Twitter can be a fascinating place—especially because you have to contain your profile to a mini bio of 160 characters or less. (Look at mine if you’re interested—and click to follow me, too!)
One Twitter profile I read recently belongs to a woman who left the work force and she noted “I used to be interesting”. I found this a sad commentary on the confidence plunge that occurs when women leave the workforce. It’s obviously not true that only people who work are interesting—but sometimes women are made to feel that way when they don’t have something compelling to offer up in cocktail party conversation.
When confidence impaired women want to return to the workforce, they’re at a significant disadvantage. Employers want to hire people who are confident about the skills and experience they’ve amassed—in or out of the workforce.
What to do if you’re singing the “I’m less than” blues? Look for self-help confidence boosters—there are plenty around in books, on web sites and through the services of a career or life coach.
No-cost options include an array of blog sites targeted to women returning to the workforce. Make sure you have read everything for women “Itching to Work Again” on this 9 Lives for Women site, and also check out “30 Must-Read Blogs for Moms Who Are Returning to Work” on the Share A Nanny site.
Then get your hands on the book, I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know. In the November, 2012 issue of Women’s Health magazine there was a great excerpt from this book, “7 Ways to Look and Sound Powerful”. As this article notes,
“when you radiate strength through your physical actions, such as your body language and your voice, you signal to those around you that you are the person in charge and you deserve respect.”
Once you’re sending off those confidence signals, you’re really ready to begin your back to work search. One of your first stops should be your former employer—where you’ll find friendly faces who remember your skills and expertise. Many large companies are actually reaching out to female employees who left for family reasons and seeing if they are ready to return. (The management consulting firm, McKinsey, is just one example.)
You may have absolutely no interest in returning to your former employer, but the point is to build your confidence by first having conversations with people who know you well. Among these familiar faces you’re more apt to remember all the important things you’ve done in your time out of the workforce—and realize you’re still quite interesting after all. –KAS