5 Top Tips for Parents Returning to Work

Returning to Work
Natalie Mallory

Most of us can relate to the feeling of uncertainty when starting a new job or returning to work after a break, and so the idea of going back to work after years of bringing up children can be extremely daunting.

At Merlin Entertainments we employee many parents who have decided to return to work on either a full time or part time basis, and we recognise just how important it is to provide those employees with manageable and rewarding career opportunities.

So here are our top tips for parents looking to return to work…

  1. Acknowledge your new skills!

Being a parent and managing a household is not a piece of cake, and in order to successfully navigate the outgoing bills, maintenance appointments, food ordering and school pickups, you need to have some great logistical skills, budgeting ability, and not to mention patience! So just because you might have been out of ‘work’ for a few years, that doesn’t mean you weren’t working – and it’s very important you recognise that when writing your cover letter and CV.

2. Don’t sell yourself short

Acknowledging your skills is just the tip of the iceberg, however, because you must also find a way to articulate those skills to your potential employer during an interview process. In order to be successful at this you need to think about how the skills you’ve learned whilst being a ‘stay at home parent’ can transfer towards the job you’re applying to. For example, perhaps you honed your stakeholder and time management abilities when you organised a charity event for the parents at school, and this links in to the Client facing role you’re applying to?

Whatever you do, don’t sell yourself short in your CV, and really have a think about how everything you’ve been doing could relate to the job you’re looking to start.

3.    Find the right working pattern

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In 2019 there are lots of employers, like Merlin Entertainments, that try to accommodate and support parents by offering them a manageable working pattern that gives them a good work / life balance. However, not every company advertises this in their job postings, and so it’s important that you’re never afraid to ask about their flexibility.

You may be hesitant to apply for a role because the hours are 9am – 5pm which clashes with the school run, but unless you ask the question you won’t find out that they’re actually happy for you to work 10am– 6pm instead. Never be ashamed to ask about flexibility, as finding the right working pattern is extremely important for both you and your employer.

4.   Refresh your skills

There are some hard skills which will almost always be needed for certain jobs; for example a supply chain analyst needs to know pivot tables, and an administrator needs to know Microsoft Office. So if you’ve been out of work for some time it’s a good idea to brush up on your skills to make sure you’re up to date on any significant changes since you’ve been away… You might think using Excel is like riding a bike, but it’s best to be prepared for any tests that may come your way in an interview. There are lots of free tests you can find online, and also learning resources to teach yourself new skills, for example on LinkedIn Learning. And remember, the more you brush up on your skills the more confident you’ll feel, and the better you’ll do in interviews!

5.    Evaluate your career goals

Before you had children perhaps you were working as a finance analyst at a Bank, commuting into London. But now you’re going back to work, try to resist the pressure to go back to the same company, in the same role. Whilst you’re doing your research into jobs and companies, take that time to really think about what you’re good at and what you enjoy. You might be surprised how different your ideal job is today than it was before having children, and that’s ok!

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At Merlin Entertainments we hire parents form a variety of different career backgrounds, who are now looking for a role where they can be sociable and have customer contact. We firmly believe that there’s a job out there for everyone, so make sure you know what you want before you start applying as this is the prime opportunity.

*Are you looking to return to work? Discover all the exciting opportunities we have to offer here.