Returning to work after years of caring

Hi, I’ve recently stopped caring for my mother after 4 years and looking to return to full time work. I have applied for so many places over the past 2 months but heard nothing back from them. I’m almost convinced employers just don’t want to employ someone who has a huge void in their work history. I’m 28 years old and full of energy and enthusiasm to work but these employers probably think i’ve been idle and lazy for 4 years which is far from the truth.

Anyone else been in a similar position and could give me advice on how to find work from this situation? Thank you :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Low millions out there seeking worthwhile employment … nothing that special about receiving no replies.

That caring role.

Time to adjust that cv … play up IF the caring element is important to whatever position … play down if it isn’t … which probably accounts for most vacancies ?

Short of that , an assuming you are now claiming ESA … the work coach at your local job centre … time for them to earn their crust.

As recorded over the aeons on various carer forums , former carers can expect no special treatment on their release from caring.

It really is every person for themself … the lifeboats departed ages ago.

Extract from an old thread of mine :


Initially , you may feel like a leper … nobody wants to know you … common … each of us need to deal with that one in our way … there is definately no one size fits all solution.

An educated person before caring … perhaps a banker / accountant / architect etc. ?

20 or so years later , you think of finding a job in those areas ?

Think again … those sectors have changed … even the way of doing the simple things.

Retraining ?

Forget it. In those sectors , private tuition is unheard of , need to be on the inside first.

During caring days ?

21 Hour Rule … Carers Allowance lost. Those skills are dead.

Perhaps think of becoming a care worker … using your own skills as a family carer ?

Most would NOT last five minutes !

A care worker needs to observe rules … as a family carer , no rule book exists … and the one to one standard of care in comparison … ?

What you would do automatically , no care worker would undertake … a clash of cultures … as is the basic emotion of caring … a care worker only " Cares " if they are paid to care … otherwise , they would be employed in another industry.

You’re on your own … no gratuity … the world outside has changed … you initially feel like a dinosaur.

Even mixing with people is difficult , the art of conversation last tried , perhaps , years ago.

A good way to start would be to do some voluntary work.
Nowadays all sorts of places take on volunteers - not just charity shops.
Find something you’re interested in and go on a website for volunteering and see what comes up.
I used to do voluntary work in my local hospital and was on the information desk. I also did voluntary work at the Citizens Advice Bureau. The great thing about voluntary work is you gain new skills, you can add the details on you CV and you’ll get up to date references too.

A friend of mine went on an apprenticeship and really enjoyed it - led to a good job. Others have been less pleased with their experience. I’m not sure what the pay and conditions are like , how many there are in your area but it may be worth looking at the website?

Good luck with what you are doing.

My first proper job was at a fair. I basically had my own stall to manage, it was easy. I was a child of ten when I did it. I stopped when I turned 17 years old for obvious reasons. More recently I worked in a office and also helped out at church events too. I also babysat children during summer vacation and at Christmas as well, that was fun. What do you want to do? What are your skills and goals? Make a list, then start calling or emailing for more details. Or look online at job descriptions additionally. Facebook can also be useful here. Polish up your resume in case. Start slowly. What about a internship? Would that work? Have you got any qualifications?
Use your contacts. Or you can contact companies directly to ask about possible jobs and vacancies available. Have you approached your local charity shops or not? Often times, they are desperate for volunteers to work there, it is worth finding out. When looking at job descriptions, pay attention to skills and requirements etc. It is a start.
Make notes if need be. I hope this is useful! Another way to find a job is to attend career fairs and talk to people. But first of all, identify your skills and abilities. There are career quizzes online you might like to do to see which careers seem best for you in terms of skill set and ability. Or you can complete this skill health check quiz to figure out possible careers are suitable to you personally. Patience is key here. Skills assessment | National Careers Service
Good luck. There is so much out there but do not be overwhelmed by the information.

Rest assured, not receiving any form of reply to a job application is the norm these days, I can only go by my son’s experience (I was self employed all of my working life) but even with a BSc and an MSc in science he had plenty of ignored applications.

Make sure your CV is clear about what you’ve been doing during that employment gap.

What sort of work were you doing before your caring days?

Are there any clubs or organizations you could join locally so you could get to know other people, not necessarily job-related. When i was job hunting, I was told to network! Get to know other people who may know others and alert you to jobs before they are advertised. Ask people if you could meet up for coffee and have an ‘informational interview’. You don’t ask directly for a job but you ask perhaps how the industry is doing since you’ve left and ask if they know of anyone they can recommend that you should talk to.

It’s not unusual to apply ffor jobs and get no response. Don’t be afraid to follow up, be proactive.

The problem with just submitting a resume is that they are used to screen you OUT. Make sure you emphasize what you can do and accomplishments- try to quantify what it meant to the company. Use the current buzzwords… Describe your experience in terms o f transferable skills, from one business/industry to another.

Consider a skills resume with work history at the bottom of page, rather than a chronological list of where/when you have/ haven’t worked.

List your care role as a full-time job (multitasking, internet research, managing care, carers, schedules, time management, house/ finances, work under a POA, interactions with medical professionals, negotiating with LA, hands on caring for mother - bathing, feeding, reassuring, dealing with funeral planning, the will , the list goes on…).

I expect you’ve had more work experience than many others, just not paid!

Hello Chris. Firstly I would say don’t be cagey about your four years of caring. Prospective employers expect you to account for any gaps in employment. You could say you took a career break to care for a relative, then, as Rosemary suggested, back this up with positive statements about the transferable skills you have acquired. An employer will certainly not hold this against you.

Next, employers are interested in on-the-job experience more than anything else, preferably recent. This puts you at a slight disadvantage, but not an insuperable one. It will be easiest if you look for work similar to what you were doing before you started the caring period. By all means look for voluntary work; it all helps to pad out your CV. But don’t overload yourself; job hunting takes quite a bit of time in itself.

You could consider temping agencies; there is a continuous demand for short-term temporary workers. This can often be a way into more-permanent work. Even if you are offered only “office work” this is better than no work and it is useful for you to become acquainted with common office procedures.

Consider a course at college, brushing up on academic skills appropriate to the work you seek. IT skills are always worth considering for self-development, particularly Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Most people can use these after a fashion but if you can produce certificates to prove that you have learned them really well this is more strings to your bow and the next best thing to practical experience. It is also a very positive way to account for a period out of employment.

I presume you have registered with your local Job Centre. Also try to register with one or more of the various on-line job agencies. Put “job vacancies” into a search engine and you will see a list of the most popular ones.

Best wishes!