When most people think of a modern family, they envision a couple where both people work for financial reasons. However, the steep costs of childcare, along with the emotional angst of leaving kids cared for by others, results in many people leaving the workforce for some period of time. Consider these statistics:
- Americans with kids spend $18K per year on childcare
- Childcare expenses are more than healthcare or housing costs
- Nanny taxes or extra daycare costs (for activities) create additional financial burdens (http://www.businessinsider.com/cost-of-child-care-2014-7)
When children are pre-school age, many families choose to have one person stay home. That person often experiences challenges when he/or she (usually she) wants to return to the workforce. New technologies and medications mean that a person who has been out of the workforce for 5 years is viewed skeptically by hiring managers. Here are several steps you can take to help you re-enter the workforce.
- Get Licenses/Certifications Up to Date – If you are a healthcare practitioner, your state requires you to have a current license. For instance, most states have laws regarding the practice of nursing that state that anyone who has been out of the field for x number of years must take a nurse refresher course and re-take the NCLEX® (National Council Licensure Examination). Additionally, you want to make sure certifications such as BLS are valid. Recruiters want candidates who are able to accept an offer without delay.
- Take Continuing Education Courses – Healthcare, like other fields, changes significantly over the course of a few years. Even if you have not allowed your license to lapse, a course that provides you with hands-on experience with new technologies is very beneficial.
- Reach out to Former Colleagues – One study found that 80% of candidates found their jobs through networking (http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/80-of-today-s-jobs-are-landed-through-networking). Contact former co-workers and supervisors via Facebook or phone. They can inform you of open positions that you will not find online.
- Create a ‘Summary of Qualifications’ – Make the first section of your résumé a ‘Summary of Qualifications.’ Use bullet points that list your:
- Current license
- Unexpired certifications
- Your most relevant technical skills
- Overall experience in the field
When a recruiter views your résumé, you want to make an impression that you are ready to “hit the ground running” at a new job.
- Avoid a functional résumé – Many advice columns recommend that people re-entering the job market to use a functional résumé. This format uses skills headings rather than a traditional ‘Professional Experience’ section. From my personal experience, recruiters were skeptical of people who used these types of résumés. They want to know where and when you acquired your skills.
- Contact Employers of Interest – If there are certain clinics or hospitals that interest you, consider contacting them directly. Candidates for corporate positions use materials like Reference USA (often available at your local library) or the social networking site LinkedIn to discover the names of executives and human resources representatives at their target companies. You should research hospitals or clinics of interest using this method. Don’t be afraid to reach out through email or call; the worst thing they can say to you is “no.”
Be Persistent Even with an improving job market, people often experience difficulty returning to the workforce. Hiring managers wonder what the learning curve will be for a candidate that has been not been employed for years. Take the steps listed above to put the odds in your favor.