Hello, summer! Sunshine, iced tea, and sleeveless tees. Is it really time to start thinking about fall? Why yes it is!
For many caregivers, the end of the school year and beginning of summer is a time to re-charge and re-set. And, as the rhythms of your week changes, this may also be the perfect time to look ahead and get prepared to return to work in the fall.
“Many jobseekers underestimate how long it takes to find a job, and that can be especially true for someone with a career break,” says Destiny Colon, program director for Path Forward. “If you’re thinking about returning to work in the fall – a time of year when kids return to school and hiring picks up – we definitely recommend you start the job search process now.”
You can accomplish a lot during what is often a more relaxed time of year. So slide on those sunglasses, strap on your sandals, and check out our top seven tips on how to make the most of these summer weeks to prepare for your fall restart.
1. Think About You
Summer is a great time to slow down and reflect. If your life is different now compared to when you were previously in the workforce, your job priorities and motivations have probably changed as well. Before you jump into your job search, use this time to figure out what career or field you’d like to focus your efforts on. Our nine strategies for deciding on a post-break career will help.
2. Make a Plan
Successful job searches don’t start when you submit your first job application but long before that, with a well-organized plan. Check out our article on how to build a job search routine that works for you as well as this recording of our Craft Your Restart Strategy webinar, with tips from returners who successfully returned to the workforce after breaks as long as 18 years.
3. Do All The Job Search Things
Almost every job search will require you to update your resume, create a compelling LinkedIn profile, refresh your skills, and dust off your interviewing skills. If you consider what action items to tackle and in what order, you’ll avoid getting overwhelmed by how much there is to do before you can start applying.
4. Prepare Your Family and Home
Returning to work after a career break is not just a big transition for you, but for your entire family. See our suggestions on how to prepare your family for your return to work, how your partner can be your partner in your career restart journey, and what things you can do to more easily navigate the harried back to school months of fall.
5. Create a Target List of Companies
Try to stay off job boards and instead create a list of employers you want to target. Start with companies that are within a reasonable commute of your home and those that offer remote work. Read the career sections of the employers’ websites, sign up for job alerts, and network as much as possible, especially with anyone who works at the companies you’ve targeted.
6. Learn About Returnships
Familiarize yourself with returnships, which are a different way to return to work. Returnships are paid opportunities for professionals who’ve taken a career break and now seek an on-ramp back into the workforce. Path Forward works with many top employers to offer returnships – see our Get Hired page, for example, for positions now open for applications. Path Forward also compiles and regularly updates the Returnship Matcher, a directory of all return-to-work programs across the US.
7. Find Your Community
Because job searching can be a discouraging process, it’s important to find your cheerleaders to help you keep going. One great place to do so is within the Path Forward Community. This is a space for caregivers at every stage of the return-to-work journey to come together and support each other with advice, connections, and resources.
As you know, summer always flies by! Include some time to consider where you want to be in your job search this fall and before you know it, you’ll be there.