How to build confidence to return to work

How to build confidence to return to work
Toluwani Akaehomen

As one who was once a stay-at-home mom before returning to work and then starting my own business, I’m passionate about supporting women in successfully navigating the often quite challenging terrain of returning to work.

When I began to think seriously about returning to work, one of the facts that I quickly had to come to terms with was that, despite my skillset and previous work experience,  I had lost a measure of the self-confidence I had before my career break. Plus, my industry knowledge needed updating and my skills needed honing. I needed help with gaining the confidence and competence to return to work.

Anecdotal evidence indicates that a woman’s self-confidence  nosedives during a career break, and it can become a major hurdle to cross during the transition process to re-enter the labour market.

In this piece, I share some practical ways to build your confidence again for the world of work.

1. Create goals around your career plan, which would necessitate that you –
– Put pen to paper and write down exactly when you intend to return to work – be clear about whether you want to return to the same area of work/industry or if you want to explore a new/different area/industry.
–  Identify the skills, knowledge and competency gap. In other words, what does this line of work require that you do not currently have?

– Map out how the skills gap will be addressed – How do you gain those skills and competencies?

  • Ensure that your goals are SMART(ER)- Specific, measurable, action-based, realistic, time-based, (Explainable – so others can get your motivation and be able to support you adequately; Relevant – closely connected/well synced with where you want to get to)

2. Start to intentionally boost/build up your self-concept by reading, listening to and watching inspirational/motivational materials, podcasts, videos. What you constantly expose yourself to is a significant determinant of your way of thinking and living.

3. Find an opportunity to volunteer your skills and services. A small business that can’t afford to pay staff would find your help invaluable.

4. Build your digital footprint by become active on a professional social media platform like LinkedIn.

5. Deliberately build a new circle of support/friends and contacts/network to amplify your presence.

6. Engage the services of a career success coach.

As I work with my team this year to support women returning to work, I offer a free coaching ticket worth €120 to five women looking to go back to work.  To be eligible, register and attend the BEINSPIRED 2019 seminar/workshop taking place on 26th of January in Dublin. It’s an opportunity not to be missed!

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