Alright Mumma Birds, I’m not going to sugar coat it! This returning to work thing is hard! Whether you have taken 6 months or 6 years of maternity leave the feelings you get when returning to work are big!
I’ve always been a big believer that knowledge is power. That’s probably why I clung to my mother’s group so hard! Knowing that their 2 year old was also eating crayons, made me feel that everything in my crazy world was normal too.
So, you ready? Let’s dive into it and face these emotions together.!
Yep! Fear…hello my old friend. We have all felt fear at many points in our life but becoming a mum opens you up to a whole new level of fear. I mean, my kids made me scared of things I didn’t even know I needed to be scared of! Like grapes! Seriously, who knew grapes would cause gut wrenching panic. I will most likely be chopping up grapes for my son when he is 40!
When going back to work, the list of things to be fearful of is long and it’s real.
- Fear of being rejected
- Fear of being “behind the times”
- Fear of missing your children’s milestones
- Fear of walking in heels again
I could go on but this blog is designed to put your mind at ease, not freak you out even more! You know what your fears are.
I’m here to tell you that EVERY. SINGLE. MOTHER. feels fear and that you are NOT the only mum to feel this way about returning to work.
According to a nationally representative survey (550 Australian mothers, aged between 18 and 64 years) only 32% of women would be confident to re-enter the workforce after giving birth. Think about that for a second, that 68% of mums who aren’t confident about going back to work. See, I told you that you are not alone in the way you feel and yep…you guessed it…. you are completely normal!
So, if fear is the thing that is holding you back. I suggest that you use the following hack to help yourself out.
Go and get a pen and paper (don’t laugh. I’m old school – you can use your iPad and apple pen if you really want) and start writing a list of all the things that worry you about going back to work. Then sit back and use those fabulous mum skills you learnt while on maternity leave to rationalise each of these fears.
I promise that once you see them in black and white in front of you. It will be a lot easier to tell those fear to “get lost” and move forward with the next chapter of your life.
The second part is to talk about your fears with your friends and family. Just like my mother’s group helped me understand that my children aren’t the only crayon munching kids out there. Talking to a mum that has already gone back to work can help with your feelings. You never know, they may have some excellent hacks to share with you. Don’t have anyone to talk to? Call us? Book in an obligation free chat with a Mumma Bird Consultant.
Ok, You still with me mumma? If you are, then congratulations for over-coming your fears. Now comes the fun bit! Excitement!! You start looking at the job ads or thinking about seeing your old work mates. You think about how nice it will be to have some extra money and to get out of the house and talk to adults. Hey, you might even go get those killer heels you saw through the shop window yesterday!
The excitement of possibilities is euphoric, I mean, you don’t even need coffee right now, yeah? Well, maybe just a little one.
For me going back to work was wonderful. I’ll let you in on a little secret about me. I need to be praised…like a lot. I relish in achieving budgets or getting projects in ahead of time, just so I can hear people say, “Good job Michelle”
Now don’t get me wrong, I think being a mum is the hardest job you will ever have. I mean potty training…hello! You should get an award with a crystal trophy and a $2000 check for getting through that! I’m also not saying that being a mother isn’t a reward itself, because it is. What I am saying is that I know myself well enough to know that I get a buzz from working that’s different from the buzz I get from being a mum.
Finding a job that right for you and fits in with the family is the dream, right? So, here’s your next assignment. Grab your note pad and pen again and write down your ideal job with your idea work hours. Is it part time, a school hours role or maybe its full time or a work from home job. Whatever it is, write it down. Did you know that studies have found that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals by writing them down? I’ll take those odds!
Lastly, my friends, is the feeling of being overwhelmed. There are two common problems that Mumma Bird clients face after they have made the decision to return to work. The first, not feeling that they have the skill set for the job they want; and not knowing how to write their resume.
Let’s deal with the first one together. This is a really common problem with mothers. Not feeling that you have the skills and experience for the job is a big reason mums don’t apply for jobs they are more than capable of doing.
I’m currently working on an article about computer skills because of this problem. I can’t tell you the number of my clients who tell me they can’t apply for a job because it requires computer skills. Let me assure you that you don’t need to be able to design an app to apply for a job that lists “computer skills” as a requirement. You know how I know this? It’s quite simple really…I asked. Yep, I rang the business on behalf of my client and asked them what they meant when they asked for computer skills.
This simple trick can save you hours of back and forth over whether you are skilled enough to apply for the job. Actually, I highly recommend this for every job you apply for you. Call the business and speak to the HR department or the hiring manager and ask them to tell you more about the role. If you don’t have a certain skill that you require you can ask “is having experience in xyz a necessity or are you flexible on that point”. They might say “no, we are more interested in abc skill” or they might say “absolutely, we aren’t accepting resumes without xyz experience.” Either way, you now know whether you are really qualified for the job or not. You can either apply or move on.
The second trick I want to share with you. (I know, I know… I am giving away all my trade secrets, but you have read this far so I wanted to give you a gift to say thank you).
The second trick is, if there is a skill you don’t have, then go and learn it. Let’s say that again for the cheap seats at the back! UPSKILL TO GET THE JOB YOU WANT!
I once had a client that desperately wanted to get into a medical receptionist role. She had a strong administration and secretarial background just not in the medical industry. By the time I met her she had sent her resume out with 0% call backs. Not one phone call. She was well and truly over it when I met her and ready to give up on her dream. When I looked at her resume it was clear that the problem was not having experience with medical terminology and medical programs. The fix was easy! We found a reputable online medical administration course and she was able to complete it quickly. That course went right at the top of her resume and what do you know, but the next time she applied for a job she got an interview. After a few tries, she found the right job for her and her family and she has been happily working as a medical receptionist ever since. We keep in touch and she often tells me that if it wasn’t for my simple suggestion she would have given up on her goal.
Want some help identifying skills for a job? Check out My Secret Resume Writing Weapon for a free cheat sheet.
Finally, the resume. Tidying up your resume can be a dreaded task, or if you’re like us it can be an enjoyable one. What we can assure you is, that if you are clear on what job you wish to pursue, it will be easy to update your resume.
Let’s start with the big pink elephant in the room. “What do I put on my resume, if I have been a stay at home mum for many years?”
Through all our experience working with both the employer and our resume clients, the person that believes a maternity leave gap is a problem is usually the resume client. Yep you! Most employers do not have a problem with maternity leave gap. What they are looking for is the skill set and experience. The problem that the mother usually faces is “How do I show the skills and experience if they were gained years ago” If this is something that is a concern for you then we have a resume template that may be of use to you.
Check out these Resume tips:
- A clear and concise layout
- A cluttered resume will be overlooked!
- Listen to the employer
- Read the job ad and listen to what the employer is asking for. Job ad isn’t very detailed? Pick up the phone and give them a call to find out more. You never know. It could be the edge you need.
- A punchy career summary
- One thing we know for sure is that your professional summary will get read. Use this to state who you are professionally and what type of job you want.
- Don’t overdo the ‘duties & responsibilities’ section
- Remember quality over quantity and don’t be scared to list a couple of achievements
- Volunteer work
- Just because you weren’t working doesn’t mean you weren’t developing your skills. Include volunteer or community work on your resume
- Can’t get a recent manager as a reference? Using a teacher from a recent training course or the principle from your child’s school can be a good option. Gold standard is a recent manager.
Remember, writing a resume is hard. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t have a thriving business. If you find that you need a little bit of help or even a lot. Give us a shout and we can have a chat. If you take one thing out of this blog today, let it be that you are not alone in how you feel. There are simply 100’s of thousands of mums out there who are feeling exactly the way you are. Know that we are all cheering you on and want you to succeed!
The Mumma Bird Resume tribe is a group of professional women who are mums. In 2015 Michelle was handed her little pink baby and knew instantly she wouldn’t be going back to her corporate job. Over the next few years she has grown Mumma Bird Resume Services into a business that gives her the work/life/family balance that she wanted. Along the way she has been so lucky to be joined by Rebecca and Tonya who also decided that their corporate HR roles weren’t going to work for their families. Together they help mums discover their confidence to find and achieve their work goals. Through career coaching, resume writing, interview coaching and more.
Mumma Bird Resume Services offer everything from guides and templates for mums that need a little help to VIP career packages for mums that want the full experience. Most importantly Mumma Bird Resume’s services affordable and we work around times that suit busy mums.
Want to know more, book an obligation free chat with us today (hurry and you might get one of the 7:30pm slots. Or as we like to call it the “the kids are in bed, let’s talk about your career while having a wine” slot.)
Well, that’s a wrap my friends. Thank you so much for taking this emotional ride with me!
Until next time!
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