Getting your career back on track after going through a divorce is not easy, particularly if you have been out of the workforce for some period of time. Because it's an emotional time, recent divorcees are often not in the best position to make the right decisions.
Too often, due to fear or financial exigencies, or simply because they are relying on bad advice, divorcees fail to take the right steps to get back on track and simply take the first job that they find. The labor market is very open to women returning to the workforce after time off.
A recent survey by the Center for Work/Life Policy found that of women with college degrees, 74% who took time off to raise families were able to return to work when they decided to go back. The key is to know how to go about it.
Here are some common mistakes that women make regarding their careers when they are going through a divorce:
1. Failure to get educational and career assistance as part of the divorce settlement. For a variety of reasons, including not recognizing its importance or fear that it might affect the amount of their alimony or child support, women fail to include provisions in their settlements to get their spouses to pay for education and training to improve their job skills. Similarly they fail to include provisions to pay for professional career coaching to make them more marketable and help them return to the work force. Both types of support are actually relatively easy to gain agreement on.
2. Lack of confidence. The biggest single obstacle to returning to work after a divorce is a lack of confidence in your ability. The skills you had before you left the workforce did not disappear, nor did your education. While they may need some updating, they remain valuable to employers. Add to that the skills you have learned managing a household and doing volunteer work, you bring significant value to a potential employer. If you present yourself with confidence employers will recognize that value.
3. Not staying current. Employers want people who can have an impact immediately. They are looking for people who have stayed current in their field and who have kept up with technology. If you haven't, take steps to do so. Read general business publications, trade magazines, and blogs related to your field. Find out about current issues, key people in the industry, and what different companies are doing. Also, if you are not comfortable with computers and the internet get training. Training is readily available online and at local community colleges. Take advantage of it. Employers want individuals that are computer literate.
4. Taking career advice from your friends. Your friends didn't handle your divorce. You sought the assistance of a lawyer, a professional who understood what needed to be done to get you what hopefully was a good result. When it comes to your career everyone has advice; your neighbors, your aunts and uncles, your friends. They have jobs and therefore think they can advise you on how to get one. Your career is important to you and you must make sure you treat it that way.
5. Not Seeking professional help. Read books, take interview training, get help with your resume and seek help from a career coach. You need to make a lot of important decisions when it comes to getting the right job. You need to understand the process. And you need to learn how to make yourself marketable to the employer that you want to work for. Make an investment in your future and get the right advice.
If you take the right steps you will not only be able to get a job after your divorce, but will be able to get a good job but one that puts you on the right track to achieving a fulfilling career.
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