Helping Women Re-enter the Workforce for Free


by Teri Hockett

It’s no surprise that unemployment in the United States is still very high at 8.3% (as of August 3 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). This saddens me, because it continues to affect so many families across our great nation.

Beyond the gloomy reports, I come across women who are struggling to find employment or something better than what they currently have. When I meet someone and hear their story, I immediately welcome them into What’s For Work? for 30 days free. This gives them an opportunity to find jobs, build their resume, prepare for interviews, ask questions within our forums, connect with other women, and more. It’s not a solution to all their challenges, but it’s a great start to get them back on track with help from others. Out of work is no time to be alone!

This got me thinking… it’s time to extend this welcome to other women that could use some help.

30 Days of Free Membership

Today, I would like to invite women across the United States to join What’s For Work? for 30 days free of charge, no credit card required; for a limited time.

Get started right away in your job and/or career search. Once you log-on, you will be guided with specific tasks to help you jump-start your search. And of course, our Career Forums are a great place to ask questions and receive expert support. In addition, read the following blogs if you’re relaunching your career or have been away from the market for awhile.

In return, please share this offer with your girlfriends, mothers, daughters, sisters and acquaintances in the United States that you know who need help re-entering the workforce. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great resources to help spread the word; we’d love to connect with you there as well.

Together we can make a difference!

About the Author

Teri Hockett

Teri Hockett is the CEO of What’s For Work? The Premier Career Site for Women.

About What’s For Work?

The Premier Career Site for Women. Real People. Real Connections. Real Support. — with everything in one place! http://www.whatsforwork.com/

Mission: To redefine how employers acquire talent and women find and preserve their dream jobs using innovative technologies.

Company Overview: What’s For Work? helps women take control of their careers by providing a rich set of tools that develop their knowledge, skills and confidence they need to land and preserve their dream jobs.
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Employed by Life


By Teri Hockett

Employed by Life

Source: tasithoughts.files.wordpress.com

There is a lot of information out there about how to disguise a gap in your work history, as though it is something negative to be hidden from the hiring manager. It is time to change our thinking and really shine a light on the value that a person Employed by Life brings to the work force.

Gaps Happen

Gaps in work history happen for all kinds of reasons, whether forced or planned. Instead of fudging the dates to close the gap in time, use it as an opportunity to list skills that you have accumulated during this transition time, then highlight your accomplishments and skills gained. We firmly believe that every experience can be applied to the corporate world.

A person that has spent any amount of time without paid employment typically did not just sit around waiting for the next job to knock on their door. Whether or not their time off was voluntarily, they gained many valuable skills. Combine those skills with a renewed zest for rejoining the workforce and they quite possibly will become the most treasured employee.

Examples of Employed by Life Experiences

Family

Source: hsc.unt.edu

Raising children is the ultimate job – you making an impact on the next generation. It takes a 24/7 commitment, and all the training is on-the-job.  No two days are ever the same. Talk about being able to multitask under pressure!

Keeping the attention of a group of 3 year olds for any length of time is like herding ducks. This person must be engaging, the ultimate in multitasking, while giving a presentation and not losing those that are paying attention. They must be constantly on the lookout for those charges that are becoming disinterested or distractedly wandering off. We want that person’s intuitive abilities in my company. They can think on their feet, discern when a client’s interest flags or when that client is ripe for the close.

Caring for an aging or seriously ill family member requires another set of underrated skills. Researching the illness, the treatments, the care requirements, organizing medications, patient needs, and nutrition are just a few of the critical tasks. The compassion and commitment that it takes is something that you simply cannot teach a person, and is a beautiful thing when you encounter it. Typically this person is proactive, organized, and fiscally responsible, they tend to enjoy life, and above all they are tenacious (have you ever had to deal with insurance companies to get tests approved or medications covered?).

During your time off did you take on any special projects, manage a household, oversee a home remodel, or even plant a garden? All of these activities say something about you and help contribute to why you are ready to re-enter the workforce now.

 

3 Steps to Translate Employed by Life Experiences into Job Market Skills

Step 1. Be honest… don’t hide the reality.

There is a tendency to be vague or leave out the details of what really took place while you were away from the job market. Give this period of time-off a name, such as: family management, sabbatical, or leave of absence. The state of the economy during the last four years has resulted in historically high unemployment rates. Subsequently, employers are more understanding about gaps in employment, but they will never appreciate dishonesty or excuses. Employers are far more interested in what you did during the gap, not why the gap exists.

Step 2. Make a comprehensive list of all your accomplishments.

Take the time to carefully consider everything you did during your time away from paid employment. Discuss your ideas with a spouse or friend; they may identify skills or achievements that you may have otherwise overlooked. Chances are you will discover that you have been one very busy person!

Make a list of all that you have done, for example:

  • Cared for an ill family member or aging parent
  • Managed a home remodeling project
  • Raised your children and ran a household
  • Volunteered: scout leader, PTA position, charities

Step 3. List your skills, expertise, and abilities

Now create an all-inclusive list of all the skills, expertise, and abilities needed or acquired during each event list above, such as:

  • Organized information
  • Managed others
  • Oversaw a budget
  • Contracted with other companies
  • Negotiated with insurance providers

In summary, you have just identified valuable skills that can now be translated to the job market. By listing each activity, how it was performed and the value that it represents as job worthy skills.

I challenge you to be bold enough to list Employed by Life under “Work Experience” on your resume. It is time we embrace our valuable roles in life and acknowledge that they shape who we are today: capable, multidimensional, experienced individuals!

About the Author

Teri Hockett

Teri Hockett is the CEO of What’s For Work? The Premier Career Site for Women.

About What’s For Work?

The Premier Career Site for Women. Real People. Real Connections. Real Support. — with everything in one place! http://www.whatsforwork.com/

Mission: To redefine how employers acquire talent and women find and preserve their dream jobs using innovative technologies.

Company Overview: What’s For Work? helps women take control of their careers by providing a rich set of tools that develop their knowledge, skills and confidence they need to land and preserve their dream jobs.
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6 Steps to Embrace Change in the Workplace


By Teri Hockett

Are you one of those people that fear any change, whether it is new employees, new policies, or new ways of doing the same job? You feel comfortable in a familiar routine, and when that balance is threatened, you resist. Your attitude probably changes and not in a positive way. You may engage in negative conversations with family, peers, coworkers and management. You may even find ways to sabotage the success of the change.

All of these behaviors can dramatically affect your career growth and possibly the longevity of your career with a particular company.

First and foremost, realize that any company that makes the effort to make changes means that they are open to making things better. While the current change might not be the most effective or advantageous in your workplace, the next change might be the right one.

The key is to become part of the solution, and be open minded to the possibilities. This will result in an opportunity for you to show off your team skills, which might lead to career advancement. Opportunities present themselves when you become part of the solution and avoid impeding the flow.

Get in front or you may be left behind

Stop listing reasons why the change won’t work and avoid hanging with others that feel the same way. Look for people that embrace the change, ask questions about the big picture, and gather facts…not feelings. Remember that others could be feeling the stress of the change as well, so be ready with a friendly smile and a professional attitude – not everything has to change.

Start by asking questions. Is there is a transition plan for the change? If it’s a big change, there should be milestones. Is there a timeline for the implementation? Will the people who are directly affected receive support and any training necessary to the success of the transition? Will there be a significant event to indicate the end of the transition and the success of the change?

Be on the lookout for new opportunities; make suggestions that will enhance the success of the transition. Get noticed for your open and positive attitude.

6 Steps to Embrace Change in the Workplace

  1. Determine what exactly is changing and what is not
  2. Ask who is affected by the change
  3. Find out when the change starts, and what signifies the transition is complete and successful
  4. Be an early supporter, ask what can you do to assure the success of the change
  5. Be patient and flexible as management executes the change
  6. Volunteer to take the lead in helping to implement or champion the change

About the Author

Teri Hockett

Teri Hockett is the CEO of What’s For Work? The Premier Career Site for Women.

About What’s For Work?

The Premier Career Site for Women. Real People. Real Connections. Real Support. — with everything in one place! http://www.whatsforwork.com/

Mission: To redefine how employers acquire talent and women find and preserve their dream jobs using innovative technologies.

Company Overview: What’s For Work? helps women take control of their careers by providing a rich set of tools that develop their knowledge, skills and confidence they need to land and preserve their dream jobs.
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Relaunching Your Career (3 of 3)


By Teri Hockett

Relaunching your career is a major change in your life. The last two weeks you cleared the calender then learned tips on sharing your news with the family and enlisting their support. This is the final blog of the series that addresses the three major steps to help you relaunch your career.

Step 3- Create Your Own Career Management Team

Build Your Team

Source: mscareergirl.com

One thing I learned from my hours of research is that re-entering the workplace or finding a job in general can be a lonely experience. Support is critical to many aspects of the process.

Support can be found in many places, such as friends, family, previous work associates or bosses. Locate someone who currently works in the field that you want to get into and ask for their help. Your team should consist of people who can help you manage your career and launch an effective job search. Being part of a team makes the journey that much more enjoyable and you can achieve so much more.

Access your career management team to have discussions about Step 1: Make finding a job your job! Carve out the time in your life/schedule, and Step 2: Talk to your family. Your team would be a great place to identify your dream job, discuss your passions and expand your search.

Women chatting

Source: connectingtowomen.com

Team members are an excellent source for help with reviewing and editing resumes and covers letters. They can also help you prepare for job interviews by running mock interviews, along with asking questions afterwards such as:

  • What went well?
  • What did not?
  • What would you do differently?

A team can greatly improve your odds of reentering the workplace quickly and make the process a lot more fun! I believe it’s true that “two heads are better than one” especially in this case. Also, having to be accountable to someone will help keep you motivated and on track. Most importantly, it will get you out of the house!

So, you have cleared your calendar, shared the news with your family and created your career managment team – let the search begin!

About the Author

Teri Hockett

Teri Hockett is the CEO of What’s For Work? The Premier Career Site for Women.

About What’s For Work?

The Premier Career Site for Women. Real People. Real Connections. Real Support. — with everything in one place! http://www.whatsforwork.com/

Mission: To redefine how employers acquire talent and women find and preserve their dream jobs using innovative technologies.

Company Overview: What’s For Work? helps women take control of their careers by providing a rich set of tools that develop their knowledge, skills and confidence they need to land and preserve their dream jobs.
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Re-launching Your Career (2 of 3)


By Teri Hockett

Re-launching your career is a major change in your life. Last week you cleared the calendar, this week you will learn tips on sharing your news with the family and enlisting their support. This is the second blog in a series of three that addresses the three major steps to help you re-launch your career.

Step 2- Talk to your family

The next thing you need to do is sit down and have a conversation with your family about what you’re doing. One of the challenges faced by women (or anyone who is out of work) returning to the workplace – is that all of a sudden their loving, supportive family turns into one of the biggest obstacles to their success.

The reason is simple. If you’ve been home for a few years or even a few months you are the one who is expected to do all of the things they have not had to do for themselves. You make dinner, pick up the dry cleaning, walk the dog, drive carpool, shop for groceries, and take the car in for service. The list goes on and on.

Family chores

Source: kids.lovetoknow.com

This may seem obvious but women tell us all the time that this is one of the first and most formidable challenges they (and the family) face when the decision is made to return to work. Even just the discussion of returning to work can wreak havoc in the household.

The best way to minimize frustration and stress is to recognize that there will be changes which will likely require everyone to take on new/additional responsibilities. Address these changes up front through open communication.

Let them know how much time you need to work on your job search and what your schedule looks like. Tell them when you are “not available”, even if you are home.  When they come to you with questions or requests like they are accustomed to doing, you may need to remind them, perhaps with a pre-arranged silent signal, that you are working.  It may take a while to transition from the habits that have been formed during the time you have been at home. Letting them know and being clear about when you are and are not available will make it easier for everyone.

By the way, if you are someone who has developed a full social or volunteer calendar since the last time you worked in the business community, you will need to take some time to assess which commitments you can realistically maintain.  There is only one you, and your plate can only hold so much, so you will likely need to make some choices. Be sure to have a similar conversation with all your friends and others who depend on you.

Finally, as you delegate some of your current tasks to others like your spouse or children, keep your expectations realistic. It is possible, even likely, that they will not do the same job you would do. This can be a great opportunity for the family to learn from one another and appreciate each other.

Next week: Create Your Own Career Management Team.

About the Author

Teri Hockett

Teri Hockett is the CEO of What’s For Work? The Premier Career Site for Women.

About What’s For Work?

The Premier Career Site for Women. Real People. Real Connections. Real Support. — with everything in one place! http://www.whatsforwork.com/

Mission: To redefine how employers acquire talent and women find and preserve their dream jobs using innovative technologies.

Company Overview: What’s For Work? helps women take control of their careers by providing a rich set of tools that develop their knowledge, skills and confidence they need to land and preserve their dream jobs.
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Relaunching Your Career (1 of 3)


By Teri Hockett

Over the next three weeks I will address the three major steps to help you relaunch your career.

The thought of Re-entering the workplace can be daunting, at best, especially if you have been at home for several years. I know it was for me. I had left a successful and fulfilling job to raise my two children.

When I first thought about going back to work it was not only scary, but honestly, a bit overwhelming as well. I was plagued by a multitude of questions:

  • Where do I begin?
  • What do I do?
  • Are my skills still relevant?
  • How have things changed?
  • Do I need to go back to school?
  • Will I need new clothes –fortunately, this was an easy one 😉

The more I looked, it seems the less I found. There was no one place that addressed the issues experienced by a mom returning to the workplace after 12 years. So when I came across Dennis Thompson, of Thompson Associates and author of Four Degrees to Your Dream Job, it was kismet. Together we created a step by step process to help anyone get into the job market – no matter how long they have been out.

Step 1- Make finding a job your job! Carve out the time in your life/schedule.

Start by thinking of your job search as your new job and treat it as such. Schedule a minimum of 4- 6 hours a day to work on your job search in addition to anytime you will spend interviewing and commuting to and from meetings, interviews etc. If, in fact, you will commit six hours minimum each day, five days a week it will only be a short time before you find yourself employed.

So, take your calendar out and block out 9 am to 1 pm, Monday through Friday. Now take a look at all your other activities during that time, gym, walk the dog, coffee with the girlfriends, the list goes on and on. Now start moving all those extra activities to another time slot or off the calendar altogether. Set yourself up for success and give yourself the time to be sucessful.

Home Office

Source: kids.lovetoknow.com

BTW- if this seems like a lot, ask yourself, how much time did you or the average person spend on a full time job? Generally the answer is about eight to ten hours, plus commute. It is simple and it’s your choice – however, if you are serious about finding work as fast as possible you will need to put in the time.

Your day time hours are sacred. This is the only time you will have to make calls, receive calls and go to appointments. Remember also that it will take some time to understand, get comfortable and become effective at conducting your job search. It may have been a long time since you’ve had to do this, or may have never done it before. Give yourself room to make mistakes. Expect it to take some time and to have to work / practice to get back in the swing of things again and get good at the job of finding a job.

Next week: Talk to your family.

About the Author

Teri Hockett

Teri Hockett is the CEO of What’s For Work? The Premier Career Site for Women.

About What’s For Work?

The Premier Career Site for Women. Real People. Real Connections. Real Support. — with everything in one place! http://www.whatsforwork.com/

Mission: To redefine how employers acquire talent and women find and preserve their dream jobs using innovative technologies.

Company Overview: What’s For Work? helps women take control of their careers by providing a rich set of tools that develop their knowledge, skills and confidence they need to land and preserve their dream jobs.
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