As a stay-at-home mom, your focus was exclusively on raising your children. But if they’re getting to the stage where they’re about to go to school, the thought has probably crossed your mind that you might want to get back into the world of work and restart your income.
The problem is that if you’ve had a lot of time out of the labor force, it can sometimes be challenging to find your way back in. Resume managers want to see that people have unbroken experience record, and they are usually more likely to pick those that do above moms returning to the day job after a couple of years.
Getting back into work can be a challenge, but there’s good news: unemployment is exceptionally low right now, and the number of women in the workforce is on the increase. In short, there’s never been a better time for moms to get back to work following a long absence.
Check out the following ways smart moms are getting back into work after raising kids.
Refresh your online profiles and CV
After a long break from work to raise children, you need to update employer-facing materials. First, fire up your CV and make it look as up to date as possible. If there’s a big hole in your employment timeline, fill it with a note saying that you were raising children.
If you ever got any work through an agency, you may be able to restart work with them immediately, filling the gap, and enabling you to say that you are currently employed when applying for a new job.
Next, check your LinkedIn profile and any other network sites that you use. With a great LinkedIn profile, you can advertise your skills, show people your experience, and even include media showcasing what you’ve helped organizations achieve in the past. Recruiters often scour LinkedIn profiles looking for quality individuals with undiscovered talent or skillsets.
Prepare an elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is a pithy summary of why a company should employ you rather than anyone else. Being a mom has been a big part of your life for a long time, but when applying for work, there’s no need to focus on that.
A better strategy is to concentrate on the things you did before you went into parenting. You could tell an employer at interview that you were a former investment banker or fund manager but decided to take a break to raise a family. It’s a decision that millions of women make every year, and employers are used to it. What they want to know is whether you have the skills today to fit into a new role and generate value. It’s your job to prove that you do.
Enhance your existing skillset
After a break, it’s often a good idea for moms to go through a refresher, helping them to keep abreast of the changes that have occurred in their industry during their long absence. You can either do your own research or enrol in a course that will update and improve your skills.
Suppose, for instance, that you used to be a nurse. Enrolling in an FNP program is a great idea to build your skills and increase your earning potential. Further education can be a great way to kickstart your renewed career ambitions and help you to get the salary you want.
Get back into work slowly
If you’re looking to get back into work, the tendency is to want to start where you left off. Most of the time, though, this isn’t how it works. People get back into work slowly, often taking part-time or temporary positions before finding a full-time role. There’s nothing wrong with doing this, and you’ll often find that one opportunity leads to another. You find a part-time position that you like, the organization you work for appreciates your services, and then eventually they ask you to join them full-time. The process can take a while, but part-time work proves to an employer that you’re actively interested in seeking employment and you’re keeping your skills sharp.
Keep networking, even while you’re away
Networking is an essential activity that helps to grow your reach and makes it easier to find work again once you start looking. If people know who you are and what you can do without having to read through your CV first, then they are more likely to want to take you on.
What is networking fundamentally? For stay-at-home moms, it’s doing favors for people and making connections between them. Suppose, for instance, somebody you know needs somebody to look after their children while they’re at work. Being there for them makes it more likely that they’ll want to return the favor in the future, and that could mean putting your name forward during the candidate selection process.
Making connections between people is something that you can do whether you’re looking after people or not. Introducing people who can benefit from one another increases your value and helps you to become the person that people go to when they want help with a particular problem, putting you at the center of a network.
Slip back into using work jargon
The general public dislikes jargon because it alienates them from the conversation, but businesses tend to love it. Why? Because it helps to distinguish people who are like them from those who aren’t.
Moms who have been out of work for a while may struggle to remember all of the jargon they used to know, so a refresher is a good idea. Once you understand all the terminology, you can slip it in at interview and encourage hiring managers to choose you above other candidates.
Using work jargon helps employers feel comfortable that you’re up to speed with the current state of the industry and that you haven’t let your skills slip. Often, just recalling a few phrases at an interview is enough to secure the position and beat out competitors.
Volunteer wherever possible
Volunteering is not only a great thing to have on your CV, but it can also help stay-at-home moms expand their network. If you’ve lost contact with people while you’ve been raising children, you can begin to restore some of your connection by volunteering at local community clubs or charities. Often, you’ll find a lot of like-minded people who also want to serve their community and have excellent business connections.
Volunteering isn’t guaranteed to lead to a positive outcome, but the more you do it, the higher the chance you have of meeting people who can help you get to where you want to go.
Be clear on what you want from your career
The great thing about being a mom returning to work is that you get to start your career all over again, but this time, using all of your experience to put you at an advantage. When you initially chose your job, you didn’t have as much life experience or an in-depth understanding of what it was that you wanted out of work. But over time, you’ve learned more about yourself and what’s important to you from a career.
You’re now free to use this knowledge as you wish and choose an even better career path than the one that you were on before.
Speak to your children about your decision to work
If you’re a stay at home, mom, your kids will no doubt be accustomed to the idea that mommy is at home whenever they need her. But if you go to work, they need to understand that there will be parts of the day when you can’t be with them.
A parent returning to work can be a significant event in a child’s life. Children often have to leave the familiar home environment and join daycare. While that can be a positive experience overall, the transition can be tough on children, which is why many moms have to communicate with their family about their decision.
By being transparent with your kids about why you need to return to work, they will feel better about it and will create additional issues which could take away from your ability to work.
Be flexible with the roles you can fulfil
As a stay-at-home mom, it’s unlikely that your skillset remained static. Instead, you developed as a person, thanks to the responsibilities of parenthood.
It would be wrong to think that these changes wouldn’t affect the type of roles to which you’re suited. Suppose you go to a hiring manager and apply for a particular job. You may find out that the employer doesn’t think that the job you want is the best match, but might recommend another, based on their observations of your skillset.
Many moms returning to work try to be as flexible as they can, accepting jobs as they arrive, even if they are different from what they imagined.
Are you looking to get back into paid work after a break to raise children? With the right approach, you can have a great career.
We trust that this helps you with making decisions about getting back into work after kids; we’ve found it a hard road ourselves. It’s tough finding a role that fits in, but challenges, so good luck. We do have a few other resources on working and blogging mums, so do check these out too:
- If you are like us, and work from home, holidays are tough, so we have some tips to get through them,
- Generally, it isn’t easy to work from home, so how about some general tips for working from home with small kids?
- Finally, a couple of funny articles about why chocolate needs to be in your business plan, and why you SHOULD sleep with your iPhone as a working mum!
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See you again soon,