How to Re-Enter the Workforce After Kids Are in School

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Going back to work after your children start school can be overwhelming. You have to deal with the typical “joys” of job hunting while figuring out how to balance work and raising your family. Looking for a job is stressful enough without worrying about your duties as a parent. Here are a few tips for success when re-entering the workforce:

1. Consider Your Needs

There are a few things you need to know about yourself and your goals before you begin your job search. Why do you want to go back to work? Do you need extra money, or do you miss working? Do you want to work full- or part-time? Would you prefer a job that offers remote or flexible work options? Be sure of your answers prior to starting your search! Finding the right position will be much easier.

2. Decide What You Want to Do

Before tweaking your resume or updating your references, you need to figure out what you’d like to do.

Are you going to return to the same field you worked in before having kids? While that may seem like the easiest option, it might not be the case. If you work in a fast-paced industry, the field may have changed drastically since you left. Before applying to any positions, you may need to do some research or reach out to old colleagues to get up-to-date.

You’ve also undergone a major change in your life by having children. You’ve grown as a person and your passions may not be the same as they once were. It’s natural to develop new interests as you go through life. Don’t be afraid to pursue something different professionally!

3. Update Your Qualifications

Has your industry changed drastically? Do you want to begin a completely different career? Do you want to move into a higher position? Depending on what you plan to do, you may need additional education or training.

Returning to school as a mother can be intimidating and feel impossible when you have children to take care of. It’s also expensive and may be difficult to budget for with all of your child-related expenses. However, it’s an investment worth making and there are plenty of ways to pay for school.

If you’re concerned about how to fit classes into your schedule, consider enrolling in an online course or program. There are almost 5.8 million students enrolled in online classes across the United States, and that number is on the rise. This growing popularity means you won’t have any trouble finding classes that fit your needs.

4. Prepare and Practice

The next step is getting everything ready for applications and interviews. Once you’ve decided on a career, tailor your resume and cover letters to it. You’ll want to make them unique for each position you apply to, so be ready to adapt them to fit multiple companies. Spend time filling out each application thoughtfully and thoroughly.

When you’re asked to come in, take some time to get ready for the interview. Read about common interview questions. Prepare your answers to them; write them down and read them aloud. Even better, ask someone to interview you. You might feel silly at first but you’ll figure out your weaker answers quickly. As you grow more comfortable, you’ll be able to answer with confidence in your real interview.

5. Be Patient

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is staying patient. Re-entering the workforce after a break is difficult, as many companies may prefer to hire someone who has been working consistently. Find family-friendly companies and keep applying. The only guaranteed way to not find a job is to stop looking for one.

Finding a job can be a long, stressful, and emotionally draining process. There are a lot of dead ends when job hunting; many places may never acknowledge your application at all. Even if a position seems perfect, it may not be the right fit. And if you receive an offer that isn’t ideal, don’t hesitate to turn it down. Though it’s frustrating, it’s better for you (and your family!) to wait until you find the position you want. You’ll find your dream job soon!

Transitioning back into the workforce after starting a family can be difficult, before and after you start working. With patience, practice, and a little support from your loved ones, you’re sure to find the perfect position.

Good luck!


Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @ataylorian with any questions or suggestions.

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