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Returners’ A-Z: Deciding on a New Career

Returning to work after taking time off to raise your children is a significant life transition, and it often comes with the desire for a fresh start or a change in career direction. Whether you’ve been out of the workforce for a few months or several years, deciding on a new career can be both exciting and scary. In this blog, we’ll explore the steps and considerations to help you make an informed decision about changing your career as a parent returning to work.

1. Self-Assessment:

Before jumping into a new career, it’s crucial to reflect on your priorities, skills, interests, and values. Consider what you enjoyed about your previous roles, as well as what you’d like to change in your next career. Consider completing Module 1 of The Returners’ Tribe or, if you are pushed for time, ask yourself:

  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?

  • What skills have I developed during my time as a parent?

  • What are my passions and interests?

  • What work values are most important to me (e.g., work-life balance, salary, job security)?

You may find that after doing this, you may decide to go back to your old career, which is absolutely fine. This is about checking and re-checking so you can be sure that, whichever direction your choose to go, it is the right one for you.

silhouette of a sign post in front of a dawn sky

2. Research and Explore:

Once you have a better understanding of yourself, start researching potential career options. Look into industries or roles that align with your skills and interests.

Here are some steps to follow:

  • Utilise online resources, such as career websites and LinkedIn, to learn about different professions and industries.

  • Speak to your Returners’ Tribe coach to discuss options, ideas and gain useful insights.

  • See if anyone in your network, personal or professional, has experience in your desired area and organise a time to speak to them.

3. Assess Transferable Skills:

As both a parent and a professional (and maybe through your hobbies and interests), you will have gained many transferable skills that are valuable in various careers, such as the ability to prioritise, problem-solving, communication, and adaptability. Make a list of these skills and think about how they can be applied to your new career path.

4. Additional Education or Training:

Depending on your chosen career, you may need to update your qualifications or acquire new ones. Look into relevant courses, certifications, or degree programs that can help you transition smoothly into your desired field. Consider both traditional and online learning options that can accommodate your schedule.

Don’t forget that as a Tribe member, you have access to over 30 fully funded nationally recognised qualifications that may help you take those first few steps on your new career path.

5. Networking:

Networking is crucial when changing careers. Connect with professionals in your target industry through social media, attend industry-related events, and join relevant networking groups. Networking can open doors to job opportunities and provide valuable insights into your chosen field.

neon sign on a geometic inspired wall

6. Set Realistic Goals:

It’s essential to set achievable short-term and long-term career goals. Understand that a career change may not happen overnight, and there may be steps along the way, such as starting in an entry-level position or internship. Be patient with yourself and stay focused on your objectives.

7. Seek Support:

Changing careers as a parent can be demanding, so seek support from your family, friends, mentors and us. Discuss your plans with your support group (those that will genuinely help and encourage) and ensure you have a support system in place to help manage your responsibilities at home while pursuing your career change.

8. Test the Waters:

Consider taking on part-time, freelance work or even voluntary work experience in your new field while maintaining your current job. This can give you a taste of what to expect and help you build experience. It can also lead to opportunities, as companies are often more interested in hiring people they know.

Deciding on a career change as a parent returning to work is a significant decision, but with careful planning and self-assessment, it can lead to a more fulfilling and balanced work life. Remember that your parenting experience has equipped you with valuable skills that are transferable to many careers. Be patient, stay resilient, and trust in your ability to make a successful transition.

If you're struggling to identify a new career, or you feel a little lost, please do reach out to us and speak to one of our coaches - we are here to help.

adult and children's hands on a computer keyboard

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