Q: I'm thinking of taking a few years off from work to care for my newborn. I'm keen to return to work in three to four years' time, but am afraid that I will be marginalised then.
What can I do to keep myself marketable and ease my re-entry into the workforce?
A: Congratulations on the arrival of your precious baby. The most important thing to consider is whether you have time to provide childcare for your baby. There are two options that you can consider.
If you have suitable childcare, you may consider working with these flexible work arrangements:
If your job, company and team support part-time work, you can consider it and spend some time at home devoted to childcare. Work-from-homeIf your job, company and team support working from home, either on a full-time or part-time basis, you can consider this.
The above options will enable you to remain in the workforce while having some time for childcare.
However, if you prefer to dedicate time fully to childcare for a few years, here are some steps to help you.
Continue to network
Continue to meet friends, colleagues or former employers to build the relationship. You can also tap on social media, such as Facebook, to keep in touch.
This way, you could be kept informed of short-term projects that you can work on from home.
Take time to reconnect with friends from other social circles, such as school. When you are ready to return to work, you can seek their help to look for opportunities.
Take part in professional programmnes
Get onto a mailing list or a Facebook page of organisations related to your line of work, or government bodies that offer seminars and training.
Make an effort to attend an event at least twice a year to improve your skills and knowledge.
It is also a good opportunity to network with industry contacts and potential employers. The programmes will help you keep in touch with the latest happenings in the market.
Go for self-development programmes
Once you have settled into a child- care routine, ask your relatives, neighbours, friends or a childcare centre for occasional help so that you can embark on self-development programmes that will give you relevant skills to help you return to the workforce.
Then, accelerate your learning pace once you have decided to return to work.
Get ready for your return
In addition to preparing your child and family for your return to work, register your intention with various organisations that assist in job searches, such as the Singapore Workforce Development Agency and recruitment companies.
Do attend job-preparation courses, such as for resume writing and interview skills.
In conclusion, if you have decided to take time off your career, make those years enriching.
This will prepare you for a return to work and the experiences will be useful for your job applications.
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For information on career opportunities, visit the website of recruitment and human-resource consultancy The GMP Group at www.gmprecruit.com