There eventually comes a time in many stay-at-home mothers' lives that they decide it is time to rejoin the workforce outside of their home. Deciding to return to work when you have been off caring for children can be scary and difficult. Stay-at-home moms are often faced with more barriers than the average job seeker in terms of explaining their skills and gaps in their employment. If you are aiming to return to work, don't be discouraged, there are a few tips that will help make the transition easier.
1. Call on old connections
Networking is an important part of returning to the workforce. When you have been away for an extended period you may not be in regular contact with past co-workers. Thankfully, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn make it easier than ever before to get in touch with old friends and co-workers. Put the word out that you are ready to return to work and reach out to old connections that might still be in the game. It doesn't hurt to ask and it may be the foot in the door you need to get started. Plus, working with someone who knows your situation may help the transition.
2. Update your resume and cover letter
Writing a resume when you have had big gaps in employment can cause frustration. The key is not to focus on the gaps in the resume, but rather on creating an amazing cover letter to go along with it. Don't be afraid to state that you are a stay-at-home mother looking to return to the field. There are a lot of other women in the workforce that have gone through the same experience and a lot of men who understand as well. Sharing your desire to be a successful employee and mother is a great way to connect right off the bat.
3. Consider professional help
If you are hitting a lot of roadblocks in your search for employment consider using an agency. Employment agencies can often help you find employment that fits your needs, is flexible, and may not be advertised. It is the job of the agent to network and know people in the industry. They may be able to pair you up with the perfect employer based on your skills and requirements.
4. Be proud of what you do
The biggest mistake you can make is to feel ashamed of what you do as a mother. Do not worry about questions regarding the gap in your employment. Most people understand that being a stay-at-home mom entails a great deal of effort. If you are asked, proudly state your accomplishments on the home front and explain how they apply to the workplace. Showing a connection between what you do at home and the position you are applying shows confidence.
5. Highlight your talents
While your employment history and hands-on skills may be out of date, you still have talents that will be beneficial to employers. Don't be afraid to brag. If you were the leader of your kid's school fundraising department, tell employers. If you are a great writer, have excellent typing skills, or know how to cook French style food; share that with prospective employers too. Tooting your own horn and being confident in your abilities shows that you are self-sufficient and motivated to succeed.
6. Be flexible
If you have been away from the workforce for a long time, understand that you may not be able to walk back in where you left off. Be prepared to take a position that is lower on the ladder and work your way up. That is not to say you have to settle for something you are not happy with, but understand that you may need time to adapt and employers may want you to prove yourself. Share your desire to advance within the company. Many employers are more than willing to fast track an employee who shows commitment to the company and has a drive for success.