Updated: Jul 31, 2020
Going back to work after divorce can be excited, terrifying, liberating and possibly necessary for you. Here is a break down of what to expect and what you need to do to get ready to get back out there into the working world.
Many of us had the opportunity to stay home with our kids and be a mom. If this is you - that's great! What a wonderful opportunity to focus on family, friendships and your home! Sometimes this chapter comes to a screeching halt as the financial realities of divorce hit home. In many cases, you may not be receiving enough alimony or child support to continue to be a stay at home mom, or may not be receiving any at all. If you have been out of the work force for a few years, or even longer, you can still find income or work! It will involve some lifestyle shifts and a change in perspective, but you can do this and the benefits that come with being financially independent, informed and sound are huge.
Many women find that they love the social and mental challenge of returning to work. It can feel really good to know that you still have your mojo, are respected and valued outside of your home and can generate your own income - very empowering!
But where to start?
Below I've laid out some guidelines on how to get started and what you will need to prepare to return back to the working work - however that looks.
1. Get a resume together.
Yes, Word or Pages still works on your computer, even if you haven't used it in years! Put in any work experience prior to becoming a mom, any part time positions or contract/project work you have done and be sure to include any volunteer work you have done as a mom. This could be volunteering for your child's school, chairing a charity event, helping a sick relative, all of that is real experience that can be added to a resume. After you have done this - have a friend or two review and give you feedback. They may think of things that you have forgotten which recruiters and companies would want to see.
2. Update your Linked In profile.
Recruiters and businesses will go here to check you out first. Make sure your profile is updated. This means having a picture, your year to date experience even if it's volunteer work, your goals and interests. Also get connected - use the suggested connections and start getting connected with people and recruiters with industries and companies that you are interested in. This shows that you are active and relevant to recruiters that are looking at you. Ask previous employers to write a recommendation for you. Get connected to people from old jobs. This is not Facebook or Instagram. You don't need to personally know every connection. This is networking - a little different. Use this as a tool and work a little bit on this every day.
3. Start Talking to People.
Let your network of friends and family know that you are looking for opportunities and want to go back to work. Your tribe knows you best and may have ideas for you! Talk through some of your dreams and goals and get feedback. Ask what they think you are good at. Think about what they constantly come to you for advice on. These are all clues as to which direction to go. You may consider going back to something you've done before, or maybe try something totally new. Give this some real thought!
Ask your network who they know who might be hiring. Get the word out and be open to conversations. Most jobs come through referrals, NOT through internet postings. I only got one job from an internet posting, all of the rest came through referrals. People who know you, will get you the interview.
Start talking to people. Go on interviews. Even if it's a job you don't want. Each conversation is a step closer to a job or your next opportunity. It might be coffee with someone in the field you used to work in. This may even make you realize you don't want to go back to that! Or you might meet with someone in a totally different role that you want, but there is a position coming up that could be a fit. Don't discount anything, don't jump to conclusions, but let yourself be totally wide open to any and all possibilities and see where those conversations take you.
5. Think about what you want to do.
Now is the time to reflect a little, research what's out there and think about where you want to work or what exactly you would like to do. There may be certain realities to consider. If you need income immediately, going back to school to get an additional degree may not be a reality at the moment. It doesn't mean you can't make that as part of your overall plan, but you will need to focus on finding a job with income that can support your family now. There are lots of online personality tests you can take to figure out what you are good at and what jobs would be suit you. Maybe you have a little cash and this is the time to consider starting your own business that you are passionate about. Do research, find out as much as you can. Search job postings to get an idea of what positions are out there, and the companies in your area. Have an open mind. There are lots of ways to work and make income. think creatively and be open to ideas and opportunities, but research and educate yourself.
6. Take a class.
If you aren't sure at the moment, or need a confidence builder, it may be a good idea to take a class. This gets you up to date with technology or your field and will give you more confidence in the skills that you are looking to obtain. There are SO many online classes available including: Udemy or Skillshare, at super reasonable prices - all available from the convenience of home! But it can also be empowering to get into a classroom and interact with other people that are out there learning and developing, so check your local University or Community College as well.
7. Pursue your Dream Business.
This is a chance to do what you love. If you are lucky enough to have a financial cushion, take this time to really analyze what makes your soul sing. Get inspired: listen to podcasts, read some books. One of my favorites is Goal Digger. Jenna Kutcher is so incredibly good at teasing out what your gifts are and filling you up with the confidence on how to you can turn your passion and gifts into a business. On top of it, she has TONS of tools to help get you there. Love her.
You can do this.
It may feel overwhelming or impossible, but you CAN do this! It doesn't matter if it's been 3 years or 20 years, there is a job, work or business opportunity for you out there. You may not feel confident and might be intimidated by the way the world has changed since you were last in the work force. Don't let this stop you! Is is easier than ever to improve your skills by taking classes and to network and meet people who can help you on your journey. Your skills and work values are needed and will be appreciated by many. Start taking the steps to get yourself out there and finding what you really want to do. This is just the beginning!
Next we we will look at some actions to take to prepare for an interview, start your own business, get the most out of an online course, how to balance work and kids - the works!