskar-Saini
Programme Director
Women Like Us

Right now, as you read this sentence, as many as half a million women across the UK are thinking about going back to work, but simply don’t know where to begin.

Are you one of them?

“Preparing for that return is not easy” says Poornima Kirloskar-Saini, Programme Director at Women Like Us.”

There seems to be an endless stream of questions that you can’t quite answer.

‘What kind of job do I want’, ‘where can I find work to fit with family’ and ‘how do I sell myself as a candidate now?’ are the most common stumbling blocks. Sometimes, you just need a hand to help you get the process rolling.”

If you have been sitting at home, with the word ‘CV’ at the top of a blank piece of paper, unsure what direction your job search is going to take, here are some simple tips to help you get focused …

Tackling that CV

If you are really struggling to put pen to paper, forget format for the time being and get it all down in rough. Some of Women Like Us’ clients find it helpful to write a one-page life story in the first instance. Once you have the content, the structure can come later.

return to work
How to return to work? List your skills

List your skills

Once you have defined and grouped your skills, deciding what kind of job to go for will become much easier. Worried your list looks a bit thin on the ground? Then think about what you have learnt during your ‘gap’ from work.

Imagine you are being filmed going about your day. How might someone else view the tasks you do? Think how to present them so that they are relevant to the job you are applying for.

If you want a PA role, think about the last task you did that required mass organisation, e.g. when you last moved house – did you plan the move, research new locations, get removal quotes and secure the best deal? If you are looking to return to a role in human resources, as well as listing all the skills from your last job, don’t forget how your experience of looking after children involves the vital skills of negotiation and conflict resolution.

Show your potential employer you have the skills they need, however you gained them.

Talk about yourself !

To ease yourself into interview, start talking through your CV and achievements with family and friends. One of the hardest things to get used to, following a gap from work, is identifying your achievements and selling yourself.

Practice makes perfect – this will really help you to prepare for eventual interview.

Apply for fresh workplace experience

Refresher’ experience in a formal work environment will really help you to build confidence and gain a better picture of what jobs you do – and do not – want to apply for. Plus, it will give you a current project to talk about with enthusiasm on applications, and thus make your CV stand out to employers.

Get networking Tell everyone 

From your mother to the milkman – that you are looking for work, and what kind of job you are looking for. It’s amazing how many people find work simply by opening up their own personal networks.

But don’t just rely on that. Try searching on the internet for conferences and trade fairs relevant to your area of interest, start buying industry sector trade magazines, and if you feel confident enough online, join LinkedIn, the social network that allows you to search for and connect with former colleagues, and find groups specific to your work area of interest.

Women Like Us is a multi-award winning careers service that offers London parents advice and guidance to help them feel work-ready after a ‘break’.

It is part of Timewise, a business that is all about building flexible future of work. Timewise runs a jobsite for any and all jobs that are open to flexible working options.

More than 76,000 men and women are registered with the service


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