Divorce can mess with nearly every part of your life. Your jobs or career is no exception. It can also cause a major shift in your financial situation whether or not you worked during your marriage. 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.
You’re in good company
There is some good news. What may seem daunting is far from impossible. Millions of divorced people before you have been able to successfully rejoin the workforce or accelerate their existing career. Your best assets moving forward? Stay positive and keep at it.
There’s always a silver lining
It’s easy to feel resentment or self pity when you experience a drastic lifestyle change, but you can choose to approach your job search with a sense of empowerment. 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 life, and you can make decisions entirely on your own. As a parent, you will model self-reliance and perseverence 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.
Get reading, get social
Go to the library and check out some books on job hunting. “What Color is Your Parachute?” by Dick Bolles is a tried-and-true 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.
Dress for success
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 a thrift or consignment store.
Invest in yourself
If you can afford a career coach, they can help you match your skills and talents with employment options that are a good fit. They’ll likely suggest some industries and companies you hadn’t considered. They can help with your resume, tune up your LinkedIn profile, coach you through the interview prowess, and introduce you to local networking opportunities. Having an experienced professional in your corner as you navigate this transition also keeps you motivated.
Network like you mean it
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 ask for a quick chat on the phone. Never underestimate how much people 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.
Be kind to yourself
After a job or career hiatus, feeling fear and doubt in your abilities and skills 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. Keep moving and you will get there.