Sinead Kane

I recently did a keynote speech for Network Cork. I felt privileged to be invited to speak and to be among Cork women in business. I spoke about: ‘Resilience in the face of change.’ Resilience is the personal capacity to cope with difficult events. Developing resilience helps you to:

  1. Manage negative emotions
  2. Distinguish between what is within and outside of your control
  3. Learn from past experiences
  4. Develop Self belief
  5. Increase your level of frustration tolerance
  6. Maintain a resilient outlook

For a long time I have been fascinated by individuals who not only survive great adversity but emerge from their grim experiences stronger in mind and spirit. Why did they not see themselves as: ‘victims’ whose lives would be forever blighted by their experiences?

Mindset

What was their secret? What stands out to me is the: ‘attitude’ and ‘mindset’ that a particular person takes to certain circumstances which will determine if they are resilient? The same event can lead to very different reactions from different people.

Imagine two people working for the same company and they both loose their job. They both experience initial bitterness and rejection. But then they both begin to show significant differences in dealing with this setback. The first person accepts without liking it, that this job has gone and commits himself to finding another one. He welcomes support in this endeavour from family and friends. After several attempts he secures a new job at a lower pay scale. But he is glad to be back at work. The second person finds himself still ‘stuck’ in ‘bitterness’ and holding a ‘grudge.’ He turns to drink to wallow in the ‘unfairness’ of life. His wife and children are reluctant to approach him. His attempts at finding a job are non-existent. Why didn’t both men react to the situation the same way? The answer is – Attitude.

The first man said there is no point being miserable and you just have to get on with life. The second man held a grudge. When you hold a grudge against someone or something then you end up stuck in that moment and you don’t move forward.

I have gone through a lot of adversity. So what does it take to be resilient?

  1. Connectivity – being connected to strong and supportive relationships.
  2. Energy – creating energy in your life and those around you.
  3. Engaging – extend yourself to others.
  4. Courage – draw upon your courage and resilience to rise up and face your difficulties head on.  
  5. Adaptability – being adaptable and flexible enables people to respond flexibly to unknown challenges.
  6. Passion – having passion brings energy and commitment to achieving a goal.
  7. Focus – focus on what you can control. Don’t get carried away by circumstances you cannot change.

The Olympics offered us energy, hope and motivation. I believe the Paralympics will give the globe a renewed respect for achievement, superhuman strength, wonder and most of all, inspiration.

Since their inception as a form of rehabilitation for wounded World War II veterans, the Paralympics have grown and expanded. This year’s Paralympics are the largest and most commercially successful ever. Well over 2.3 million tickets have been sold. Record numbers will go to see the athletic abilities and the human spirit of men and women who have to deal with day to day hurdles. A reason for the growth in the popularity of the games is connected with people’s changing perceptions of disability and sport.

The Paralympics may have started as a form of rehabilitation for the disabled, but it has grown to become much more.

Humanity

The outstanding achievements of paralympians from across the globe are an inspiration for all humanity especially for those not suffering from disabilities that are too quick to give up when life’s challenges seemingly get too tough to bear.

So as a job hunter what can you learn from the Paralympics?

  1. Going the extra mile – from watching these men and woman compete we can learn that they are willing to go the extra mile, and push their minds and bodies beyond what their families and doctors tell them is possible.
  2. Commitment – despite races being over in just a few minutes what we have to remember is it takes a lifetime of commitment to their sport to get to that point. Now when you add this commitment to a sport, but add the fact that someone is taking part who has no legs, is blind, is in a wheelchair, then you have something very special.
  3. Passion – some paralympians were born with their disabilities while others were in car accidents or fighting for their country in wars, and many other reasons. Each one of them had a choice to either sit there and feel sorry for themselves or put passion and drive into their lives to be better and stronger.
  4. Encourage Others – some of your family or friends might be unemployed if so encourage them. We should be willing to encourage others when they hit a challenge.
  5. Beyond Your Limits – we will see this time and time again, these athletes have a vision that takes them beyond what the eye can see. Yes they may be in a wheelchair but they have a vision to be world class. Their vision is so powerful that they make the choice to commit to rigorous training. Through vision and commitment they achieve their goal. .
  6. Strengths – there is a reason why you don’t see a paralympian competing in swimming one year and in running the next year that’s because each athlete plays to their strengths. Know your strengths and work at them.

Anyone who knows me will know that I am a big fan of self-help books. I believe that we are all responsible for our own journey. Reading personal development books will help you on your journey through life. To be successful in your career, you need to be able to influence other people. This involves developing personal power. You will want people to think positively about what you do, listen and accept your ideas. This can include influencing someone to give you a job or promotion, delivering a key project where you need their input and help or even advocating your skills and talent to other more senior people. Little can be achieved without the ability to influence others.

Recently, I came across Orlaith Carmody’s blog – a communications expert. Her take on: ‘power’ is very interesting. She describes: ‘power’ in three forms:

  1. Expert power
  2. Position power
  3. Personal power

She gives tips on what devolves: ‘personal power’ and what protects it.

Cultivated

To discover your own portfolio of power, consider the following questions.

  1. Why do people do what you want them to do?
  2. What is it about you that win people over to your ideas?
  3. When you are being successful, what is it that you do which gains cooperation from others?
  4. What connections do you have that people value?
  5. Is there something about your manner which sways people?

If you find it difficult to answer these, get the help of a friend. Finding out why other people think you are powerful or influential can be very helpful. Once you have started to pin down your answers, consider which of these you could make more use of, which you could build on and other things which you would like to add into your unique mix of power.

Power is the ability to achieve purpose. First there must be purpose and then power must be cultivated to achieve that purpose. Without power, vision cannot be realised, missions cannot be accomplished and values cannot be promoted. There are two sides of power: positive and negative.

On its own, power is neither positive nor negative but neutral. It is how power is acquired and used that makes it positive or negative. Positive power is aimed at: inspiring, influencing and leading. A person exercising positive power helps the people he/she is influencing to reach their goals. Since self-development is about touching and embracing other people’s lives, it seeks to develop positive rather than negative power. Power creates independence. Create a reputation for hard work. Word of mouth is the most effective way of marketing so get people talking about you and your work. Help others solve difficult problems and always seek ways of adding value to people’s lives. Make oneself known to people with greater power. Effective communication leads to recognition which in turn leads to influence.

If you have been looking for a job for some time you need to be honest, review your approach, see what is working and what needs to change. Sitting at a computer and hitting the apply button or sending out 100’s of CV via the Computer is not: ‘actively’ looking for a job. You have to get out there – be pro-active – connect with people and contact companies directly.

It’s much more effective to look at job hunting as if selling a product. You need to understand the needs of the buyer (the hiring manager) and make sure you provide what they seek.

In your job search it is important to ask the following questions:

How are you spending your day?

Think about how you are spending your day. Slot aside a minimum of four hours each day for your job search. Some days you may be feeling depressed and may not want to get out of bed – this is why having a preset list of things to do is important. At the end of each day review your progress.

How long will a job search take?

Please be realistic about how long your job search will take. It can easily take up to four months to do a proper job search. Having a structured and organised approach to your job search will make the best use of your time and keep you focused.

Getting organised – this involves

    1. Assess your situation – you must assess how your family is feeling about your current situation. It is important that they understand and work with you to accomplish your goal.
    2. Assess yourself – You must be able to highlight your strengths to a potential employer. You can develop a plan to either strengthen or eliminate your weaknesses. You can understand and learn to exploit those opportunities that exist in the job market.
    3. Assess your current financial income – you must be able to determine the amount of time based on your current situation that you can manage without a steady flow of income.

Vacancies

It is extremely important that you fit in well with your new employer. That will be very difficult to do if you don’t have a good understanding of yourself. The most important thing to remember is that whatever the state of the economy there are vacancies out there.

Jobhunters can learn a lot from golden girl Katie!

Katie Taylor has brought Ireland to a standstill over the past week. She is a remarkable ambassador for Ireland. There are many: ‘lessons’ that: ‘job hunters can learn from Katie.

  1. Hard Work – Katie has trained for several years to get to become Olympic gold medal champion. At age eleven she gave an interview saying that she wanted to go al the way to top. Getting to the top took her until age twenty-six. This shows true commitment and determination on her part to reach her goal.
  2. Goals – Katie set herself the goal to get to the top. We all need goals in our life: short, medium, and long term goals. Set challenges for different areas of your life.  List the top ten things that you want to do or improve on.
  3. Support – Katie’s dad Pete has coached her all along her journey. None of us can achieve our goals by ourselves. We need strong supportive relationships around us. Having strong relationships around us give us a sense of purpose, security, and boosts self-esteem.
  4. Staying focused – In some of Katie’s fights her opponents were showboating as they were trying to distract her. In life we will all experience this type of behaviour from others. Some people will try and stop you from achieving your goals.  We need to stay clear-headed, calm, and focused.
  5. Passion – From a young age Katie has always been interested in learning about boxing. Learning boosts your confidence and self-esteem. It builds optimism and a sense of purpose. It’s easier to pursue a goal when you have a genuine interest in that goal. True talent can’t shine through when you pursue goals that aren’t right for you.
  6. Honesty – Katie openly talks about her faith and how important it is to her. I truly admire her honesty. Katie is showing us the importance of being true to oneself.
  7. Physical Activity – Boxing is a physical activity and it has been a great way for Katie to keep fit. The benefits of exercise on physical health are well documented. But there is also growing evidence of the benefits of physical activity on our mental health, thanks to the chemical changes it triggers in the brain that improve mood and help protect against depression and anxiety.
  8. Be Mindful – When Katie is in the ring she has to be truly present: ‘to that moment of time.’  Mindfulness is about taking daily time out to focus on living in the moment, a great contentment booster. Mindfulness can change the way you think, act and feel by stopping you from brooding too much on things that have happened.
  9. Positive Thinking – Katie has shown that if you believe in yourself than anything is possible. Studies suggest that optimism gives you resilience when it comes to keeping contentment levels stable.
  10. Do something for others – When Katie was in the ring she wasn’t just doing it for herself, she was doing it for her family, her friends, and her country.

Finding a job as an ex-offender is not impossible.

Most individuals do not look forward to the job hunting process especially if you are an ex-offender. You may face many difficulties on your release from prison. But there are also opportunities, perhaps the greatest being that you have a fresh start to begin a new life. As an ex-offender, looking for work, you will need support. You cannot do it all by yourself. You will need someone in your life to encourage you to keep on going despite the odds.

What are the benefits of finding employment?

  1. Filling idle hours/day – If you want to stay out of prison, you must fill your life with positive activities. Employment is a positive activity that can help fill your day and leaves less time for pondering the negative.
  2. Social Status – Have you ever heard a person trying to describe that he/she is unemployed by using the phrase: ‘I’m between Jobs.’ That phrase sounds much better and makes you feel better rather than saying: ‘I’m unemployed’ or ‘I’m on the dole.’ It does not change the fact that you do not have a job. But the terminology you use will help you to realise that you are only between jobs as you are striving to find a new one.
  3. Personal and Business relationships – As an ex-offender the last thing you want to do is hang around with negative friends. Spending time in positive places can put you in contact with people who can help improve your life rather than destroy it. Having a job is a good place to start building positive contacts.
  4. Experience/Training – Experience is the best teacher. One of the best ways to learn something is by doing it. Getting a regular job puts you on a wonderful training ground. If you are open to learning then there are many lessons that can be taught just by doing your job. Among them: learning how to follow instruction, learning on the job vocational skills, learning how to be on time, learning how to be patient, becoming responsible, juggling tasks, becoming organised. Having a job can enrich you in many areas, broaden your horizons, and may give you an education that you never had. If you do not have a skill, you can often learn one by taking on a job where there is an apprentice program or on the job training program.
  5. Independence – if you do not have a job and no income you are dependent on others for your survival. Employment is a symbol of independence.

What can I do when I get out of prison?

  1. Contact the Probation and Welfare Service they provide a day duty service Monday to Friday during working hours to advise and help you.
  2. Contact FÁS, the National Training and Employment Authority. Their Employment Service Officers can discuss options that FÁS provides.
  3. Contact Social Welfare Facilitator in your local Social Welfare Office who can advise you about different benefits such as the: Back to Work Allowance and the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance. The time spent in prison counts towards the qualifying period for these payments. Every Social Welfare Office has a Facilitator, whom you should make an appointment to meet
  4. Go to your local public library to find information  on careers, interview skills and writing up your CV. 

Do I have to disclose my prison record when looking for a job?

In certain cases, you may have to disclose your record. Ask your Probation and Welfare Officer to check this out for you. Even if the law doesn’t require you to tell potential employers that you have spent time in prison, it is generally a good idea to do so – it’s better for an employer to get the information from you rather than from somebody else. If you need to give your work history in an application form, you can put ‘unavailable for work at that time’ and explain why in a separate letter. To help you present your prison record in a positive way, talk to the Probation and Welfare Officer or ask them to put you in touch with one of the many community-based projects that are there to help you. Many ex-prisoners have jobs. You’d be surprised – having a prison record doesn’t automatically mean you won’t get a job.

Helpdesk for Ex-offenders

The aim of the helpdesk for ex-offenders is to give confidential one-to-one help on matters relevant to people coming from a prison background, whether that means recently released, or people released a long time who find their past is holding them back.  This service provides specialised advice and help to access services, welfare, education and support for job-seeking. Visit JOBCARE http://www.jobcare.ie

 

 

 

Fulfil your dreams of a professional sporting career.

So the Olympics are here and everyone is feeling the fit factor. I always had respect for athletics but over the past four months my respect levels have went sky high. As many may know I took up running in April of this year to run the Dublin mini-marathon 10k (6miles) in June for: ‘Childvision’ the National Education Centre for Blind Children in Ireland. I raised €1,727 in sponsorship for them.

I admit I found running tough at the beginning. But now I really enjoy it and even though the mini-marathon is over I have kept up the running. What I have learnt is that running can be a great confidence booster in these tough economic times.

With all the talk of the Olympics it has got me thinking what does a person need to do if they want to become an athlete. What I have learnt is don’t assume you’re too old or out of shape to make your dream of becoming an athlete come true. Here are steps towards your dream:

  1. Consider your physical condition – determine what shape you are currently in. This will help you to select the best sport for you, as well as the training program you will need to follow. 
  2. Pick a sport – there are a range of sports to choose from examples are as follows: canoe/kayak, equestrian, fencing, sailing, running, swimming, football, boxing etc.
  3. Local club – once you decide which sport to pursue, you need to start developing your skills. Join a local athletic club or visit a recreation centre so you can practice and take classes. For example, when I took up running in April I joined St Finbarr’s running club in Cork City. The club is very friendly to me.
  4. National Governing Body – as well as joining a local running club I also joined the national governing body of athletics. Athletics Ireland is the national governing body for athletics in Ireland. Their primary objective is to promote and develop the sport at every level from recreational running and schools competitions through to supporting Ireland’s elite athletes in international competition.
  5. Start competing – there is always a variety of competitions and tournaments going on.  First start at local level.  The more competitions you enter the more confident and determined you will become. Also once you start winning at local level you will start to build a national rating by competing at certain competitions. Your local club will be able to tell you when and where you should be competing.
  6. Get a coach – this step should be taken at the same time as you start competing. In each local club there will be coaches. For example, in St. Finbarr’s running club Marion Lyons is my coach. Marion is very good and she has definitely assisted me in developing my skills. Marion is helping me progress and remain focused. Running requires a lot of patience and excellent running technique doesn’t develop overnight. It can take years and so it is important to be realistic. A key piece of advice that Marion has given me is that you only get out of running what you put in – so it’s not enough to attend training you have to watch your diet and be committed. The benefit of having a coach is they can help develop your skills, so you can progress to the next level of your sport.
  7. Visualise your success – a training technique used by top athletes is visualisation. Creating a mental image or intention of what you want to happen or feel. The more detail you can add to your visualisations the better.
  8. Financing – If at some point you may be ready to start training full-time, which means you will have to find a way to support yourself financially.  Elite level athletes can be supported through scholarships. You may be able to obtain corporate sponsorships through past employers. You could try contacting a sports marketing agency and get them to contact companies for you. 
  9. National Championships – such championships are a stepping stone for you to your Olympic dream. Many individual sports open their National Championships to any competitor who has achieved some minimum qualification at the local or regional level so you may have a better chance of competing than you think. 
  10. Qualify for the Olympics – each sport has a different process for qualifying for the national Olympic Team. Athletes in individual sports (such as track and field or tennis) compete for a spot on the Olympic Team through qualifying tournaments or their national rankings.
  11. Coaching job – if you take up a sport and really like it but you don’t want to become a professional athlete then you could always search for a job in that sport via coaching, personal training etc.

So if you are out of work and feeling the blues of the recession then why not take up a sport, get fit and start competing or coaching. Who knows there might be an Olympic athlete in you? But you won’t know until you get off the couch and get out there and start training. Enjoy the experience.

Values and Mission

Recently, I gave a talk to the Irish Institute of Legal Executives. The key messages which flowed from my speech were:

  1. Honesty
  2. Integrity
  3. Advocate

I told the group that my: ‘mission’ through my speeches is to encourage organisations to: ‘value difference.’

These values can also translate into job searching

Values

Honesty

Living a double life on the job is unhealthy. Stress builds when we try to take unfair advantage of an employer and then cover it up for perhaps several years. Who wants to live like that, always wondering if you’ll get found out and what your family will think?

If you’re tempted to take a shortcut at your job, think twice. Instead of leaving a legacy of guilt and shame, build a reputation for honest dealing and ethical standards.

Without honesty there is no trust, without trust no one will want to work with you or take on projects with you. With honesty follows respect. Respect can be earned several ways in an office but through honesty it is genuine. Your co-workers and supervisor all believe your words and actions as full hearted. They look to you and trust not only you, but your judgment.

Integrity

Sometimes we have to decide between what’s right and what’s wrong, including how we conduct our job search. In the job search there are those who have integrity; there are those who don’t.

Integrity is about following through on your word, being honorable with your actions. This creates trust, respect and professionalism. As a job seeker your integrity matters 24/7. It extends above honesty. It means doing the right thing even if no one is looking.

Advocate

What does advocacy mean to you? To me, advocacy is as simple as getting out of bed every morning and opening my mouth.  It is everyone’s responsibility to stand up for what they believe is right and to me it has become a lifestyle.  I get up every day and try to accomplish something and want to set the same example for others around me!

Your Values

So what are your values?

If you find it difficult to articulate your values, a good place to start is by thinking back to a time when you were younger. What were your earlier interests and passions? Did you have any specific principles or personal mottos? Were there any issues or causes that you were (or are) passionate about? Another way to identify your personal values is to imagine your own funeral. Ask yourself, how would you like people to remember you by? Personally, I would like people to remember me by saying that I was a person of honesty, integrity and strived to be advocate for others.

This type of reflection can be very sobering but it can also cause us to focus on key issues about the life we want to lead.

Career Mission

What is your career ‘mission’?

When making a career change, it’s important to have a sense of direction. The first step toward a meaningful career change is to know what matters most to you, and then design a road map for the journey ahead.

A company mission statement allows others to get a sense of what that company stands for and what their core values are. A personal mission statement is similar, but it is typically a statement that guides an individual, and helps them to stay on track in their career development and/or job search.

Remember your mission statement should constantly evolve as you reach certain career goals and set new ones for yourself.

 

 

 

To serve or not to serve that is the question? There are two models of leadership: ‘Power Leadership’ and ‘Servant Leadership.’ Bearing these models in mind it begs the question what sort of leaders do we need to get us through this recession? Servant leaders are the best leaders during times of change. John F. Kennedy in 1961 remarked: ‘…ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.’

  • Why was this quote unforgettable?
  • Why was he unforgettable?

Kennedy did not ask us to follow nor did he ask us to lead. He challenged us to serve. Servant leaders listen, consult, and analyse information so that the organisation/country can adapt and remain relevant to changing needs. Hard decisions may have to be made, but if so, they will be made by giving priority to the needs of employees, customers, business partners, and the communities in which the servant leaders operate.

A servant leader is any leader who is focused on identifying and meeting the needs of others, rather than trying to acquire power, wealth, and fame for oneself.

One of the best things about servant leaders is that they don’t bring a lot of ego baggage with them. They don’t worry about their own personal status or prestige. They just focus on the problem or opportunity at hand. Hence, this makes it a lot easier for people to work with them and follow them through the change process.

I believe we can all serve our country in some way. You don’t have to be: ‘Taoiseach’ or ‘President’ to serve inIreland. Each of us can serve in our local communities, in turn, makingIrelanda better place.

Sadly, the dominant model of leadership inIrelandis the power model. According to the power model, leadership is about acquiring and wielding power. It is about clever strategies, and how to make people do things. It is about how to attack and win. Unfortunately, there are a lot of problems with the power model. First, the power model of leadership focuses on having power, not on using it wisely. Second, the power model of leadership promotes conflict between power groups. People are taught that leadership is about power, so they establish themselves in power groups that compete with other power groups. These power groups become so focused on their rivalries with each other, that they can’t focus on solving problems or seizing opportunities. Things don’t get done.

The world needs a shift in leadership. The spirit of the leader as a servant may be just what is needed to implement a strengths based framework where leaders with an innate motive to serve, could be role models with core values.  Such leaders could inspire a diverse work group for long-term common good. Is it not possible to have leaders who are not obsessed with positions or titles, to help us create a future?

Servant leaders do not ask, “How can I get power? How can I make people do things?” Servant leaders ask, “What do people need? How can I help them to get it?

How do we get more servant leaders? Through education and training, and modelling the values, characteristics, and practices of servant leaders.

We will also get more servant leaders if we, the people, are committed to following servant leaders instead of power-oriented leaders.

In today’s world where society continually encourages us to seek fame, fortune, or power for ourselves, servant leadership challenges us to something much greater and perhaps even more difficult to pursue.

Given today’s fast-paced, technology driven world, each of us has more power at our fingertips than ever before. Yet the irony is that this individual empowerment has disconnected us in a sense; we have become somewhat removed from our sense of community. Servant leadership encourages us to face this – to take the focus off of ourselves and to truly put others’ needs first as we nurture relationships and foster community.

Our world can be a broken place, especially in the workplace. Our endless striving to take care of: ‘Number One’ can be exhausting. But isn’t it amazing how serving others can bring light? Hope? That seems to be the magic of servant leadership. It encourages us to give, to love, to build up, and to cheer each other on in a way that is sustainable.
To be a servant leader:

  • Its not about the money
  • Its not about the fame
  • Its not about the glory
  • It’s about MAKING HISTORY and GETTING IRELAND BACK WORKING.

 

The one indisputable difference between men and women is maternity. Maternity is not simply childbirth but a continuum that begins with an awareness of the ticking of the biological clock, proceeds to the anticipation of motherhood, includes pregnancy, childbirth, physical recuperation, psychological adjustment, and continues on to nursing, bonding, and child rearing.

Bringing up children is possibly one of the most challenging roles anyone can ever undertake. Women who do decide to stay at home become de facto CEO of the household:

  • Supervising
  • Assisting with your child’s development
  • Multitasking
  • Balancing the budget
  • Organising the family’s diverse schedules
  • Inspiring and leading the family
  • Working in stressful and demanding situations
  • Resolving conflicts large and small.

Hence, as a mother thinking of returning to work, you should not underestimate the abilities and qualities that you have obtained as a parent. The personal skills that you have acquired are all skills that can be applied to other jobs and careers.

If you’re serious about returning to the workplace after a long period of unemployment then its worth reading on. Here are my best tips to help you get started.

Here are some of my best tips to help you get started.

  1. List your skills: Every one of us has something to offer, and, arguably, women who are returning to the work force have even more. Take stock of your talents, skills, experiences and contacts to get a better idea of what you are truly qualified to do.
  2. Learn new skills – Keep your skills up to date, and learn new ones if you need to, especially if you are considering entering an entirely new field from what you had been doing before.
  3. Know who you are – It’s smart to have a good understanding of your character, nature, work ethic, strengths and weaknesses. Do you want to work inside, outside, with people or alone? Knowing this will clarify a lot and will help you decide the right path.
  4. USP – Figure out what your USP – unique selling point is – once you know your USP then you can pitch your uniqueness to potential employers.
  5. Pitching – If you watch programs like Dragons Den or the Apprentice then you will see the contestants pitch their ideas. Pitching is the art of persuading people to give you business, investment, or a job. It is one of the most important skills in your toolkit. But it is also one of the least understood. All too often the process is rushed, the person is unprepared and the outcome unsatisfactory. Most people aren’t natural-born: “pitchers” and thus it’s a skill that needs to be acquired. A lost pitch is not just a missed opportunity; it’s a waste of time and effort. Have a brief elevator pitch ready, a 30-second spiel that sums up what kind of work you’re looking for and what your experience is. End the pitch by asking, Do you know of anyone I should talk to? Never ask if they have a job to offer themselves. People will know what you want, and if they feel comfortable telling you about an opening they know of, they will. The more you will practice the more you will improve.
  6. Network, network, network – Get out there and talk to people, letting them know your plans to return to work. Gather information, seek encouragement and learn something from everyone you encounter. Stay in touch with them and, when appropriate, ask for help.
  7. First impressions – Review your clothes, hair, and makeup. The impression you make on a potential employer is important, but equally important is how you feel about yourself. If you know you look polished and put together, your confidence level will soar.
  8. Talk about your: “GAP years.” Many professionals take sabbaticals to renew, refresh and even to do research. Instead of calling it the: “I quit my job to raise my children” period of your life, refer to it as your: “planned sabbatical.” It’s true, and it’s a subtle yet important difference.
  9. Write a winning CV – Focus more on your skills, attributes, accomplishments and what you can contribute to the company than on the timelines and dates you generally see on more traditional CV. Write about who you are and what you can do.
  10. No regrets: We may all sometimes pine for our former employed selves, but that doesn’t mean you should (especially during an interview) convey regret for having stayed home for several years. Instead, talk in terms of what you accomplished, how it was part of your master: “life plan,” and how you are now ready to return to the work force, prepared, excited and motivated.
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