I’ve just had a baby recently I’m unable to stay at home with him as I wished. I’m unable to get by each week and my only option is to return to work.
I have no had a job in 11 years. I have no resume, no references. All I have is a useless degree that at least says I spent 5 years of that time studying. The resume I have is useless for finding immediate work. Is there a program or free service where I can get someone to write me up a decent resume? Also how do I get around having no references. I have on personal reference and that’s it. I’m applying for retail and hospitality jobs. The only thing I have had experience in is hospitality. I need a full time job, casual or part time would not generate enough hours or income to put a child in child care and loose the benefits I am currently paid.
What options are out there to help you return to work? I’m looking at applying for a job at McDonalds but I doubt even they will hire me. Feeling so hopeless, I can’t provide for my family.


Posted anonymously, 16th December 2015


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  • Hi I hope that you have had some luck with finding work, if not, don’t stress too much as it is difficult for most people to find work. I can relate to having a fairly empty resume, I had my children quite young so I graduated from uni and only got a bit of work experience before taking a few years out of the workforce. I have four suggestions:
    1. Figure out your purpose – work is work, but if you know what kind of work you really truly want to do, you can chase it with purpose and really convince and employer to take you on. Think about what is important to you, what difference/impact you want to have on the world, what type of work you enjoy. Jack Delosa’s book, “Unprofessional” has a chapter on this that will help you find out your own life’s purpose.
    2. Volunteer – once you know what kind of work you want to do, approach a relevant employer and tell them that you would like to volunteer with them, so you can gain experience and learn. You can volunteer a few hours a week, or even a few days a week, or two solid weeks. Not only do you gain experience but you then have REFEREES who can vouch for you when you apply for a job. The other advantage is that if you are super lucky, they will have a job for you.
    3. When you apply for work, make sure your application stands out. Often applications are simply overlooked because there are so many – e.g. I have a casual job (and I run a business) and when I applied for the casual job, about 300 people applied and my boss only looked at the ones that had cover letters, and only the first 50 or so. A business friend of mine sent “chunky mail” – he literally sent a boot to a potential employer, with a note saying “you can give the other applicants the boot because I am the right guy for this role”.
    4. Give them everything they need. If they ask you to address selection criteria, make sure you do it. Another past employer of mine automatically trashed every application that did NOT address selection criteria, as it showed that they did not pay attention to detail and simply did not want the job enough to take time to write a bit more. If they ask for a cover letter, write one, and tailor it to each application, often you only need to change a line or two.
    Hope this helps!



  • contact Centrelink and they will assist you to do all you are asking. good luck!



  • apply for positions with RPL- Recognised prior learning.



  • List your job you had 11 years ago.
    explain your employment history by stating you were a stay at home parent involved with housekeeping/ laundry/ driving/ first aid/ money management or budgeting/time management skills and keeping to schedules/ organisational skills/meal planning. Also include you are reliable, committed, patient and can cope under pressure. You have stamina and are dedicated.
    If you have first aid course or computer courses etc list them. Interview- dress clean/neat and tidy and be punctual. Express a willingness to learn and upskill.
    Good luck



  • If you are looking in hospitality, dress nice, show up and ask. They always need people and they will remember you if you go and introduce yourself.
    As for the resume, plump it up with things like school committees or head of playgroup and sports team manager if you’ve done anything like that. Most of all remain positive, I was out of work for 5 years then got a great job. Just keep trying



  • In the meantime, why not sell your unwanted goods online, ebay and gumtree, it all helps pay the bills.



  • When i update my resume i generally do a google search and see if there is anything i should alter as per templates. also SEEK has the option to make an account and set your profile as actively looking for work. companies can search and find you that way. there is also a template for cover letter and resume on SEEK which i find really useful when i do mine and my families resume.
    Christmas period is usually really busy in retail so you might have some luck with just handing your resume in store. Or at your local supermarket?
    Good luck with your search :)



  • I would talk to a recruiter – they can often help with your resume and know what their clients are looking for. That way you also get to explain to them your situation (in person is always better than trying to get someone to pick you from a piece of paper) and they can put your skills forward better to a potential employer.

    Also talking to someone not close to you can help you see your skills that you aren’t. We all have so many skills but sometimes we just cant see them.

    Just remember to be positive and confident in any meetings you have, this will come across more than what is written on a piece of paper.

    I have been out of work for 5 years with our kids and have now started my own business working from home which allows me to still be here for the kids and have an income for myself.

    If you need an independent person to talk to I am happy to lend an ear.



  • Look at local free services that assist women in getting back into the workforce. They can help with resumes and interview techniques. Womens’ services can be invaluable. Good Luck!



  • if you have done any thing like help out at school or in the canteen or on a school committee, put that in it. I would also contacct people who employed you in the past and ask if they remember you as a worker, as well as a collegue who has a really good job tittle who could give you a refference as the kind of person you are, till you do get a job if you can get some training of some sort. Something as simple as a barrista training, or hygine in food cold make all the difference. If your child needs to be in daycare while you do this training. Some of the costs are covered if you are trainng for over so many hours a week. I would check with centrelink to be sure. I will be the same when i go back to work in a few years when my youngest is in prep.



  • I would suggest that you put your name down with a couple of temp agencies who specialise in hospitality jobs.



  • Already some good advice here. There are lots of on line resume websites where you put in your details and can print at home all for free. You need to think positively as this will come across at your interview if you are feeling hopeless and unable to offer anything. Make a list of all the things you are good at and enjoy doing. Employers are looking for people who they can train into their company so experience is not always necessary but the ability and willingness to learn whilst at work and work hard, be punctual, honest and friendly are the key skills for any job. Good luck and keep positive. : )



  • There are a lot of online tools to help with your resume and slit employers now ask for a statement or interview so that would give you the opportunity to explain that you have been raising family etc and your situation. Job network agencies or recruitment agencies would be the first place I go because they make money finding you work so their generally as eager as you to get you started. Good luck.



  • Building on volunteering is great. Other options include using a recruiter who is hasty to push life skills perfected through parenting, advertise your skills online or in a local paper. Good luck! Getting back into the workforce is really tough.



  • Looking for work can be hard and crushing at times, I was out of work for about 5 years but I finally found my current job by volunteering through one of the programs run by Workways. The business liked what I did so much they hired me. There are a number of places like Workways, such as Work Trainers, CVGT and etc; they can be quite helpful and can assist with resume writing, interview prep and finding work .
    The most important things are to realise and value yourself and your skills(it took me a long time) and never give up.
    Good luck!


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