How to return to work after having a baby
Whether you're a mum who's on maternity leave, or someone who's taken an extended career break after having a baby to spend time with your little one - planning your return to work can be a time of mixed emotions.
Perhaps you feel like you've been out of the workplace so long that you might have forgotten how to do your job or feel like what you were doing is no longer suitable.
You may well have a multitude of concerns about going back to work: Will I find a job? Will I find a job with flexible hours? Are my skills out of date? Will I be able to use the technology? Will I find a job that fits in around the family? My CV is really out of date. I haven’t had an interview in years. Can I find suitable childcare? I have lost all my confidence.
Don’t worry. These are all perfectly normal thoughts and concerns for any mum returning to work, but the good news is that you’re in the right place for some careers advice.
Eight top tips for returning to work after having a baby
Start with a positive frame of mind
Rather than focus on what you have missed by not being in work for a period of time, focus on what you have gained. Spending time with your children when they are young is such a positive thing to do and you will have gained more than you think.
Recognise your skills
Think about what skills you have used whilst bringing up your children - problem-solving, creativity, multi-tasking, time management. If you have done any charity or voluntary work during this time, then you should capture this too. Write down your examples and have a think about how these can be translated into skills for inclusion in your CV. And don’t forget all the skills you already had before you had children. These are not lost; they may just need brushing up.
Do your research
Think about what you need to earn and the hours you want and look at jobs which offer that. Which companies in your area offer part-time or flexible working? Do you have friends working for family-friendly businesses? If you know a company that you’d really like to work for be proactive and email them asking if they have any vacancies.
You might also want to research any significant changes in the sector since you last worked and what you might need to do to get your skills up to speed.
Read our blog on opportunities for women in the nuclear sector
Write a stand-out CV
Dust off your CV and update it to include the skills you have perfected during your time with your children. Remember to talk up all the relevant skills you learned in your last job and try to match your CV to the job spec you are applying for. A great tip is to pick out the required skills and back it up on your CV with examples.
It’s also a good idea to include any hobbies which show you’re an active person.
Try volunteering to update your skills
Charity work, volunteering, joining a local committee, fundraising, a new hobby – these are all great examples of ‘work’ based activities you can do whilst being a stay-at-home parent. The skills from such activities can add real weight to your CV.
Preparation for interview
Preparing ahead of time will help you keep calm, feel ready and do well in your interview. Knowing the company and rehearsing possible questions and your answers are the key things in your interview preparation. This is your chance to show that you have the skills for the job but also a chance for your personality to shine.
Don’t forget to make a list of questions you would like to ask them also. This is your chance to find out as much about the company as you want and to get a feel for what it will be like working there. Do you like what you see?
Don’t forget the practicalities of getting there so plan your route in advance and decide what you’re going to wear.
Be realistic and know what you want
Transitioning back to work after having a baby, regardless of the time frame is hard and it can be a very emotional time. Your life has changed since you were last at work and you have new priorities and responsibilities.
Think about the practicalities of the hours you can work and whether you need to look for something that offers flexible or home working. Employers have become much more receptive to home working as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, so this may open up new opportunities for you.
Be prepared and have a support network
If you’re going back to work, not only you but the whole family will need to adjust to a new routine. Be ready for feelings of guilt for taking the decision to go back to work and once you’re back you’ll be tired and may feel overwhelmed initially. Be kind to yourself.
It would be wise to have a practice run of dropping the children off at their care setting and getting to work before you start proper. Having a backup childcare option is also a good idea.
Prepare yourself too for the culture shock of going back to work. This is perhaps easier said than done but just be aware that you may need to give yourself time to adjust into the job and the new routine.
How Inspira can help with your return to work
Here at Inspira we have a wealth of options to help you be better equipped to return to work after having children. Our experienced advisers can offer you practical career advice and support to refresh, refocus and determine your next career move.
What you should do next
- Spend some time browsing the content on our website to learn more about preparing for your new role
- Read about how we’ve helped others in the same situation
- Check out Ria’s story on seeking advice to return to work
- Pick up the phone and talk to one of our advisers to see how they can help you 0345 658 8647
- Fill out our form if you’d rather communicate by email and tell us a bit about your situation and if there’s something in particular you would like help with.