Raising a family requires a large time commitment, and lots of hard work! Now that the kids have left the nest, how do you translate this work experience to a job with an actual paycheck? First of all, you need to decide what your focus will be. Make a list of at least ten of your favorite hobbies, duties and activities. Rank them from #1 (most favorite) to #10 (least favorite). Of course you can adjust the numbers. This is a brainstorming session, and the more items you can put on this list, the more effective this activity will be!
A sample list might look like this:
- Baking (9)
- Fundraising (7)
- Sewing (3)
- Mentoring (8)
- Helping with homework (4)
- Planning parties (10)
- Vice President of Neighborhood Association (6)
- Painting murals (1)
- Organizing kids rooms (5)
- Home decorating (2)
In this list, it appears that the person is a creative type who has a flair for decorating. This ability could be translated into becoming a custom mural painter, a professional organizer, a sewing teacher, costume designer for a dance troupe….the possibilities are only limited by the imagination.
If you need additional help finding focus, there are several helpful books on careers, including, “What Color Is Your Parachute? 2004: A Practical Guide for Job-Hunters and Career Changers” by Richard Nelson Bolles and “Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You through the Secrets of Personality Type” edited by Deborah Baker. Once you have found your focus, think of who can help you accomplish your goal. It helps to talk with friends who know you well, because they may think of possibilities that you may not have even imagined.
Get out your address book and put check marks next to anyone who is familiar with your work in the area of your focus or who works in a field pertaining to your new career. Contact these people and let them know that you are thinking about entering the job market as a costume designer (or whatever you have chosen). They will know even more people who can help you make the contacts that you need to find the perfect position! People who have known you for a while also make good references. If you have worked with a person on a project, they are familiar with your work and can be counted as a professional reference.
Join professional organizations in your new field. They offer the opportunity to attend trade conferences, increase your networking and can round out a resume nicely. They also give you the chance to learn trade lingo and gain insider knowledge. Put together a resume. If you are not certain where to start, there are professional resume building services available. Other resources available are resume and cover letter books, such as Resumes for Dummies and Cover Letters for Dummies by Joyce Lain Kennedy. Once you have developed your resume, send them out! Don’t make the mistake of relying solely on classified advertisements. Identify companies that you would like to work with and start making contact. People admire go-getters!
If the idea of working for someone else doesn’t appeal to you, don’t discount the idea of starting your own business. Today, women are starting their own businesses in record numbers. Again, contacts and networking are important. If you decide to start your own business, join your local Chamber of Commerce. Some larger cities even have Chambers of Commerce specifically for women business owners. Don’t underestimate yourself. Remember that you are a career changer, not a beginner in the game of life! You have plenty of marketable skills. The trick is to identify them, focus on one and market yourself!