Monday, April 1, 2013

Return of the working mom: Benefitting from that entry-level job

With more mothers re-entering the workforce after a long absence, many find themselves having to start at the entry level. This is a difficult step for those who had advanced in their careers before they turned to a life of domestic duty. Starting over is challenging when that nagging conscious reminds you how far you could have progressed had you stayed on your original career path. As amateurish as entry-level positions may initially feel, they can pave the way to better job opportunities.

As many returning professionals soon discover, the workplace has changed dramatically over the past decade. Workers no longer follow specific instructions or fulfill responsibilities with the same traditional standards of the past. Today’s work environment is all about self-motivation. Employees work independently so they can help improve processes and eliminate inefficiencies.

The advantage to starting at the bottom gives returning professionals the opportunity to acquaint themselves with this new environment. Moving directly into an advanced position may potentially lead to career suicide, especially if it requires responsibilities beyond one’s experience. Starting at the bottom of the career ladder rung does not have to be limiting. There are several steps returning professionals can take to stay stimulated:

·         Make yourself available for any open projects. If an opportunity arises that will lead to learning new skills or showing off the ones you already have, jump on the chance to prove your worth for promotion. Management will appreciate you for taking the initiative and it will get you noticed.

·         Take advantage of any professional training the company offers. Many companies now invest in onsite courses that offer training in various software and certification programs at no cost to employees. Other firms are willing to reimburse workers for completed course work. Ask your human resource department if they provide these benefits.

·         Share your career goals with your reporting managers. They are much more interested in your goals than they can admit. They are eager to cultivate ambitious employees and keep them on board, especially if you show an interest in continuous learning. There is a growing fear of a skills gap that can potentially inhibit a company’s future growth. Smart businesses identify ambitious employees and mentor them on a career path to internal promotion, because external talent is costly to recruit.

Starting from square one is difficult and at times demotivating. By taking advantage of available opportunities, returning professionals can gain new insight and build skills that will propel them toward a promising career path.

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