For many individuals, going through a divorce means re-entering the workforce after several years of absence. Like parents who go back to work after taking several years off to raise a child, divorcees re-entering the job market face a tough battle. Regardless of your educational background, finding a financially viable job may take time and perseverance.
Here are the steps you need to hit the ground running and maybe even find your best life:
1. Put on your game face. You’re a divorcee. You have been through one of the toughest situations life can throw at you. During this time, financial insecurity, lost confidence, and other emotional insecurities may weigh heavily on your heart. You have two options: you can let your divorce define you, or you can take action and reinvent yourself. Take some time to build yourself up, and then take action.
2. Get in touch with people. Social support is a fantastic way to overcome the emotional difficulties of divorce. Coincidentally, it’s also a way to network. Call on your immediate support group to help you get back out into the world. Volunteer somewhere, take a class, and make a point to engage with new people every week. For many people, this is much easier said than done, so make it a non-negotiable goal. If you want to find meaningful work, you’ll probably need some human connections to make it happen.
3. Don’t let distractions prevent you from taking action. Self-help books can lift you up, but they can also become a safe haven for insecure job-seekers. You feel as though you’re doing something productive when it may only delay the inevitable. Take a few minutes a day for philosophical discovery, but try to learn as much as possible from interpersonal, real-world experiences.
4. Layout your skills. Sit down and write out your transferrable skills, focusing both on hard and soft skills that employers want to see. Look for examples of times you took initiative, whether it was for a church bake sale or a youth sports team. Ask others to help you define your assets if you have difficulty seeing them. If you don’t have computer skills, take a class and practice so you can feel confident using current technology—almost every job requires a degree of comfort with technology.
5. Discover your worth in today’s market. Do you have a degree that you haven’t used in a while or particular skills you learned as a hobby? Look up current career and salary information using the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook and independent salary websites.
6. View a new job as an adventure, not a chore. Look for jobs that you may not have considered the last time you were employed. Having to work and earn a paycheck is about regaining your independence and sense of self. Use this opportunity to redefine yourself as the person you’ve always wanted to be, and you may discover newfound meaning in the job search process.
7. Practice interviewing. Interviews are often the scariest part of the job search process. Ask friends and family members to interview you, and repeat the exercise until you feel confident that you’re ready for any job interview.
8. Invest in yourself. You need to feel your best when you go in for an interview. Get in the gym, purchase a new outfit, and treat yourself to a haircut. Sometimes, getting a different look will help you feel the part and do what it takes to get back out there.
Life after a divorce is different, but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Courage to re-enter the job market comes from within. Empower yourself to become independent and start living the life you choose.