Although I’m not a career consultant, I have tons of experience looking for so-called “survival jobs,” as well as, that elusive dream job. In fact, I’m currently looking for employment in the education sector after staying home with my young family for the past six years. This blog is actually part one of a four part series about my job search experiences – with a few of my own tidbits of wisdom thrown in for good measure. Part one of the series will address the importance of networking, especially as it pertains to new moms off on mat leave or extended leave. In my second blog, I’ll take a look at the do’s and don’ts of resume writing. My third blog will discuss applying for a job in the educational field and the fourth blog will examine the dreaded interview and how to prepare.
Hopefully, by blogging about my experiences and acknowledging my newly attained knowledge regarding job search tools and techniques, the road I’m travelling back to employment (and financial security), will be as smooth as possible!
NETWORKING! As a somewhat introverted individual, I shied away from the idea of networking. For me, the term always conjured up the image of people standing around a conference room awkwardly exchanging pleasantries and business cards. Call me!
In reality, networking is vital, especially to new moms. My advice – always try to keep one foot in the workplace door. If working part-time is not an option, consider other avenues to make the eventual transition back to work as easy as possible. There are a number of ways to do this – all which involve, you guessed it, networking!
I know having a child (or children), is utterly exhausting. I also know how hard it is to make time for yourself when you have a baby. It’s vitally important, however, that we moms take time for ourselves – even if it’s only for a couple of hours a week. If yoga is not your calling, consider volunteering. Stop by Timmies and grab a much needed coffee en route to your new volunteering position. Try to find a volunteering opportunity that is enjoyable, will look good on your resume, and has the potential to be used as a reference when the time comes to return to work.
2. Keep in Touch
Call up your co-workers and stop by work for a visit if at all possible – just remember to bring donuts and your newborn baby for everyone to fawn over (the baby, not the donuts)! Even better, arrange a monthly dinner date with your co-workers. Consider using Facebook as a job networking tool. Let your “friends” know that you’re still around and will be coming back to work once your mat leave/extended leave ends. If you’re thinking of making a career change, let your “friends” know so they can help spread the word and offer you advice, or hook you up with one of their contacts. Remember, it’s all comes down to who you know!
3. Take a Course
Again, I know you’re exhausted and probably don’t think you have the energy to take a course. Sleep is way over-rated anyway! If you can’t make it to your local college or university, consider taking a course online. By taking a course in-person or online, you can increase your knowledge base, continue to add to your resume and become acquainted with individuals who share a similar interest.
Networking doesn’t have to be forced and uncomfortable! Use it as an excuse to get out of the house and take a breather. In addition to maintaining your sanity, you’ll make the return to work as enjoyable and seamless as possible.
Renee Morley is a Continuing Education Student currently studying within the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College. MCACES offers a comprehensive Employment Advisement program for our students. For more information about Employment Advisement, please visit the MCACES website, www.mcaces.ca or contact Lidia Siino, Employment & Communications Specialist at Lidia.firstname.lastname@example.org.