“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”Meister Eckhardt
Whether you worked during your marriage or not, divorce causes a major shift in your financial situation. If you were a stay-at-home parent, worked part-time, or had a generally low-earning job, you will probably have to find new employment to support yourself and your dependents moving forward.
Here’s the good news. It’s not impossible! Millions of divorced people before you have been able to successfully rejoin the workforce or accelerate their existing career. Persistence and a positive attitude are your best assets in your job search.
“They say, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’ I was surprised to find that you don’t even have to know people that well to make a great professional connection! I mentioned to a brand-new acquaintance that I was looking for work and a few days later she contacted me through our mutual friends to offer me a freelance job. I was very surprised–and happy!”
Look at the silver lining
It’s easy to feel resentful for a drastic change in lifestyle, but you can approach your job search with a sense of empowerment instead of self pity. If you’ve always been the stay-at-home parent, like it or not, you were dependent on your spouse to take care of you and your family financially. This may have meant that you accepted treatment you didn’t deserve or kept silent about certain issues because, based in reality or not, you didn’t feel entitled to voice your opinion. By taking control of your own career and finances, you will be in charge of your own life, and you can make decisions entirely on your own. As a parent, you will model self-reliance and grit to your children. Being able to take care of yourself and pay your own bills is a huge confidence builder. Remember why you are doing this. Keeping a positive attitude during your job search will take you far.
Invest in Yourself
If you can afford to, hire a career coach to help you get clear about your skills and talents and find employment options that are fit for you. Your coach can help you with your resume, LinkedIn profile, interview prowess, and introduce you to local networking opportunities. Having an experienced professional in your corner as you navigate this huge transition will keep you motivated.
If you don’t have the extra cash, go to the local library and find some books on job hunting. “What Color is Your Parachute?” by Dick Bolles is a classic. Find a tech-savvy friend who can help you create a resume and teach you about social media networking (LinkedIn, Facebook Groups, relevant Meetup groups, etc.). Contact your local unemployment office, who might offer a variety of free services for people looking for work: from resume writing workshops to retraining programs.
This is also the time to update your wardrobe with an “interview outfit” that you love and makes you feel great when you wear it. You don’t have to spend big bucks. You can often find something amazing in thrift or consignment stores.
Reach Out to Friends and Family
Tell EVERYONE you know you’re looking for a job. Literally, everyone: your neighbor, your barista, your friend from high school you haven’t seen in five years. You never know what opportunities might present themselves if you’re at the right place at the right time. Then, start setting up informational interviews with contacts who have careers that interest you. Offer to take someone to coffee or even chat on the phone. Never underestimate how much others like to both help others and talk about themselves. If you have experience (even outdated skills in a hot area), reach out to recruiters and temp agencies. See if a friend can put in a good word for you with a local headhunter.
Feeling fear and doubt in your abilities and skills after a career hiatus is normal. You’re building a whole new life from scratch. You will face rejection and it’s easy to get caught up in negative self talk, or even to lose hope that you’ll ever find work. Treat yourself gently. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a dear friend in a similar situation – with compassion and kindness. Acknowledge and celebrate every success no matter how small. And just keep going.
If you’re currently unemployed, dedicate four hours of your day to applying for jobs, researching companies and industries and networking, or set a goal of applying to 1-3 jobs per day. The same goes if you’re employed part-time: spend a percentage of your time off job hunting. The key is patience and persistence. Just remember that you are not alone. There are thousands of people in your current situation. Sometimes it helps to speak to other job seekers for support. Join our forum on Avail Community and meet other divorced or divorcing people who understand what you’re going through.