How do you help parents re-entering the workforce? Tips from Career Professionals

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By Marian Bernard.

Men and women are now taking time from their careers and the labour market to stay home with their kids. Career gaps range from a couple years to upwards of 20 years. This can result in many obstacles for those parents, from gaps in the resume, to no longer knowing their place in the labour market. When the time comes for them to jump back into the competitive job market they find themselves confused, insecure and feeling hopeless. But we can help.

CPC Mastermind, Lee-Anne Geseron led this month’s tele-networking discussion on the organized career professional. In her organization, Geseron Employment Consulting, Lee-Anne exposes employment myths and provides the formula for re-entering the workforce. As a mother who stayed home for six years to raise her boys Lee-Anne is all too familiar with the need to redefine herself and find her place in the labour market.

CPC Members can click this link to read the complete transcript and listen to the full session recording.

Here are some takeaways from the session:

  • When clients return to the workforce they “juggle” everything in their lives. We can provide them with time management resources. A “balance wheel” is a good tool to plot a client’s strengths and weaknesses and help create balance.
  • The Minerva Foundation in Vancouver provides a service for women wishing to return to the workforce, Aboriginal populations, and women wishing to retire.
  • Assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can be used to help clients who are pursuing other career opportunities based on each client’s unique skill sets, interests, and passions. CRG based in Vancouver provides assessments. Some practitioners may find the Values Preference Indicator (VPI) useful in evaluating career-changing opportunities.
  • Encourage clients to upgrade their computer skills to boost their confidence in this area. LinkedIn offers clients vast capabilities in performing company research, conducting background checks on vital contacts, and scoping out job opportunities.
  • Clients must know their “Why?” to tap into their values (e.g., making a positive difference in the community), determine what is important and heart-centered to each of them, and uncover their individual passions other than just earning a salary. One can explore career options via Career in Gear. Although this organization is based in Nova Scotia, anyone can access this resource.
  • Clients must be encouraged to “sell themselves”; nuggets-of-gold skills and achievements can be mined, based on volunteer, community, and committee involvement. Transferable skills can be fleshed out through stories; Times Change is a fabulous resource for this.
  • Clients can benefit immensely from establishing smart goals and plans of action (i.e., 1-year, long-range, and breaking down these steps month by month) to reward each milestone that the client makes. Clients can access Job Bank – a centralized resource that anyone from across Canada should explore, based on unique events, hiring employers, up-and-coming trends, and more! taking place in their own geographic “neck of the woods.”
  • Clients are also welcome to visit websites associated with their local chambers of commerce and labour market groups such as The Labour Market Group. They can also make connections with others at industry-specific networking functions and like-minded professional associations and career transition groups such as HAPPEN. Connecting women with other individuals who have successfully re-entered the workforce to provide additional support and fuel confidence.
  • C clients should consider using a hybrid or combination resume instead of a functional resume because hiring decision-makers and H.R. personnel will quickly dismiss functional resumes. It is crucial to be transparent in the resume. It is perfectly acceptable to indicate that the client stayed at home to raise children or took a personal or professional sabbatical.

CPC Tele-networking sessions are facilitated phone discussions between members of Career Professionals of Canada. Each session is delivered in a teleconference format using a bridge telephone line. If you have a phone, you have everything that you need to join us. CPC members can log-in to access all our session recordings at their convenience. Not a member? Learn more about the CPC Tele-Networking Program.

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Hi Everyone,
I also recommend the CRG assessments as they are useful tools, especially the Values Preference Indicator. 🙂

I recall working with a client in a similar situation. The following strategies are effective. “Outsource” tasks whenever possible to create balance and manage time. Celebrate small milestones – taking small steps goes a long way. Set realistic but achievable goals (SMART goals).

Encourage client to make positive choices – take refresher courses to refresh brand. Be proactive and get involved. Support client with staying connected to field and to any changes in the labour market through networking with other professionals and colleagues. As career practitioners, we also need to have empathy while reminding clients of their “Unique Value Proposition” and strengths to boost their confidence through a rather overwhelming transition. To address any gaps in the resume, it is important for the client to not de-value or dismiss any valuable experience, independent projects, or community leadership skills acquired during the time off.

Additional links:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/career-advice/life-at-work/mothers-face-challenges-returning-from-a-long-leave/article14292704/

http://www.quintcareers.com/stay-at-home-parents-careers/.

Lori

We don’t see as many stay-at-home parents as previous generations, but they are definitely out there, and I suspect we’ll see even more who have given up jobs during the pandemic to be home with their kids full time. It’s good to know there are many resources out there to help them re-enter the workforce when the time comes.