Searching for a new job is always a stressful and nerve-wracking experience. However, if you’ve taken some time away from the workforce in order to care for a sick or aging parent, returning to employment may seem even more overwhelming. Many people in this situation worry that potential employers will be put off by the gap in their resume, or wary of the time the applicant had to take away from their previous job before leaving it to provide full-time care to their family member in need.
Though returning to work after caring for a parent may seem difficult or scary, it doesn’t have to be. This specific situation comes with its own set of unique challenges, but finding a job after full-time caregiving is an extremely attainable goal. Here are some tips on how to tackle the job search head-on after taking time off to care for a parent.
Don’t apologize for or belittle the reason you left your previous job
While in a interview, it’s important to focus on your strengths and why you’re the right person for the job. However, your previous employment details are almost certain to come up at some point. When they do, make sure to not shy away from the topic and speak from the heart.
Leaving the workforce to care for an aging parent is nothing to be ashamed of and doesn’t make you any less qualified for the job you’re applying for. In fact, making the difficult decision to leave a job for the sake of a family member is something to be proud of. Most hiring managers will be able to empathize with your decision and why you felt you had to make it, especially if you express your confidence in that decision.
Speak about the things you learned while caring for your parent
Some people who step away from the working world to care for their parent full-time feel that it will look like a drawback to any potential hiring managers. However, this decision and the life experienced gained because of it can actually set you apart from other applicants.
Caring for an aging parent is no easy task and likely taught you many crucial communication skills, negotiation tactics, and most of all, patience. You can discuss the many life lessons and tools you developed while acting as your parent’s primary caregiver during your interview to express how passionate you are about sharing the tools you’ve learned with others and using them to do a great job.
Manage your expectations
If the position you held before leaving the workforce to care for your parent was entry level or similar, you shouldn’t have much of an issue regaining employment in a similar position that requires comparable skills and experience. However, if you’re going for a position that requires more specific expertise and experience, you may have trouble, even if you held a similar position in the past.
Many industries are constantly changing as new techniques and technologies develop, which means that even a couple of years away from your previous position could mean a lack of crucial training and intel. Therefore, you may struggle to regain a position at the same level after taking more than a year or two off to care for your parent, and managing your expectations is key to avoiding frustration and disappointment during this process.
Do some research
If you’re applying for a job that you don’t have extensive direct experience with, doing your research is important to make sure you have the necessary knowledge to get hired. However, even if the position you’re applying for is similar to a position you’ve held before and requires similar experience, there’s a chance that the industry has evolved since you held your previous position.
Look into the details surrounding your desired field. Have there been any huge changes to the scope of the industry? Are there any new technologies being utilized? Are there new skills you’ll have to develop in order to succeed? If you take the time to develop those skills before even going in for your interview, you’re much more likely to get the job than if your employer knows they’ll have to train you extensively.
Don’t count yourself out
Often, the biggest obstacle that people face when returning to work after caring for an aging parent is a lack of confidence in their abilities. After a few years out of the workforce, you may feel like you’ve lost the skills and training you once had. However, any skill can be redeveloped and the most important asset to bring into a job interview is confidence.
Additionally, don’t hesitate to lean on your network when you’re trying to get back out there. Studies show that 85% of positions are filled through networking and connections, so it can’t hurt to reach out to previous coworkers and employers to seek new opportunities.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.