Part Two: Whether you’re thinking about returning to work after children or want to work more flexibly so you can pursue other interests, finding your ideal position following a career break could be easier than you think.

Here’s part two of ‘Returning to work after a career break, including tips about how to start your job search and questions to bear in mind when seeking flexible work.

Take a positive approach

Think about how you’ve developed as a person in the time you’ve had off. As a parent, you’ll be an exceptional multi-tasker with great people and problem solving skills, used to operating under a strict time management policy. And as a flexible worker, you’ll have a positive attitude towards proving yourself to be an asset to your company.

You might not be able to use these skills on your CV, but you could find it a useful exercise when it comes to interview. And most importantly, it will help you to hold your head up high and be confident.

Putting the wheels in motion

What’s your CV like? If you’re worried about gaps, try not to. It’s always best to be honest and be prepared to turn this time to your advantage in an interview situation. Take a look at our CV writing tips here. We also hold regular workshops to help our Members develop their CV and interview technique – you’ll find out about these through our newsletters when you register.

Starting the flexible job hunt

We’re not saying the first thing you need to start talking about in an interview is how the hours will suit you, but it is worth bearing your flexible needs in mind when applying for new roles.

Ask yourself if the company is likely to have the sort of culture that suits flexible working. If you’re thinking about having another child, how would this culture influence that experience? If you don’t feel positive about finding a receptive employer in your career field, what could you do about changing their perceptions and how can you demonstrate your commitment in order to make a difference? How would you be willing to compromise? It’s worth keeping these questions in mind when approaching companies.

Spreading the word you’re available

Take your job search beyond the usual search engines. Talk to former colleagues and recruitment agencies and ‘put yourself out there’. In fact, word of mouth can be one of the best ways to get your job hunt on track. Keeping track of companies on LinkedIn or through industry publications is also a good idea.

You might also consider approaching companies directly, outlining your skills and asking to meet them for a coffee and a chat. In addition, you could also explore the networking groups available in your area. Some people we know have found work through networking on Twitter!

Don’t rule out full-time positions

In some cases, it may be best to take a full-time job, depending on your field of expertise. Many professionals find this acts as a good route to negotiating with bosses once they have established trust with a new employer. Or you could ask for staggered hours in a full-time position, so starting at 8am and leaving at 4pm for example. Once you’re in a role, you’re in a better position to ask for greater flexibility.

There are all sorts of ways you can make this work which you may not have explored: like compressed hours such as working five days in four, 9 day working fortnights, job shares, part-time hours or working from home part of the week. Explore your flexible working options here.

Flexible workers: a good bet for business

We like to think that the full-time route is not the only way of finding flexible work. And it’s also one of the reasons our recruitment agency came into being, eight years ago. As soon as employers start to see the real value of hiring flexible workers, it’s our experience that they will come back for more. Flexible workers are often highly productive, motivated and talented individuals – and because of reduced hours, are more affordable than their full-time co-workers.

What’s more, parents make up a huge proportion of the UK’s workforce, so if you’re returning to work after children, you’ll be in good company – people do appreciate the need for flexibility. So don’t feel despondent: our advice is, that where there’s a will, there’s a way. And if you’re based in the southeast of England, the bottom line is there are plenty of opportunities out there – you may just not have come across them yet.

Talking to Ten2Two is the first step

Registering with us is the first way to get the flexible ball rolling. We’ll send you details about positions in your area, as well as a regular newsletter keeping you up to date about free workshops across a range of topics including CV writing, confidence building and interview techniques. Get in touch to find your nearest Ten2Two office today. Good luck!


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