Anyone who’s has returned or is looking to return to work after having a family will know it can be a very daunting and upsetting time. The demands of a new job or returning to an old job and catching up can be very stressful. It’s also a period of internal juggling – sorting out childcare, working out the costs and stressing about school holidays for example.

However, it can also be incredibly rewarding as a VST return to work Mum attests:
“I go to work for a rest! I look forward to my shift at VST as it allows me to leave my mum hat at the door and pick it up on the way out, whilst also feeling like I have achieved something for myself…”

If you are looking to take that big step towards reintroducing yourself into the work environment then our top tips might help:

Choosing the right time to return
Is there really ever a ‘right time’ to return to work? It varies from person to person and for some people it never feels 100% right. If you’re about 80% there then seize the bull by the horns. It’s worth remembering that you may not find exactly what you’re looking for immediately but that is normal with any return to work after a long absence. Make sure you give the job enough time to allow yourself to bed back into the working environment and atmosphere.

Reconnect with the ‘working you’ and acknowledge your newly acquired skills
When you’ve been out of the workplace for a few months it’s easy to forget all those skills and the experience you acquired before you swapped the Blackberry for nappies and dummies. However, it does give you some skills that you might not have had before, or has honed these skills. Creative problem solving, people skills, the ability to multi task as well as effective time management are all key elements of being at home with children. In order to get properly prepared, dig out all your old work stuff: CV’s, appraisals, testimonials and reconnect with the working you.  Refresh your CV and add the skills you have acquired or improved since becoming a parent. Schedule some time for you – bring yourself up to speed with the latest news about your industry and familiarise yourself with work applications again.

Communicate your new skills
As with any potential applicant, it’s really important to think about how you would communicate fitting into a role to your prospective employer. Consider how your skills as a mother are directly applicable to work such as organisational, multitasking, effective time management etc. These words are all like gold dust to a prospective employer!

Job hunt creatively
Utilise all the different online job avenues e.g. job sites such as Reed and Monster as well as LinkedIn and Facebook. Also try different job hunting approaches such as word of mouth, keeping in touch with old colleagues and managers, and contacting organisations where your skills and background is relevant on a speculative basis. Consider more old school methods too – if you are looking to work within a particular location, print out some letters and post to businesses with your updated CV. You might find that you are the candidate that a business was looking for but hadn’t yet gotten round to recruiting. Most importantly, keep going and don’t give up! 40% of our team came as referrals from existing staff.

Asking for flexible work
Don’t be afraid to ask for flexible working. Flexible hours can mean different things to different people; not everyone seeking flexible work is a mum – there are dads, retired individuals and city high flyers who want to work in a different way. Think about the working pattern which will suit you best to create the perfect work life/balance.

About VST
VST take into account the personal lives of team members and accommodate flexible working hours wherever possible. We know from experience that offering flexible working, which fits into the lives of our staff, make for a happy, healthy and productive workforce.

For more information about flexible working at VST, visit our Careers page