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  Perfecting your work skills while you play with the kids? How to do your own ‘skills audit’  
  A new study shows skills used in the home are undervalued, despite their similarity to those skills used in the workplace.

Elisabeth Williams, an Honours student at the University of New South Wales, used our mums@work network to conduct a study into how skills acquired in the household relate to the skills looked for by employers.

In the study, mothers were given a questionnaire to identify social and organisational skills required for household work, and to determine whether mothers saw themselves as having these skills. HR practitioners were also asked to evaluate resumes to test whether they saw the relevance of the skills to paid work contexts.

According to Elisabeth, “The results showed strong similarities between skills used in households and important skills developed in paid employment. The skills were under-valued by mothers and many human resource practitioners saw them as skills only in work contexts.”

If you have been acquiring new skills or perfecting old ones while out of paid employment, make sure this is reflected in your resume.

Step back and asses your skills objectively. Create a list of the type of skills you have practiced while outside of the workforce. Most parents can give examples of excellence in time management, negotiation, diplomacy, flexibility, creativity and administration. Think laterally: your time as secretary for the playgroup counts, as does your ability to balance the household budget and get the kids to school on time.

To this list, add the skills you have already developed in the workplace then rank your skills from 1 to 10 + based on your level of competence or experience.

Circle the skills that appeal most and the ones which you need to develop or refresh your knowledge in. At the same time, review job advertisements and get an understanding for what employers are looking for.

If your audit shows you need to up-skill in certain areas, research training options offered through Professional Associations, TAFE, Universities and other learning providers. You may also consider undertaking volunteer work to gain practice and build confidence before launching back into paid employment.

Need Return To Work training? Come along to Career After Kids -  mums@work training program for parents looking to return to work.  See our exclusive ‘Return to Work Toolkit‘.

Contact mums@work job guidance hotline for free return to work answers to your questions on 02 9967 8377.


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