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10 tips for mums looking to return to the workplace

10 tips for mums looking to return to the workplace

As a Coach and also ex-recruiter, I know how daunting the prospect of a new job or career can be for many. And for those of you who are returning to the workplace after raising your family, it can be even more daunting. 

I often ask a significant question to my clients when coaching; ‘what can you do to help you deal with the emotional challenge as well as the practical challenge of what you want to achieve?’ This is a big question, but often helps find clarity, and I feel it’s quite apt in this scenario. Below are some top tips from both an emotional and practical perspective for Mum’s looking to return to the workplace.

  1. Confidence: do not underestimate the power of confidence in every thing you do, particularly in returning to work. Confidence is like a muscle, we need to work on it daily basis for it to provide us with the strength we need. It’s likely you haven’t worked on your confidence for some time, so it’s worth checking back in with yourself, and putting in the work to help you feel powerful once more. 
  2. Identify your strengths: what are you good at, what do you enjoy doing, what makes you motivated? Ask yourself these questions and identify your strengths, it will provide with direction and a sense of purpose.
  3. Work with a recruiter: depending on your industry, a recruiter can be invaluable when returning to the workplace. I used to recruit many returners into the accounting firms who had specific programmes for women returning after an extended break. It’s worth connecting with a recruiter to gain an understanding of opportunities.  
  4. Overcome the guilt: many friends and clients of mine have feelings of guilt when they prioritise themselves over their children. Know that it’s normal, but it’s not the only way to feel. Taking care of, and prioritising yourself is looking after your family, so give yourself a little pep talk if these feelings creep in when returning to work. 
  5. Upskill: we all need to continuously develop ourselves, whether it be technology, industry or technical knowledge, and so it’s worth seeking some ways you can upskill yourself. Use your resources and platforms such as LinkedIn and Open University which can offer free courses.
  6. Network: this is such an undervalued resource for people, especially when looking to return to the workplace. Reach out to your network, ask questions, gain knowledge from those you know and those you don’t. It will help boost your confidence and your brand – and you may even find an opportunity by doing so!
  7. Ask for help: we as Women especially find this difficult, and as Mum’s it’s likely you will feel like you need to know everything – but not one person on this earth does. Remind yourself of that and ask for help when needed. 
  8. Personal branding: you are your own brand and the way you portray yourself (whether that be physically or through communication) will have an impact on how you are perceived in the workplace, and when networking. Whilst the days of power suits are fading, it’s still important to take the time to think about the image and brand you want for yourself – and maybe brush up your LinkedIn page in the process! 
  9. Be realistic: don’t spread yourself too thinly, trying to be everything to everyone as you won’t get very far. It’s important to determine realistic goals in order to make an impact. Transformational coaching is very much goal orientated, and the same principles should be applied here. You will no doubt have a lot to think about, so set yourself a series of goals, and view them as stepping-stones enabling you to walk towards what you want to achieve. 
  10. And finally, Believe in yourself: You’ve got this! 

Kerry McLaughlin is a an ICF qualified Life, Career and Business Coach, offering coaching services to individuals. Kerry is very passionate about helping people, especially women, develop and grow in a safe, non-judgemental but challenging and progressive environment. For more information visit or contact her on [email protected]

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