Some parents decide to put their careers on hold after the birth of children. They stay at home for one, two or even five years to take care of the children. How to return to the labor market afterwards?
It's a fact: returning to work after maternity or parental leave is difficult. So doing it after a long break is even more complicated. This is less common than it used to be, but thousands of moms and dads are making this choice, for all sorts of reasons.
Hard, hard, back to reality
"I have absolutely no regrets, I am even proud and happy to have had the chance to do this for my children", says Émilie who, in 2006, left her job in communications to take care of her first son, William. Since then, the family has grown, and this year, the youngest, Ella, will start school. “I'm starting to think about going back to work, explains Émilie, and it really stresses me out. »
Why? On the one hand, Émilie feels completely overwhelmed. She graduated from college in 2000, and the world of work has changed a lot since she left. Shebelieves among other things that she will have a hard time justifying such a big hole in her CV. “Maybe I should have tried to stay more active,” she comments. Getting involved, showing that even though I wasn't working full-time, I still managed to stay informed… But being at home with children is already a full-time job! »
Is Emily right to worry? A little. It is true that it is difficult to explain such a major work stoppage and many employers will automatically discredit you, as if you did not have the slightest experience. Someone re-entering the workforce after such a long hiatus can therefore expect to send out a lot of CVs, but not receive as many calls – which, we hear, can be particularly discouraging.
A few tips
From the outset, people who wish to re-enter the labor market after a long absence are advised to carry out a self-assessment. This will allow you to define your career objective, which will also color your research, thereafter. Base yourself on your past experiences: what did you like in your previous jobs, your successes, your failures. Also take an honest inventory of your abilities, your values, your personality.
All this will help you target the field and establish a strategy for returning to the labor market and finding employment.
- Get ready, exploring, for example, several monthsin advance, job opportunities. This will help you take the pulse of the market and define your requirements. You will then be able to analyze the state of your field: is there a great demand, or on the contrary, a shortage of jobs at the moment?
- Go back to school?Why not! By studying the labor market, you will be able to see which are the best opportunities and choose the right training, which can promote rapid hiring.
- Give yourself some time. Indeed, you may feel a little rusty when you start your new job. It's normal. You have to give yourself time, even if it means starting over gradually.
- Volunteeringcould, in particular, greatly facilitate your return to work. Plus, it always looks good, on a resume!
- Think about your resumeand build it to showcase all of your skills. For example, being a stay-at-home mom also requires a good sense of organization. Do you sell! And don't be afraid to justify the hole in your CV. You could, for example, talk about your parental leave in your cover letter. If you omit to mention it, the employer could be tempted to make his own interpretation and this could unfortunately be to your disadvantage. Experts strongly advise ditching the traditional, chronological resume. Instead, brag about your skills and abilities.
- We don't accept just anything. It's not because you were absent from thelabor market for a certain period of time that you have to say yes to a job that does not appeal to you. The transition between home and work could be even more painful and your self-confidence will be disturbed at the same time.
And family life?
Of course, returning to the job market after a few years at home requires its share of reorganization, especially when you have children. This is why it is so important to plan everything several months in advance, in order to adjust.
Unsurprisingly, the spouse will have to contribute more to household chores. It's normal: any new habit requires time to adapt. You will therefore benefit from investing in a work routine even before having found a job. For example, when you get up, adopt a morning routine. Then, when the children are at school, invest a few hours in contacting employers, going through job offers, reading about the job market and your field, working on your CV.
Anyway, the key is to be prepared to anticipate the change of pace… and to let go. The house may not be as tidy, the meals may not be as varied (at least at first), the children may be at daycare a little longer, or things may not be not exactly do as before! With any change comes an element of small grief. Stay open.
Émilie has decided to returngradually on the school benches. "I'm starting with two classes, and we'll see later," she confided to us, a little anxious, but above all excited at the idea of realizing herself professionally again.