As a woman and a woman in a caring role I watched lasts night budget and couldn’t help but yell at the tv as Josh Frydenberg delivered his budget speech. I was yelling “What about us” And by “us” I am referring to the 100’s of thousands of women who gave up careers and jobs to care for their disabled kids. Some of these women are now in their late 40’s and 50’s and are essentially unemployable.
Keeping a job and being a carer is tough and seems almost impossible. Many women choose family and decide that working is no longer a viable option. These women, become vulnerable, isolated and in the eyes of the workforce unappealing.
Then let’s look at what happens when our kids get older and little more self-sufficient. Our carer role just doesn’t disappear but, it can open up the possibility of returning back to work, right? WRONG! Employers see a 15/20-year gap in your resume and can not help but assume this is a huge disadvantage for their organisation. There is absolutely no incentive for them to employ you. But there are ways to future proof you employability as a carer.
5 ways to future proof your employability as a carer.
- You can further your studies by upskilling and keeping up to date with programs and processes.
There are so many free TAFE courses available that there will definitely be one that peaks your interest and be flexible enough for you work around your home life. Most courses these days are flexible with online options and classes at night. Keeping upskilled can go a long way in gaining employment when you are ready and able to return to work. It means you can pivot quickly when employment opportunities are presented to you and it reads great on a resume.
Check out some TAFE courses that you will be eligible for as a carer who is looking to upskill: https://www.vic.gov.au/free-tafe
Volunteering is highly regarded within the workforce, showing an employer a willingness to learn and contribute. Some organisations are even willing to have volunteers for 1 day a week or even 1 day a fortnight. It is a great way to stay connected and help maintain communication skills or even learn new skills for free. Volunteer roles can lead to paid employment so always be on the look out while you are there on a volunteer basis. It also provides a great networking platform, you never know where volunteering may lead you.
Try some of these organisations who often takes volunteers. Hospitals, local community groups, church, schools, animal shelters, soup kitchens, homeless food deliveries, charities such as St Vincent’s or the Salvation Army, food banks.
3. Start a home based business.
Sounds expensive, but in reality you can start a hobby business for a few hundred dollars or zero dollars if you are great at blogging or offer a service based business. The opportunities are endless here and is great on resume showing you understand the complexities of running a business and willing to give new opportunities a go. Some of the most successful mummy bloggers started out this way with either a zero budget or minimal one. You just never know! Have a look and see if getting an ABN for your venture may help (Consult your accountant if unsure) https://www.abr.gov.au/business-super-funds-charities/applying-abn
Have a look at platforms like ETSY, Ebay or get onto LinkedIn and look for writing opportunities, and explore the possibilities.
4. Have you ever been paid to shop?
Yep it is a thing! Many organisations are looking for people to mystery shop so they can report back to store owners on customers service. Sure you won’t be a millionaire any time soon but it does look good on a resume. Mystery shoppers often need to submit a written report on findings, so multiple skills needed for this one.
Try organisations like: Prime Mystery shopper https://primemysteryshopping.com.au/
Or Secret shopper http://www.secretcustomer.com.au/Melbourne.aspx
There are whole lot more so get googling!
5. Look for seasonal work
Look for short term work like handing leaflets out at local elections or helping with census collection. These jobs pay well and only require a small time commitment. Another great place for this type of work is Universities. Check around exam time and ask department heads if they need any assistance with exam supervision. It is all about asking the question.
This type work is usually in short bursts form 1 day to 1 month. It is a great way to fill time gaps in a resume and will keep you connected with the community. It especially looks good if they ask you back to do multiple jobs. A bonus is all the great references for future employers.
You could also try your local member of parliament who often does letter box drops. Keep an eye out for community events or even fun runs or charity drives.
Upskilling and staying connected is the key.
It is all about showing future employers that you have been active and engaged in improving your skills, doing any or all of theses will definitely be a bonus when you are able to return to work after a long gap due to carer responsibilities. It does not need to be a lot, but, you do need to show you have improved your work skills over your the extended period of time. And network, network, network. I can not stress enough, it is the single most important thing to do to get ahead of the game. If you are not on LinkedIn then get on it now. You will be surprised and overjoyed at the connections an opportunities that may open up to you at the most unexpected times. Because we have heard it all before, It is not what you know but WHO you know.
If you are after more carer supports or carer information check out our “carer support” section on The Kids on the Spectrum – Australian autism directory web page. https://www.kidsonthespectrum.com.au/listings_categories/carer-support/
Let us know if you have found a great way to fill that resume gap while caring for someone? Share your ideas so we can help more carers return to work when the time is right.