With the coming of the New Year comes time for personal reflection. Is your life in a bit of a rut? Do you want to seek out new adventures? Are the kids at school and it’s finally time again for you? If you answered yes to any of the above, read on…
Ahh, February, you old devil. You’re back. If December is traditionally about eating your body weight in rum balls and enjoying a relaxing and recharging Christmas holiday break, and January is about New Year’s resolutions and packing the kids off to school, well, in February, life get serious again.
Work-Life founder and director Sam Kilmartin says for many parents (and especially mums), February traditionally heralds new beginnings for those previously constrained by pre-school-aged children. This shift happens in parallel to the job market heating up to form the ‘perfect storm’ of career opportunity this month.
“Many parents are restricted until school goes back but, when it does, parents often feel a void that needs filling and the focus changes back to them a bit more and how they will fill their new-found time,” Sam says. “And others, unhappy in their current jobs, find that the Christmas/New Year break gives them time to ponder a fresh start and insights a desire for change. Research shows that people will have, on average, eight different jobs in their lifetime.”
For Sam, Work-Life is all about helping people find their career focus (or refocus). Tania Blanchard of Burleigh Heads is one of those people. With a bright and exciting 15-year career as creative director of a design agency in Sydney before kids, Tania spent nine years tending to her family’s needs before she shipped her youngest off to school and realised that she desperately desired the buzz of the workforce in her life again. “Nervous” and “lacking confidence” because she had spent so much time away from work throwing herself into “just being a mum”, Tania was personality profiled by Sam and learned some eye-opening and life-changing things about where her career focus really was.
“I absolutely loved it,” Tania says, of the Work-Life personality profiling. “I learned so much about myself and found a deeper understanding of my other strengths – strengths I didn’t even know really meant anything to me.”
With Sam’s guidance, Tania had the confidence to launch her own design studio and has seen success in areas she didn’t know she would – including large-scale community art installations (you may even know Tania’s mural overlooking the Alex Black Carpark at Burleigh Heads?).
So, if it’s time for a career change for you as well, do you know where to begin?
With a Bachelor of Business (majoring in human resources) under her belt along with post-grad qualifications in career development and years of experience working in human resources for companies as large as Ford, Shell and BMW, Sam is well placed to provide insider information on what makes recruiters sit up and listen. From experience, she knows the mistakes people make when they sit in front of an interviewer and she also knows how to make a CV catch a recruiter’s attention.
“You may feel that you’ve been out of the workforce for too long and that no-one is going to hire you,” Sam says. “Feelings that you’ve forgotten how to do your job are common too. Be reassured by the fact that these feelings are normal. It’s important to remember that employers are after good staff. Research shows, time and again, that parents, both female and male, are more productive and efficient than childless workers. Your skills are in demand – don’t underestimate yourself.”
Sam’s ‘Nuts and bolts’ career strategy workshop is perfect for those people in a similar situation to Tania who want to restart (or refocus) their career and don’t know where to begin. With loads of practical advice covering how to target a CV, what employers are looking for, how to win over an interviewer asking tricky questions, and even finding job openings on the ‘hidden’ job market, Sam’s two-hour workshops will be two hours well spent.
Sam’s Top 5 tips for breaking back in the workforce after kids
- Start by writing down all the things you are good at – your strengths. You may be really organised, a strong team player or great at presenting for example. Focus on the things you can do, rather than the things you feel less confident about.
- Have a look at the job boards (like Seek) and see what employers are looking for. Benchmarking yourself in this way is a long-term career strategy and will quickly identify any ‘gaps’ you may have.
- Get out your old CV and give it a revamp. Update all the things you have done since your last job. Include things like kindy committees, fundraising, courses or training, volunteer work or other casual work. This will become your ‘base CV’ – always modify your base CV to the job you’re applying for.
- It’s never too late to try something new or to re-train. South-East Queensland is an ideal place for further study with many universities and other education providers (TAFE, on-line, and private colleges) all easily accessible.
- Use your network. Let people know you’re keen to get back into the workforce and the sort of work you’re looking for.
For more, visit www.work-life.com.au or check out Sam’s tips for breaking back into the workforce.