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May the (work) force be with you

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You really want to get back in the workforce but fear and uncertainty are forcing you into a state of inertia. Take heart! Here are a few simple strategies that can help turn “inaction” into “action.”

What doubts are rearing their ugly heads? Do they sound like: “Too much time has passed” or “I don’t know anything anymore”?

It is quite normal to fear returning to the workplace after any extended absence. The fact that you are reading this article is a strong indication you really want to move on.

The following exercises will help you realize you have retained things of value from your earlier career and that what you have learned and accomplished since then have their own unique values.

What did you enjoy about your earlier employment? What things brought compliments or made you feel good?

Identify what mattered in your jobs and write those down in a list of at least 10 items. Keep diligently digging. Stay focused on the good things! When completed rank them from “least important” to “most important.” You may not recall the steps involved with each of your competencies, but none have totally disappeared.

Are your list-making attempts being thwarted by images of things you didn’t like or that disappointed you?

Write each negative, interrupting thought quickly on a piece of paper, read it once, bunch it up and throw it in the garbage. Write it, Read it, Toss it will help you eject negative thoughts and stay on track.

What are your top five items? Can you reword them to make “key word phrases” that will be useful in your resume?

Transférable skills

Consider this sample listing : ” working with xyz group,” “good ideas for abc,” “solutions to zyx problem,” “dealing with client,” and “looked up to by new customer service reps.” These might be rephrased as: “team work, “idea generation,” “problem solving,” “customer service excellence,” and “new staff mentoring.” These are five competencies — transferable skills — that are useful in the eyes of any employer.

Ready to do the same listmaking exercise concerning your current career as a homemaker?

You may have been parent, spouse, health-care provider, chauffeur, teacher, playground supervisor, counsellor, cook, cleaner, caretaker, volunteer and whoknows-what-else. Again, consider events that delighted you or times when others expressed gratitude.

What does this top five look like?

You may listed things like coached tee-ball, organized a neighbourhood party, settled arguments between coaches, helped with school function and answered phones as church volunteer. As key word phrases, these are examples of coaching ability, event organization, negotiating skills, team work and client service.

What do you do with the other items on your lists?

Time to review those items that did not make your top five. Try renaming them as key word phrases. Rank them from most transferable to least transferable. Within this group there will be more competencies to add to your growing list.

It is obvious that you have achieved a great deal in your homemaker career. Your adaptability may be one of your strongest attributes. Now is the time to reflect with pride on your accomplishments, get that powerful resume in place and present yourself to your future boss!

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