Divorce shakes the very foundation of the life you built and leads to huge changes for you and your family — including your employment status. Whether you left your job to deal with this difficult time or you’re facing a new financial reality after your divorce, you may find yourself needing to re-enter the workforce after divorce.
You may dread the mere prospect of job hunting. You may feel unqualified and unprepared compared to your peers who haven’t been out of work. But even if you are financially secure, rejoining the workforce can rejuvenate your social life, give you a renewed sense of purpose, and give you a chance to explore yourself in this new phase of life. Either way, you’ll need to prepare yourself before jumping back in.
Here are a few things to consider when re-entering the workforce after divorce:
Decide What You Want to Do
Before anything else, take some time to think about what kind of job you want to pursue. Do you want to go back to a similar position you held in the past? Do you want to work in the same industry? Do you want to try something completely different? Are you looking for part-time work or a full-time job? Are you looking to work in a niche that you are passionate about? Are you hoping to relaunch your career?
Be sure to think about what you need post-divorce as well. Do you need a job that provides flexible hours so you can devote more time to caring for your children? Do you need a job that offers healthcare? While it’s important to find a job that you enjoy doing, you also have to be able to support yourself and your family. In addition, don’t rush yourself; consider all of your options. This is your livelihood, and you should take the time to determine what kind of job would be the best fit for you.
Begin your search! Familiarize yourself with what positions are currently open and what organizations in your chosen industry are hiring. Don’t forget to update your resume to reflect your experience since your last job and tailor it specifically to each position you apply for.
If you are applying to positions in different fields, be sure to highlight your different skills relevant to that industry. For example, if you are looking to re-enter the public health sector, it’s important to discuss your hands-on experience in addition to your education, as many public health positions will require a certain amount of professional, as well as academic, expertise.
On the other hand, if you are attempting to enter a new industry, such as customer support, you will need to make your resume and application stand out in other ways — especially if you don’t have much experience in that field. Expressing your enthusiasm for the position and demonstrating any knowledge you’ve gained about the customer service industry can still show your passion even if you lack experience.
Get Ready to Interview
As you start your applications, get yourself ready for the interview process. Don’t let the thought of a job interview cause you undue stress. As long as you prepare ahead of time, they don’t have to be anxiety-inducing. Find the right interview outfit, gather copies of your resume, and practice your answers to commonly asked questions.
Focus on showcasing your experience, skills, and personality, which is what interviewers typically want to see. Your confidence may be lower than usual after your divorce, but try to put your best foot forward and sell yourself as the best candidate for the job.
Be open about the gap in your employment history and the reason for it. You may feel intimidated to open up to strangers about your divorce or mention it in application materials, but most people will be understanding and appreciate your honesty.
Wait for the Right Opportunity
Be patient and wait for the right opportunity to come along. You have just had a huge change in your life and should avoid rushing into something new (unless, of course, you need to start working as soon as possible). Finding the best job for you and your needs takes time and effort. Jumping into a job that you aren’t excited about or that doesn’t suit your new needs will only cause you stress in the long run.
If you receive a job offer or two that you aren’t sure about, take as much time as possible to think it over before making a decision. You may still feel emotional or simply not ready to make a choice just yet. Don’t be afraid to ask for more time to consider the offer. As long as you are grateful and enthusiastic about the offer and ask in a professional, polite way, most employers will be happy to give you more time to think it over.
Divorce can be traumatic, and job hunting can be difficult. You will be better able to deal with these life-changing and stressful events if you spend time focusing on yourself. Set aside time to slow down, relax, and take care of yourself. Always make time for activities that you like doing and spend time with your loved ones — you deserve it. After all, living a life you enjoy is just as important as finding a job after your divorce.