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How on earth do you get a job after a break of 10 years?

(12 Posts)
guidelinedailyamount Wed 06-Feb-13 18:01:44

I have been trying to go back to work for about a year now.
Been SAHM for 10 years. Am 46 now.
Have been told by all the agencies, it's a bit too late for me to go back into previous line of work as so out of date now. They won't put me forward as a candidate, so I have to go it alone.

Can't retrain as stoney broke, no govt fund available to help with college fees etc.

Was told today by a company that my CV was boring; just a list of qualifications, and I had no experience for so long they would never consider me.

I have tried going into shops with ads in the window. No joy, was even told by one that I was too old, they were looking for a student. (yes I know they can't say that but the reality is different).

Applied for cleaning jobs, no replies at all. Applied to volunteering coordinators for county but there is no reply there either.

No supermarkets are taking on (only 2 near here anyway and they are laying off).

What do other Mums do?

What do people put on their CV's these days.

I am obviously out of touch

shushpenfold Wed 06-Feb-13 18:08:31


I want back to work after 8 years, but I must admit that I had done lots of voluntary work when possible, when the kids were very little....some related to my professional field and some not. I'd always known that I would have to go back and hence tried to keep going at something. It ranged from chair of school friends to working as a professional on a very part time basis for my local church. Might I suggest that you offer yourself in your current/previous field (if at all possible) to try and get yourself back into the game and hopefully a little more up to date, but ask around your current area in person - don't use websites, try to do the personal touch or ask around your friends. P.S. My CV was really boring too, but did have both the paid and unpaid stuff on there so I showed very little career break (so to speak) I hardly recognised myself when I'd written it and frankly any experience (working in local Barnardos for example) is better than none at all.

Good luckx

shushpenfold Wed 06-Feb-13 18:08:50

wEnt back!

ThatCrazyCephalopod Wed 06-Feb-13 18:13:50

I've had 9 years out, but have been volunteering and completed my degree in that time so when I sent out my first application I did get an interview, tho just missed out on the job.

Volunteering might be something to consider and looking at a long term picture.

Polygon Thu 07-Feb-13 21:12:27

Keep going at the voluntary work. I had trouble getting into voluntary work at the beginning but persistance paid off - I tried different ways of getting into it. I wanted to volunteer in schools and after trying through plenty of coordinators etc.., I ended up just contacting the individual schools and got lots of voluntary work like that. I think it´s a good, cheap, way of improving your cv and your self-confidence.

Fianccetto Thu 07-Feb-13 22:02:57

I did a lot of volunteering work; had a small side line 'business' at times which didn't really make much money but I put it on CVs as something I did in the gaps; I did do some part time college courses, some of that is on CV; I tried out every type of nut-job pyramid scheme way to lose money hmm (not on my CV, don't ever pay to work) and I also said, if the job I was applying for was a bit of a step up, that I'm happy to undergo further training, and I'd love to work at XXXXX doing XXXX (convincing enough to get some interviews, at least).

So now, I have a part time low paid job within school hours which over time have come to love and really don't want to give up for something better paid and I work evening/weekends for my own business (which I also love, much better paid, but limited number of hours, and seasonal) and the non-paying old 'business' side line which I now just do for enjoyment. I don't earn much at all, but it keeps the wolf from the door when added to DH's salary. I tried giving it all up for full time jobs, but realised that my heart wasn't in it.

Some people, if they find a job they know they will be perfect for, will (cough) bend the truth a little on their CV. Not advisable, and in certain lines of work (medicine, police, care work etc.) would be prosecutable I think, as fraudulent. However, for some lines of work with a promotional or sales element, an employer might consider it an advantage to be a convincing liar. (Not something I'd ever do, but sadly, it does happen.)

Various friends got p/t voluntary work in schools and nurseries/playgroups and then did their Stage 3 and got jobs as playgroup workers/classroom assistants and progressed from there.

Others strike up on their own. Find something part time - a Saturday job in a florist, or cleaning early or late, and then use the earnings as capital for your own small business start up doing what you love the most, the things that make you who you are and bring joy into your life.

Fianccetto Thu 07-Feb-13 22:05:20

Oh, and if an agent says your CV looks boring, tell them it's ok, you're not looking for a job as a flamenco dancer, tyvm! (if you were looking for a job as a flamenco dancer, who cares about the CV, just show them you can dance!)

Cheddars Thu 07-Feb-13 22:20:29

Definitely don't phrase it as a '10yr break'. You need to be creative with what you say you've been doing and sound enthusiastic.

guidelinedailyamount Sun 10-Feb-13 10:03:05

Hi again,

During the 10 years I was a SAHM, I did have a couple of part-time jobs for a few weeks, but I had to leave because of the amount of parental support my son needs (he is on Autistic Spectrum). This meant that I would spend large parts of the week either home edding because he couldn't attend school, attending various OT, Ed Psych, Doc appointments with him, writing letters to various organizations: Schools, LEA, Medical Support etc, compiling reports and generally advocating for him. Attending meetings with same organizations, taking notes of meetings, etc.

Finally, he is statemented, and is going to attend a special high school in September. It has been a bit of a nightmare and has taken it's toll on family health all round. This chapter in our lives seems to be coming to a close, which is why I am looking for work.

Should I list all this advocacy and support work on my CV? or leave it off because it is personal.

Should I word it as 'Personal/Voluntary Advocate/PA. or some such, with a list of skills, instead of SAHM for special needs child (makes me think employers will see me as troublesome, needing time off etc, when in reality DS,s care needs are now being met.)

Also, a couple of agencies told me to leave dates off my previous employment; they go back to 1982, because it will make me look old.

I took the dates off and the next agency told me to put them back on as employers like older candidates.!??

What should I do?

I changed careers halfway through, so if I remove the first 10 years, it seems as though I have zero experience in that field, the second decade deals with new profession and the third is SAHM.

Thanks for any input.

lljkk Sun 10-Feb-13 10:30:59

Should I list all this advocacy and support work on my CV?

Only if it is helpful to the specific job you are applying for.

Another MNer gave me a framework for CVs: basically it was divided into "Experience" and "Relevant skillsets" sections along with minimal info on other things like (like other jobs, skills, education, reasons for career gaps like raising a family, you don't need to elaborate more). Basically promoting whatever I've got that's most relevant. And editing out what isn't.

I am almost 8 years out of regular employment so feel your pain. One of my referees is from a regular toddler group I helped out with until last year.

Since you're applying for lots of retail jobs I keep thinking you could volunteer to help in a charity shop, give you an up-to-date retail referee, eventually. Choose the shop with the nicest people already working there. smile

My mom swore by removing dates from her CV as way to get jobs (she was in her mid 50s then), but I think it annoys a lot of modern employers.

I've got a Job Hunters Support thread going in the Going Back to Work topic.

The other one easy enough to get around here is care work, usually possible to get care work shifts, do you have own transport?

guidelinedailyamount Sun 10-Feb-13 10:53:14

Hi, sorry, I think I am giving the wrong impression jobwise.
I originally worked in offices for over 10 years but retrained at Bristol Uni to become a Veterinary Nurse in the 1990's. I worked in this field until leaving when pregnant in 2001

Have never worked in a shop, it's just I am applying for shop till jobs because there are so few admin jobs around now and I can sit at the till. I have bad arthritis which means I am unable to lift or stand for long, which is why I can't return to Veterinary Nursing.

Also, the shops I applied sell clothes for teenagers, so I am probably to old for them, they all seem to be staffed by girls under 20. When they see a limpin, grey haired lady, it puts them off (LOL)

I have asked the 3 charity shops in local town (we are rural) but they are full of staff, all retired ladies. They don't even have a waiting list becuase all their friends pitch in.

There have only been 7 jobs advertised on local jobcentre in the last week. Two of those were Betterware, the rest in engineering.

I have no qualifications in care and the local care home needs NVQ for the most lowly job.

I think there is a particular shortage of jobs here as there are not many businesses locally.

lljkk Sun 10-Feb-13 11:29:11

I guess you don't have a car/means to travel? I also live in a mostly jobless zone.

I know folk with Uni degrees & decades of professional work experience who are getting NVQs to change careers, I think it is not unusual. They have a clear idea what types of jobs they want to get into.

Come join the Job Hunter's support thread & pick our brains, go on, you know you want to.

It took me months & months but figuring out what I want to get back to doing has helped a lot in terms of hunting for the right kind of jobs to get me there (eventually).

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