COVID-19 ushered many employees out of the workforce even when the opportunity to continue working was there. Thanks to schools and daycares closing, many of the newly unemployed were women who faced the need to leave their job to care for the family. In fact, nearly 2 million women left the workforce, igniting a “she-cession.” This caregiving crisis has resulted in women’s lowest level of workforce participation since 1988.
As the pandemic ebbs and life generally adjusts to a post-pandemic reality, many of these caregivers are ready to ease their way back into the workforce. Many women are searching for a job with a bit of nerves about navigating the job market again and concern about “the gap” in their work history.
Moms, these strategies will boost your confidence and better your chances of landing a right-fit job.
Prepare for success
While the need to leave the workforce may well have been sprung on you, the return to the work-a-day world should be an intentional decision shored up by thoughtful evaluation and a focused plan. The chances are that life looks different now than when you joined the ranks of the unemployed – ranging from slight changes to an entirely new landscape. And the tweaked way you currently view life, family, and jobs? Thanks to a pandemic-induced time of reflection, many moms have emerged with a brand-new perspective. All of this means that a successful re-entry into the workforce will necessitate a thorough assessment of your family’s current needs and your new world mindset.
Consider part-time or contract work
Transitioning from the role of at-home caregiver to a working-outside-the-home caregiver/spouse will require some adjustments for all involved. However, a part-time position or a limited-time assignment can make the transition a smoother, less jarring challenge for both parents and their offspring.
Network, network, network
Now that you’ve compiled the above considerations into an employment scenario, it’s time to get the word out. Tell your neighbors, friends, family, other parents, former colleagues, and the people who’ve populated your life during this time of non-earning—the clerks, cashiers, librarians, and now the teachers and support staff at the kids’ school. Every connection and interaction holds the potential to be a job-related lead or contact.
Step out of your comfort zone
What better time to apply for a position you’ve always wanted to pursue, but the pieces never quite fell into place? Maybe your resume isn’t the perfect fit for a job you’ve long considered on your employment bucket list, but who knows? Today’s candidate-driven market could be the ideal time to stretch yourself a bit. Of course, putting yourself out there takes courage and confidence. But do you want to wonder “what if?” for the rest of your life? Remind yourself that successful people arrive at that level not because they never hear “no” but because they keep reaching for the “yes.”
And don’t hide “the gap”
Being fearful of a potential employer’s reaction, many a person returning to the workforce will try to hide the gap in their employment history via vague or missing timeframe mentions on their resume. And then, quake in their boots, worrying that the attempt will fail and put them in the position to explain. A much better approach is to “own” the gap, not with excuses and hand wringing, but rather a simple explanation. Quality companies will appreciate your honesty and transparency.
At A.R. Mazzotta, employment “gaps” don’t scare us. We welcome anyone seeking to use their skills and talents in gainful employment. Check out our job listings, then give us a call. Our team is standing by.