5 Tips for Getting Re-Employed after a Divorce

Posted on April 11, 2014 03:05pm

The prospect of a divorce can be particularly stressful for the spouse who has been out of the workplace for some time. While it may have made sense for one of the spouses to stay home during the marriage, once the parties begin to live separately it may simply be unrealistic for the stay–at–home spouse not to return to work after a divorce.

If you are facing the seemingly overwhelming process of finding a job after divorce, don’t lose heart. It’s difficult but far from impossible. Here are five tips to get you started on the road to re–employment after a divorce:

1. Secure financial support from your spouse.

If you have been the stay-at-home spouse for most of your marriage, and if your spouse is gainfully employed, you may be eligible for an award of spousal support (also referred to as alimony or maintenance). Spousal support can help you meet your basic financial needs while you seek employment or undergo retraining. In some cases, the family court may order your spouse to pay for all or part of any retraining program that you need to rejoin the workforce.At the beginning of your divorce, you should most certainly discuss your financial needs and career prospects with an experienced family law attorney who can advise you on your best options and strategies for obtaining spousal support.

2. Identify your interests and explore your options.

Before you re-enter the workplace, you should determine what type of job you’re interested in securing. Maybe you’d love to return to the career you had before – that’s great! You probably already have many of the basic skills and knowledge required to do that.But, you also have a unique opportunity to explore new career paths. Do you have a friend whose job has always appealed to you? Ask to shadow her for a day.

There are also numerous websites such as WorkSource (Washington state) or One-Stops around the country aimed at job seekers that provide free information about different types of professions and careers.

Finally, consider meeting with a career counselor who can help you identify your skill set and provide you with suggestions for suitable careers. A skill set is not necessarily the same as your previous job experiences or duties. A career counselor can also help you determine what kind of training you need in order to start on the road to independence.

3. Consider retraining.

Whether you want to return to your old career or start from scratch, retraining can be invaluable to your job search. Depending on your goals, your retraining may be as simple as a few computer classes to familiarize yourself with the software programs and technologies most companies currently use. If you have been out of the workplace for a very long time, or have a limited work history, you might consider a more comprehensive course of study. Many community colleges offer worker retraining programs that are specifically designed for displaced workers and the long term unemployed. You may even consider pursuing a four year degree if you do not already have one.

4. Update your resume.

Just because you’ve been out of the workforce for a few years doesn’t mean you haven’t developed marketable skills. Update your resume and highlight any and all recent volunteer work. Anything from your experiences as a coach for your child’s sports team to volunteer work for a local community service organization shows a potential employer that you have the experience and skills they want in an employee – especially if you were in a leadership position.

Make sure your resume is professional and polished. Have a friend or two proofread it to ensure that it’s free of typos or other errors that can make it easy for a potential employer to disregard your application. This is another area in which a career counselor can be a great resource.

5. Network.

Spread the word to friends, family, former co-workers and employers that you’re in the market for a job. Websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook can help you connect with former colleagues and employers with a few simple searches and a click of the mouse. If you’re a college graduate, get involved with your local alumni association and attend events where you may meet alums who work in your areas of interest.The more people who know you’re looking for work, the more leads you’re likely to get. And having a connection within an organization can give you an advantage over other candidates.

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