Staying current with regards to market trends, industry knowledge and new skills is vital for securing your job or re-entering the marketplace, but it can equally help to advance your career and earning potential.
The enormous lifestyle adjustment after having children takes time and patience getting used to for busy new moms. For career moms, the Holy Grail is to be a mother whilst still maintaining a career. This is often more easily said than done.
Rapidly changing job functions and new technology and developments mean that losing your competitive edge can happen in a frighteningly short space of time.
For anyone walking the tightrope between work and family balance, however, finding additional time to remain up to speed can be a challenge. How best to keep abreast of market trends, fast-changing technology, and expertise in the time between leaving a permanent job and returning back to the workplace after having children?
Today, we’ll show you simple steps that are easy to implement.
Most of us have an incredible network of friends, family, colleagues, associates, alumni – past and present – who can assist. It’s simply a matter of harnessing this network in a targeted manner.
Check in from time-to-time and keep up with your contacts so you don’t slip off their radar. If that’s already happened, and you’ve been all-consumed with being a new mom, that’s okay. Take the time to gently reestablish these connections by reaching out in the most appropriate way for the relationship. Connect with past colleagues on LinkedIn, send old friends a message on Facebook, or send a WhatsApp to get in touch.
Once you’ve reconnected, look for your contact’s professional footprints online. Read and comment on articles they have researched or written.
Listen to the latest developments about company changes in staff or policy from those who work at companies you are interested in.
2. Professional associations and industry bodies
Find out about joining professional organisations and groups that match your specialised skills and industry. Attend their functions and seminars, be sure to subscribe to their online newsletters, network amongst the members and keep your membership fees up to date.
Here are a few places you could start:
3. News, the Internet and social media
The online world is a goldmine! Tap into online forums for industry-specific groups and skills sets and read online blogs on your particular area of expertise and interest. Leave comments or ask questions to start a dialogue with professional business people on these sites, and use LinkedIn and Facebook to connect and follow spokespeople within your industry or skill-set on Twitter and LinkedIn. Like and follow relevant Facebook pages and expand your LinkedIn network and use social media to curate your professional image.
There are many free online courses in a wide variety of subjects for you to peruse and refine your skills.
Keep abreast of current and international affairs and follow the news and business papers online and on TV news channels. The online comments section of BizNews is open to subscribers. If you join the conversation commentary, you may find like-minded individuals to add to your Networking list.
4. Find a mentor
If you are privileged to find one, having a mentor to guide and assist you in your journey is a great way to ensure that you are always up to speed on what is happening with regards your skills and industry knowledge. If you don’t have one you could start by looking within professional business groups and your growing networking list.
Keep your mentor close. Their counsel, experience and connections are invaluable if they’re wiling to share them with you.
If you’ve ever been a mentor, remain on call to assist and advise younger people whom you have encouraged and helped in the past. You can re-establish these relationships using the methods in Point 1 about Networking above, and find out how their careers are going. They might have gained invaluable experience and promotions while you’ve been on maternity leave.
5. Personal presentation
So you’re ready and keen to take the plunge back into the workplace? Start a systematic plan to get yourself looking and feeling good. Often an overlooked aspect of staying current is your personal presentation. Looking the part always plays an important role in how you are viewed. If your old wardrobe staples, your hairstyle or makeup are dating you, look around at your associates and adapt your style.
Do a wardrobe clean out. Throw out the old, make a list of what you need and go shopping new staples appropriate for your new workplace. Consider a flattering new haircut or a makeover to get you glowing in the best possible way. If you’ve stopped using cosmetics or abandoned your old skincare regimes, try to revive these old routines.
Looking good does wonders for everyone’s confidence. Treat yourself, Mom!
In a world of fast changing technology, innovation and competition, staying ‘current’ is vital to re-entering the job market, with an eye to the longer term advancement of your career and earning potential. The benefits of earning an income, working on varied projects and mental stimulation are enormous. Using the steps above, you’ll have your competitive edge back in no time.