Family Caregiving – A Stepping Stone to a Career

There are more people staying at home to look after a family member than ever before. That number is set to grow, with estimates that there will be up to 117 million Americans who will require some form of home care by 2020. The challenge is often knowing what to do when your services as a family caregiver are no longer required.

Long absences from employment can make it very difficult to get an interview, and a lack of awareness of modern employment and business trends can leave your career floundering. However, the good news is that you are able to use the skills that you have acquired as a family carer to help you find rewarding employment or perhaps start your own business.

If you’re a former caregiver concerned about your employment prospects, here’s what you need to remember:


Know Your Worth

You may have spent any number of years away from being employed officially, but those years are full of skills that are valuable in the workplace. It’s worth remembering that the skills that you might think have little value can be very easily transferred to work environments, and your experience will look good on your resume.

Think about it… you have spent your time being your loved one’s advocate, navigating the healthcare system, organizing everything, exercising critical thinking skills, teamwork, perhaps raising a family in the process. There are a LOT of skills and abilities you can leverage when making the transition to a post caregiver job.

If you’re interested in a career in the healthcare sector, then the skills that you have already learned will be invaluable. As the population continues to age, you may find that the skills that you already have are in higher demand than you think.


Evaluate Your Skills

If you look at caregiving from the point of view of a business you’ll start to realize that your skills might be worth more than you assumed. Being a caregiver means wearing many hats, and the same is true of the modern business world. If you have been managing the requirements of an elderly relative, then chances are that you can transfer those skills to project management positions. If you ever need to question your caregiver skills, read this.

Your research into care requirements means that you have experience with fact-finding, and you can use these to give your resume a boost. Evaluate your actual roles and transfer them into business language. From financial management to negotiating who needs to do what and when you might have more relevant skills than you thought.


Update Your Resume

Have a look at your list of transferable skills and integrate them into your resume. Don’t forget to include any career-relevant experience as well. It is through a combination of skills and experience that employers will realize your worth, and you will be better equipped to sell your expertise if your resume reflects that.

Include business terms like ‘problem-solving’ and your resume could be all that you need to get your foot into the interview room. Most resumes are looked at for less than six seconds, and you can make yours stand out by not being shy about all that you have achieved in your role as a caregiver.


Go Back to School

It might be that you have grander ambitions and aren’t going to be happy unless you find a career that suits you. This may mean returning to education, but don’t let that put you off. The fact is that there are a huge number of education options available to you in the digital age, and you can fit your learning around your existing commitments.

If you’re hoping to extend your caregiver experience so that it leads to a healthcare career, then you should look at Walsh University’s family nurse practitioner online program, which can guide your learning so that it is more easily manageable. With your experience of being in a caregiving environment combined with a formal qualification, your resume will get you through most doors.


Work For Yourself

It’s never been easier to establish yourself as a business owner. Becoming a freelancer, consultant, or even running your own retail business is remarkably simple to achieve. If you’re looking for an ambitious option, then working for yourself can be both personally and financially rewarding. Again, this will come down to the transferable skills that you have picked up during your time as a caregiver. Don’t dismiss those skills.

If you have been helping to manage the daily (hourly) schedule and everything associated with current and future plans of an elderly relative, then you probably already have strong organizational skills and are good at future projections. Look at how easy it is to set up your own online e-commerce store, and start considering gaps in the market that you might exploit. Running a business may not be easy, but if you bring the skills that made you excel at caregiving, then you might find it easier than you think.


Get Connected

One of the major issues facing those that are in family caregiving situations is that they can become quickly disconnected from the world. Taking care of someone else is a full-time job, and leaves little room for personal growth or networking. That’s why you need to make sure that you establish your connections quickly and proactively. There are three ways that you can do this.


  • Online – Never underestimate how useful the internet can be when it comes to networking. Start with business platforms like LinkedIn and build your profile so that it highlights your transferable skills. Then, start using social media to connect with professionals and thought leaders in the sector that you’re interested in. Become involved in conversations and your online presence will grow, as will your online reputation.


  • Volunteering – It might feel like a step back to consider working for free. However, getting work experience in the field that you’re interested in has been shown to improve your chances of employment. Consider the jobs that you have an interest in and attempt to find relevant volunteering options. This can also be a good way to give your resume a bit of an upgrade and can help with those gaps that are being caused by the time you spent being a family caregiver.


  • In – Person Networking – There are so many opportunities to meet people who may be excellent referrals for you or a future employer. You can start with Meetup groups or local events and make a commitment to attend a few until you find one that meets your needs.

Sometimes, our life experiences serve to shift our life purpose. Click To Tweet

Sometimes, our life experiences serve to shift our life purpose.

Whether you’re looking at a career in healthcare to act as an extension of your existing experience, or you’re looking for something entirely new, don’t consider your time as a family caregiver as wasted. You will have accumulated a vast array of diverse skills that are highly valued in any work environment. Do your research, and your time spent caring for your family member could be the stepping stone to a much greater future.


Always remember that YOUR life is a story worth telling. Get your FREE Legacy Starter Journal today and start documenting your life stories. As a family caregiver, you understand more than most the power our life stories.

Get your free journal HERE:

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Tandy Elisala

Family Caregiver Coach, Cancer Empowerment Advocate and Chief Inspiration Officer at Center for Inspiring Greatness | Empowered Family Caregiver
Tandy Elisala is passionate about helping family caregivers go from being overwhelmed and stressed to empowered and calm. Tandy went through cancer four times and learned how to heal using conventional, complementary, and alternative therapy. Tandy left her corporate career to take care of both parents simultaneously while raising three kids as a single mom. She took care of both parents for 2 1/2 years until their respective deaths. Tandy now teaches what she learned on her journey. Tandy is a family caregiver coach, a multiple best-selling author, inspirational speaker and mom to three adult kids, one angel dog and one diva cat.

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