Divorce & Debt - Divorced and re-entering the workforce???

Major Life Challenges Blog Series

We are taking a closer look at some of the big issues we all can face in our lifetime. Each topic will be featured as a blog series.

Divorce & Debt - Divorced and re-entering the workforce???

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My circumstances were in the 1970s, but I think with today's economic conditions, my story is relevant. It was 1975, I was 30 years old, and I had 3 children, ages 7, 5, and 1 years old. I was going through a divorce. I had no real job experience to speak of; my husband never wanted me to work outside the home.

It did not take long before I realized that child support was not going to cut it. I had a mortgage payment and utility bills to cover; oh, and I had to put groceries on the table too. I had to get a job! Now, keep in mind, this was 1975; we were in a recession. Jobs were not easy to come by and I had no tangible work experience or a college degree. 

I had to hit the pavement; with no internet in those days, it was all knocking on doors and filling out applications. I decided to try and get work as a waitress; I had heard they made really good tips. I didn't think my lack of experience would be a hindrance, but it was. I was actually turned down for several waitressing jobs. I finally lucked out with a local restaurant. I did not get a waitressing job, but the owner allowed me to hostess and make drinks at their tiny bar with four stools. That was just one of the three part-time jobs I held during this time.

Today, with the internet, there is no limit to the ways you can search and apply for jobs! I sure wish I had Google back then. Here are a few of my tips to help those who are trying to re-enter the workforce after being out of the game entirely or just for a while:

 

  • Make sure your resume is perfect! Even if you have NO prior job experience, you need to have a resume. Tap all of your friends and family for help. Life is a lesson and there are life skills that translate just fine into work skills. If you have any experience, make sure you position your resume for each job you apply for; you need to put some effort into presenting yourself in the best possible light for each job. A professional resume sends the right message to prospective employers, regardless of your background!

 

  • Treat looking for a job as a full-time job! You should devote the same amount of commitment and time that you would if you were working. It's very competitive out there; you cannot afford to bring anything less than your A-game! Schedule out your day to accomplish specific tasks related to your job search. Perhaps you will spend your mornings making calls, or applying for online positions. Your afternoons could be spent sending follow-up and thank you letters or hitting the pavement and knocking on some doors. Going door-to-door may not be how it's done these days, but it is amazing what five minutes of face-time can get you.

 

  • Network Every Chance You Get! Going to church on Sunday? Do not be afraid to spread the word that you are looking for a job. "Who you know" is just as valuable a job search aid as it's ever been. Use whatever connections you have! Use Facebook, use Twitter, use every social network that you are engaged with to spread the word that you want to be employed.

 

  • Level Set Your Expectations! Any job has the potential to lead to a great job, the key is getting started. They don't call it 'work' for nothing; be prepared to put in some real time to establish your work ethic.

I consider myself fortunate. It only took one person willing to take a chance on me to get the ball rolling. It was a challenging time, but I knew I had to just put one foot in front of the other. How have you started over after a divorce? Do you have any tips to help people looking for a job with little work experience?

Other Blogs in this Series:

Divorce and Debt, an Introduction 

Judy Kline

Judy is retired and recently widowed. She is a contributing author for the Retired & Widowed blog where she shares what she has learned about living on a fixed retirement income as a widow. Judy is an amateur photographer and has nine grandchildren. Compensated CareOne Blogger

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