From parent to worker – how to manage the change

A father looks at a laptop while holding a child on his lap

Tips on how to return to work after time spent parenting.

Returning to paid work after parenting can feel like starting all over again, but a little preparation can make all the difference.

Figure out what you want to do

The first thing you need to do is decide what work you’d like to do.

  • Do you have a previous career you want to return to?
  • Are you starting paid work for the first time?
  • Is it time to do something new (make a career change)?
  • Do you need to retrain?

Once you have your goal in mind, make a plan for achieving it.

Your plan should include deciding:

  • what type of work you’d like to do
  • when you’re available to start work (or study)
  • what hours you’re available for work, and finding employers who provide flexible work options and are sympathetic to parents returning to work
  • how you want to work, for example, working from home (remotely), working part time, doing more than one job (a portfolio career), or studying part time while working.

Refresh your CV

You also need to make sure your CV is up to date. A skills-based CV will highlight your skills rather than your work history.

As a parent returning to work, you may be worried about gaps in your employment. Remember that you can mention unpaid work, involvement in community groups, and other activities.

You can include transferable skills from other areas of your life. For example, skills you’ve gained through parenting could include time management, maintaining schedules, planning and organising, and responding quickly in emergencies.

Make the most of your contacts

Remember that finding work is easier if you have help. Use your friends, family/whānau and social networks to help you find referees and possible work experience.

Updated 25 Jun 2019