Carers often express that they have little to no skills or experience to offer when they are considering returning to work – “I’m just a carer, I don’t have anything to offer”. The truth is, being an unpaid carer and looking after your loved ones gives you a wide range of experience, knowledge, and skills that you can bring to the workplace. It can be helpful to take a step back and look at all the transferable skills you’ve gained over the years.
There’s a simple exercise to this.
Make a list of your daily tasks
On a piece of paper, list out all the skills you have developed through your caring role that you think would be useful in the workplace. If this is a struggle, write down exactly what you do on a daily basis for an entire week.
“I have to pick up medication every Monday and book an appointment with our doctor every Wednesday”.
So, you may have superb organisation and time-management skills. It could also mean being able to locate documents quickly, or maintaining an up-to-date calendar. Staying organised can help one identify and prioritise what tasks need to be complete and when.
You could consider event planning or being a personal assistant, especially if you’re great at arranging appointments and running errands on behalf of others. Take a look through these fifteen job ideas; they’re suitable for organised people like yourself.
“I regularly communicate our situation to our doctor, and listen attentively to their advice”.
These are examples of excellent communication skills. These are vital in helping you get hired, land promotions, and be a success throughout your career. Being a good listener goes a long way too. This means to pay close attention to what the other person is saying, asking clarifying questions, and rephrasing what the person says to ensure understanding (“So, what you’re saying is…”). Your colleagues will love this as it shows you can truly engage in conversations.
If you excel at communication, you could consider a role in human resources. These specialists are usually responsible for finding the best candidate for the job. You’d be responsible for interviewing potential candidates or setting up meetings with managers. Although a degree in management or human resources is preferred, employers can consider your application if you have a degree related to marketing or communication.
If you don’t have a related degree, don’t fret. Here are more examples of careers for people with good communication skills.
“I help with personal care such as support with showering and dressing”.
So, you may have a tremendous amount of patience. A large portion of careers need some level of patience. For example, if you’re handling a customer complaint it’s important that you try to understand and sympathise with their situation.
Perhaps you’re not interested in sales or customer service, that’s perfectly fine. There are plenty of other jobs out there that require patience. You could consider being a childcare worker. Often your role would entail helping children with their school work, or being required to feed or bathe them if they’re younger.
If you don’t want any jobs that are similar to your caring responsibilities, you could look into animal trainers. These require a great level of patience as you’ll teach animals to recognise and respond to various calls and commands. If you love interacting with animals, this might be the job for you!
We’re always here to help
When you think about it, the skills, qualities and experience of an unpaid carer are extensive. Writing out your daily tasks and the skills associated with each one makes it easy to identify which ones are transferable to the workplace. You’ll also find out which of your skills are more developed, as these would relate to the tasks that are often repeated.
We hope that by reading today’s post and completing the exercise above, it has helped with your confidence and given your CV a boost. If you need any help with job applications or interviews, give Harrow Carers a call at 020 8868 5224 for free consultation.
Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund. Contact Working for Carers on 020 8868 522 Ext 218/208.