Reentering the Workforce After Your Divorce

Reentering the Workforce After Your Divorce

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Five tips to prepare for this transition

When I got divorced, I had four children under the age of eight. While dealing with custody issues, finances, and lifestyle changes, I also realized I would need to reenter the workforce. Here are a few tips to consider as you prepare to reestablish yourself and reenter the workforce:

1. Stop guilt-tripping yourself. If you have been a stay-at-home mom, you might feel guilty about leaving your children to go to work. Stop! You aren’t leaving your children; you are providing and caring for them in a new way. Approaching a job search burdened with guilt will make the process even harder. Remind yourself that your role in the household is different, not worse. You are embarking on an exciting new phase in your life. Approach it with optimism, not dread.

2. Figure out what you want to do. Also, figure out what you can do. You might not find the perfect job immediately, but having a range of choices makes the process less overwhelming. A few sessions with a career counselor can be very valuable and help you figure out your strengths, skills, and interests. If you cannot afford a career counselor, there are numerous resources online. The Occupational Outlook Handbook has a handy, easy-to-use occupation finder that provides a slew of information on every career field imaginable. The O*NET Interest Profiler is another fantastic resource that provides a list of careers based on your interests, aptitude, and education level.

3. Bolster your résumé. Once you decide on a career path, join professional organizations related to your career. After my divorce, I worked as a Latin teacher. Before I applied for jobs, I joined the American Classical League, the Association Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, and other organizations related to my profession. Memberships show an interest in your career field and a desire to stay current on best practices. Now is also the time to make sure you are current on certifications and anything else your profession requires. Some requirements are as simple as CPR, while others may require course work or specialized training.

4. Prepare to contact prospective employers. A strong résumé and cover letter are essential to a successful job search. Enlist the help of friends who can help you format your résumé, write an effective cover letter, and set up a LinkedIn profile. If you attended college, your school’s alumni association and career center are invaluable resources for helping you with everything from a strong résumé to helpful connections in your field. Employers often will look at your social-media presence, so check the privacy settings on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts and make sure that your social-media activity reflects well on you.

5. Find reliable child care. Having a sick child, scheduling doctors appointments, and getting unexpected calls from your child’s school or day care could create enough stress to lead you to abandoning a job search. Finding reliable child care with several backup options is essential to a successful entry into the workforce. If your child is in school or day care, you will need backup for any days he or she is sick. Come up with a list of babysitters so that you have several options if you are in an unexpected situation involving a sick kid. Remember, employers generally are not supposed to ask you about your family situation, but it is a good idea to go into a new job knowing that you can be a reliable employee.

Congratulations on this exciting life transition. Entering the workforce for the first time or after a long hiatus as a stay-at-home mom can be scary—but it is also an awesome opportunity for you and your family.

Danielle Bostick, a former Solo Mom and ESME’s Wellness–Mental Health Resource Guide, is a Latin teacher, an advocate, and a mom to six kids in Winchester, Virginia. When not working as an educator, Bostick writes about the National Football League for various sites and sexual assault and child sexual abuse for the Huffington Post. You can find her on Twitter: @danibostick, and on Facebook: Dani Bostick.

Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.

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