SingaporeMotherhood | Parenting
10 Tips to Ease Your Return to the Workforce After a Career Break
Been a while since you stepped into an office? Maybe you’ve taken extended maternity leave or time off to focus on your family. Now the children are older and your caregiving situation has evolved. No matter the circumstances, returning to the workforce after a career break can be daunting for many of us.
Whether you’re still job-hunting, preparing for an interview, or in the midst of adjusting back to working life, challenges abound. That, however, doesn’t mean we should allow ourselves to be intimidated. This guide shares some helpful tips to make transitioning back to the workforce a little smoother, as well as potential career paths to consider.
1. Be open about your career break
Whatever the reason for your career break, it’s best to be honest and open about it with recruiters and employers. If you’re able to include it in your resume and explain how your experiences during the break have contributed to your growth and enhance the new role you’re looking for, you may even score additional points with potential employers.
2. Practise for interviews
Interviews can be daunting for those of us who’ve spent a long time away from professional environments. Be sure to practise your interview skills beforehand to make the best impression possible in your job search.
3. Be kind to yourself and others
As you search for a job or start your new role, it’s important to remember to be kind to yourself and others. Frustration can easily build up over teething difficulties or obstacles in landing your dream job. Being kind to yourself and others can reduce your stress and help you adjust to your new life goals or professional environment better.
(See also: How to Nail That Job After Being a SAHM)
4. Reconnect and touch base
Rejoining the workforce can also mean reintegrating yourself back into social networks and communities within your industry. As you make your comeback, it would be wise to reconnect with past colleagues, supervisors, and acquaintances in the industry to catch up and look out for developments during your time away.
5. Grow your network
Get to know new people too. While you don’t have to be a social butterfly, networking as you return to the workforce helps you build up your professional contacts. By expanding your network, you grow the pool of resources and expertise that you can tap upon when you need them.
6. Keep an open mind
Things may have changed a lot in the time since you’ve taken a break from the industry. You may find yourself learning from those who may have less experience than you, but are more up-to-date on current industry developments. Keeping an open mind and staying humble as you learn will help in adjusting to a new role and environment.
7. Create new routines
Creating new routines and sticking to them can help you adjust to the new rhythm of your work once you start your new role. This is true both at work as well as back home. Inform your family members of your new schedule, so that they can not only adapt faster to your absence, but also better support you in this new phase of life.
8. Plan ahead
Be proactive with your tasks and schedules and plan ahead. Keep track of your professional and personal commitments in a notebook or digital calendar, and allocate your time accordingly. This will help you to maintain a healthy work-life balance and ensure that your new role doesn’t overwhelm you.
9. Focus on what’s enjoyable
Finding a new role and growing into it can be very fulfilling as you figure out new life goals and rediscover a sense of purpose in your professional development. Focus and reflect on what you find enjoyable and take pride and joy in it.
10. Make time for yourself
In the excitement of starting a new role, you may be overzealous and overcommit. To learn as much as possible, you may be tempted to take on too much responsibility. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, remember to make time for yourself and your family to avoid burning out. Do leave space for self-care and fun activities you enjoy too.
(See also: Do you have Parental Burnout?)
Jobs in Singapore to Take on After a Career Break
If you’re passionate about working with kids, then why not consider being a teacher or tutor? Teaching may be challenging for those without prior experience, but has its rewards once you get the hang of it. You may apply to be an adjunct or relief teacher on a short-term contract. Alternatively, apply for the mid-career entrant programme with the Ministry of Education.
Promoters depend on salesmanship and other soft skills to represent brands and sell products. Formal qualifications are less important than your ability to relate to others, your communication skills, and your knack for persuasion. This may be a good fit for you if you are outgoing and enjoy meeting lots of different people.
Accountant roles require highly specialised skills with proper accreditation. However, it can be a good option if you are looking to expand your repertoire by pursuing a niche skillset with intensive career development potential. Learn more about the Singapore Chartered Accountant Qualification Foundation Programme and how you can embark on a career in accounting.
According to a CNA article, the demand for eldercare services is on the rise in Singapore. Apart from providing companionship, caregivers also assist with seniors’ daily activities at home or at eldercare centres. These range from full-time to part-time or freelance positions. With suitable training, some even specialise in caring for specific conditions such as dementia or stroke survivors. Learn more about such career options at Homage.
If you have nursing qualifications but aren’t ready for a full-time staff nurse position, consider a short-term contract job. You’ll get to work on a fixed or flexible schedule depending on your preference. Short-term opportunities ranging from 3 to 6 months are available at community hospitals and nursing homes in Singapore. Additionally, short-term contract work could be a way for you to ease yourself back into the workforce. Alternatively, you may consider freelance or part-time home-nursing positions as well.
Personal assistants (PA) generally handle administrative work and logistical arrangements, such as managing and coordinating appointments, for executives. While the job requires you to be detail-oriented and quick to adapt to changes, it can be challenging at first. Rest assured that it usually becomes much more manageable as you learn how the organisation ticks.
Doing clerical work, fielding phone calls and emails, as well as bookkeeping, are part and parcel of the admin role. As such, time management and organisation skills are important. Administrative roles typically require proficiency in Microsoft Office tools too. Various tutorial videos on Microsoft 365 Training are available to get you up to speed.
Need Help Returning to the Workforce?
Many organisations also offer professional tailored return-to-work programmes, designed to help mid-career switchers or career returnees. The SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme attaches mid-career employees to organisations relevant to their industry to boost their employability. Similarly, WSG’s Career Conversion Programmes retrains Singaporeans with new capabilities. You may also consider using your SkillsFuture credits to pick up new skills under the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications.
Mums searching for flexi-work arrangements or looking to start your own business can also reach out to the Mums@Work network.
Good luck on the next phase of your life!
This article first appeared on Homage, an award-winning personal care solution that provides on-demand holistic home and community-based caregiving and medical services to seniors and adults, allowing them to age and recover with grace, control, and dignity.
All content from this article, including images, cannot be reproduced without credits or written permission from SingaporeMotherhood.