10.09.2013

Back to Work Blog Series: Your Plan of Attack

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Welcome to the Amy Mac Blog Series Back to Work: Everything You Need to Know to Get Back in Business — a playbook of strategies to dust off your skills, your resume and your moxie as you change careers, launch a business, or head from the mom force to the work force.

If you’re considering returning to work after a long absence (or changing careers, or starting a new business) you may be asking yourself “where do I start?” and “will anyone consider hiring me?”

More and more businesses are recognizing how a game-changing, motivated team player often comes packaged as a former stay-at-home mom or a retiree. They are less concerned with what you have been doing the last 10 years ... and more excited about what you bring to the table today.

The first step in a successful career move is to take some time to consider your ideal work situation. 

Here’s why: when searching for a job, especially if you have been away from the work force for a while, you must project focus, commitment and passion. You can accomplish this by putting some thought behind what you bring to the table, what sets you apart from the competition, and a plan for how you will make your career work within your various life constraints.

In short, you need a Plan of Attack.

So grab a pad of paper, a pen and an hour or two of solitude and answer a few questions:

What are your professional and personal skills? Create a laundry list of thingsyou do well — everything from your accounting degree to your photography skills to your ability to cook a mean Spaghetti Carbonara. Taking stock of all your attributes will not only help as you write cover letters, but will also open your eyes to opportunities you might not have considered.

What’s your motivation to go back to work? Money, independence, creative or intellectual outlet, divorce/major life change, the kids are older? Be clear about why you’re working to eliminate any number of seemingly great opportunities that don’t meet your needs.

What are the ideal hours you plan to work? Do you want to go back full-time, or ease back two days a week? Can you work 5 days a week, but need to leave by 3 p.m.? Can you work full-time, but need to work from home? You may not be able to devise a perfect schedule, but if you clarify your ideal you will be in a better position to negotiate.

What’s your minimum salary requirement? Tabulate expenses you’re more likely to incur once you go back to work — like childcare, housekeeping, gas mileage and eating more meals out. When you start from no paycheck, anything can seem like you’ve struck gold … only to discover you’re really not taking home much at all after the additional expenses.

How far are you willing to travel to work? Living in a busy metropolis like Atlanta, for example, can severely limit on-site job options when a ten-mile drive could take an hour or more during rush hour. Decide what your best option is for location, then decide the outer limits you’re willing to commute.

Are you available for travel, weekends and evening events if needed? This is something required by many jobs, from corporate to retail, so it’s important to consider the potential impact on your family life.

By defining your ideal work situation, you create a focus that helps you land the right job to create a work/life balance. Will you get every single item on your work wish list? Maybe not, but by defining those attributes that add up to the perfect job for you, you will come much closer to landing a job with a majority of those “love to have” items.

Keep this Plan of Attack handy — it becomes the foundation for everything related to the search for your ideal job: how you write your resume, what networking events you attend, even how you engage on social media.

Next up in the Back to Work series: Closing the Gap on your Resume.

Thanks for reading ~

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1 comment:

Australia Business News said...

I'm currently searching for jobs and this time, I'll be very picky because I don't want to end up like my previous employment. I will do a quick list of the categories you've pointed out.