1. Get together with some former co-workers who you like and trust. Tell them you are moving toward professional re-entry and really want to get your confidence back. Ask them to remind you of your professional skills and your real strengths and capabilities. Takes notes so you can reflect on it all later. It’s amazing how quickly all that can be forgotten during the years away!
2. Think of 2-3 times in your professional life when you were really proud of your accomplishment; when you did something that had an impact and you played a significant role. Write out each scenario, think back to include specifics so it becomes ‘live’ to you again, and then list the skills you demonstrated.
3. Get out of one of your old resumes. Practice talking about each of the jobs you had. Use enthusiasm and explain each job fully as though you were in an actual interview situation. You can do it aloud to yourself or ask a supportive friend to listen and give you feedback.
4. Get a copy of a recent professional women’s magazine, such as Working Mother or Working Women. Notice how the women in it are dressed and groomed. See if need to update your wardrobe and or your grooming. A new outfit, new haircut and make up can make you feel that you look the part as a first step toward getting back into the role!
5. Look up a professional association in your field. Study the topics being discussed. Read articles to get up to date on new themes, new language and new trends. Look at the new books in your industry. If you’re in business, you can always look at a recent issue of Harvard Business Review. And the beauty of the internet, of course, is that everything you want to learn about is only a Google away!
6. Seriously reflect on the skills you’ve developed by being a mother. If you can’t think of any, ask your friends and I’ll give you a few to start with: multi-tasking, delegation, self-control, patience, sensitivity to another person, organizational skills, prioritizing quickly and more…
7. Go to job listing web sites. Browse around. See which job descriptions appeal to you. See if the descriptions of jobs you used to have are still making you excited. Perhaps jobs in a new field sounds more interesting now?? Perhaps jobs in your former industry require new skills that you need to acquire.
8. Think about jobs and professions you’ve heard about in the years since you’ve been away from the work world. Does anything sound really alluring to you? You may have changed and you may want to change professions or move to a different aspect of your field? Is it time to make a career transition? Would it be possible for you to take time to get a new degree, or a new credential? Time to do some research! And remember that READINESS + OPPORTUNITY = SUCCESS. Make sure to be ready before you get out there!