Build up your work experience by volunteering

As any mum who's been out of the job market will tell you, the hardest person to persuade that you can get another job is yourself.

planting trees

Because it's all about confidence, and confidence comes from experience. So, while you've got masses of experience of looking after small children – and Mumsnetters know that's about a hundred times tougher than any other work you're likely to do – it doesn't give you the experience a paid job does, and that employers are looking for.

In a nutshell, you're rusty and rustiness holds you back because it makes you think you're not good enough. So, get over the rustiness by getting that gold-dust experience and you'll be motoring.


Many Mumsnetters have found that the easiest way to get experience is by volunteering. In fact, you might have been doing volunteer work anyway without even thinking about it – have you helped run a playgroup, organised PTA events, helped out at school? It's all volunteer work.

woman volunteering

But you need to think about getting some experience that's more directly connected to the kind of jobs you'd like to apply for.

“I started with a couple of years of voluntary work in a totally new field to my pre-children days. It gave me confidence, helped my report-writing skills and reminded me how much I enjoyed working.” tibni

“Today I was offered a job that hasn't even been advertised, on the strength of some volunteering I did to keep me sane, three years ago! Never underestimate how good volunteering can be when you get it right.” TheProvincialLady

Scour local noticeboards (libraries, GP surgeries, playgroups) and get online to search for volunteering opportunities in the areas that interest you. Our box of useful links (right) will get you started.

And there are lots more Mumsnet job hunting tips about volunteering and the next stage of your job-hunting quest – sorting out your CV and finessing your interview technique.

Top Threads
View all