It is challenging going back to work during or post-divorce, especially when you have had a hiatus for a decade or two. Your co-workers may be close in age to your children and your boss could be twenty years younger than you.
Before you step foot in the office, do a little homework. My local community college has a free service in writing a resume. The advisor was a magician in writing mine, emphasizing my volunteer experiences along with my paid jobs. They will help write a cover letter if you have a job in mind.
Many places do aptitude testing, guiding one to careers that are in line with strengths and talents. Also check if there is a non-profit helping women to get back into the job market. One in my city even specializes helping women over fifty trying to get back into a career. They have leads and can give advice. One place to call is United Way who has a list of local non-profits who can be of assistance.
1. Brush up on skills and update your computer knowledge. You can pay your kid or a neighbor computer geek to teach you new computer tricks. A company may not expect you to know their specific program, but will want you to be proficient with general computer usage. I took some short non-credit computer courses at my community college. Learn programs such as Quick Books and ask people in your profession for other ones that they recommend. One boss let a woman go on her first day because she could not even insert an attachment to an e-mail.
2. Ask a fashion savvy friend to inspect your wardrobe. You may want to buy a few special work/interview outfits or at least have some contemporary accessories. Larger department stores have a personal shopper to give you advice and put different pieces together to stretch your wardrobe. They are used to working within various budgets and pull clothes from different departments.
These women can recommend what is worth spending more on and what can be cheaper, such as tops. Along this line is sprucing up your appearance. Is your hairstyle and make up from the 90’s? I went to a store’s cosmetic counter and had a mini facial and makeover. I discovered that I required an eyebrow pencil since my blonde eyebrows are almost non-existent. This warm and wonderful cosmetician gave astute advice for a more professional look.
3. Practice doing mock interviews with friends. An acquaintance did an online search for the ten most common questions asked in interviews. She practiced until becoming quite comfortable. She was ecstatic when these same ones were asked in the interview and she nailed it. She enjoys her new job. Are you on LinkedIn? Some Head Hunters peruse this site for potential job candidates and interviewers look at it to check on their job applicants.
4. Join your professional organization for job leads, if unemployed, and for new advances in your field. Networking is important today for more visibility in your industry and for getting new business. It is social as well as business, so make sure that you do not come on too strongly.
Networking is like money in the bank, you do not need it now, but it will come in handy at some point down the road. MeetUp.com has a Women’s Transition Network group, who have people looking for jobs, divorced, or have just moved to a new location. They have been invaluable for support and ideas for the second edition of my book. People are in many fields and give support and understanding.
5. On the job, do not join any cliques right away. Be friendly to all and see who is an ally and who might be a gossip or trouble maker. You do not want to align yourself with a co-worker immediately and then find out she has a personality disorder and is avoided. It is hard to disentangle yourself from a person or group at a later point. You will not win any Brownie Points if you refuse to do some more menial tasks or act like you are above them.
Be pleasant and seek clarity if unsure of some points on the job. I worked with a know-it-all and she was not popular. Join co-workers, if even only occasionally, for lunch or after work activities. Many things in life also apply to jobs, have nice manners and do not be a slob. The Golden Rule is applicable in the office.
Be careful what you put on social media sites, especially no tipsy or sexy photos. Do not diss your job or boss, because then you may find yourself unemployed. If having problems getting back into job market or with your work, consider going to a career coach to get you back on track.