7 Tips For Moms Re-joining The Workforce
Are you a stay at home mother itching to return to the workforce, now that your children are grown? Or are you stuck, uncertain of how to stage your comeback after a long break? Don’t worry, we’re here to help you—just follow these 7 simple tips!
Keep an open mind and don’t feel restricted by what you did before you became a stay-at-home parent. Most basic job skills are transferrable—project management, team management, administration, and so on—so do explore your options to see what else is available to you.
Be honest about your time as a stay-at-home mom! Don’t try to hide it, because recruiters will notice. But at the same time, don’t try to sneak it into your résumé as “domestic engineer” or something equally silly. Do mention what else you’ve been up to: volunteer work, online classes; anything else that shows you’ve kept yourself challenged and continued to hone your skills.
You can use your cover letter to briefly mention you stayed at home to raise your family, but avoid going into too much detail over it—you want them to know you’re qualified for the job, so focus on emphasising how that is the case, instead. Talk about your previous work experiences, and the skills you bring to the table.
Were you an active parent volunteer at your child’s school? Did you start your own side-business in baking cakes for birthday parties? Or maybe you helped your local church manage their Twitter and Facebook feeds. All of these tasks involve useful, transferable skills that you can easily include in your CV or talk about during job interviews. Social media management is a hot, desirable skill in the new employment landscape, for example. Organising a school event shows you can manage projects under time and budget constraints. Engaging in your own small business demonstrates your entrepreneurship and money skills.
It’s all about packaging yourself as excitingly as possible—make sure those recruiters know just how capable you are!
You had left the workforce before. Are you going to do it again? Like it or not, recruiters and hiring managers will wonder about this, so it’s up to you to reassure them that you are back for good. A note in your cover letter can go a long way—e.g. “I have been on sabbatical since October 2010 to attend to my family; specifically my children who were in their formative years. Now that they are older, I feel energized and am keen to re-join the workforce permanently.”
Much will have changed while you were gone, not only in the technical sense of your field, but also in terms of working culture and employee expectations. Be mentally prepared to update your knowledge and skills. Read as much as you can to get up to speed with all the changes. Trade websites, for example, are a great place to acquire news relevant to your field.
Like it or not, succeeding in the working world is all about making good connections. Indeed, many job positions are actually filled because recruiters or hiring managers have tapped into their own network of contacts to find suitable candidates. But you don’t need to be gainfully employed to be making useful connections—your child has school mates and/or friends from extra-curricular activities or the playground, and all of those children have parents. A parents’ network won’t just be an emotional support; you might find it a useful place to ask around for new employment opportunities.
Be Realistic & Persistent
The field is not as against you as you might think. Indeed, studies have shown mothers are actually more productive in the workplace, perhaps because the all-encompassing experience of raising a child into a functioning member of society makes a person more mature and better at both time and people management. Nonetheless, it is never easy to return to work after a long break. Be realistic in setting your expectations, but don’t be quick to give up. You might have to face a few non-replies or rejections before you hit on that perfect job.