Returning To The Workforce After Divorce
A year ago, we found ourselves in need of a real estate agent, and we had the opportunity to meet an absolutely fantastic and inspiring woman we are proud to call a friend (and to whom we owe some time to catch up now that we think about it).
When we first met Deb, we asked her what she liked about being in real estate. And her answer was immediate. She described how the job gave her the ability to be there for people, often in challenging times. She said on a weekly basis she sat down with couples in the midst of major life changes, like children leaving home and families divorcing . . . situations they might not yet feel comfortable sharing with their friends and family just yet. And they opened up to her and asked her for help. She spent a lot of her time with wives processing divorce, and the sudden need to reshape their lives and re-enter the workforce after stepping away for family.
What a whirlwind of life changes! And what Deb and we most often see is a lack of confidence in women who find themselves re-entering the workforce as a product of divorce. What we virtually never see is a lack of skills or experience. And there’s the very crux of the disconnect. That you’ve made it to this very point in your life means you’ve gained so much experience and skill, much of which can translate back into your career. But as the chaos swirls, and you learn to adapt, your sense of self and your abilities can get lost in the shuffle.
How to Return to the Workforce
As you begin to jump into your job search, here are a few tips we’d like to offer to get you started.
- Take some time. That time can be an hour, a day or a week or two, whatever. Simply take some time to think about who you are and what you’d like to be. This can be especially challenging for women, who tend to focus on others rather than truly on self. It helps to make a few tangible lists. What are your skills, values and strengths? There are resources online to help, and if you struggle to assess yourself fairly, ask trusted friends or family to make a list, too, and compare it to yours.
Once you begin to get comfortable with your skills values and strengths, you can do two very important things with them:
- Develop clear and memorable ways to communicate who you are and what you have to offer. Yes, this is personal branding! And that’s not a bad term!! It’s a way to clearly express your potential in a way hiring managers need to hear it. It’s also about building language that clearly translates the experience you’ve gained while you were away from the work place- often called transferable skills.
- Use the things you’ve learned about you to clearly list out your “must haves” and “deal breakers.” Then, when opportunities come your way, you can start to assess them objectively. Do you need a job that allows you to work from home? Do you need a position that has a supportive team environment because you thrive on teamwork?
- Once you’ve gotten the above squared away and you’re getting comfortable talking about yourself and who you are, stop, take a breath and celebrate! Taking the time to learn who you are and how to express what you have to offer is a huge achievement, and can also be cathartic. Acknowledge all the effort you put in, even in a small way!
Once these steps are in place you’re ready to formally begin your job search, and everything that goes with it. Building resumes, social network profiles, interview skills and the rest will begin to fit together like a key that unlocks the door to your future. You’re on the road to a new adventure, and we’re here with you. You’ve got this!! And we’ve got your back!