You've dedicated your time and yourself to your family in the most rewarding of roles: stay-at-home mom. Yet when the time comes, getting back on the career track can be a challenge for moms returning to work. If you've been out of the workforce for a while, you may be unsure of how to effectively approach your career search. Here are a few tips to help you get a head start—and use your valuable time wisely.
- Be prepared to address your employment gap.
Whether you were out for a few months or a few years, explaining your employment gap is important, as employers will want to understand how you were using your time and your skills. Noting that you spent time in school earning a degree, mentioning volunteer work you performed for a local charity or your child's school, and talking about contract or freelance work you did allows you to close that employment gap and showcase your recent experience and skill sets. Don't be afraid to discuss what you were doing during your time off, and be sure to avoid highlighting anything that would cause the employer concern.
- Assess your options and weigh your priorities.
Removing yourself from the workforce for some time can cause your professional interests to change. It's important to do a career reassessment to ensure that you're on the right track. Keep in mind that you might not be able to start back where you left off, whether you need additional training or a refresher on technology. Also, recognize that your priorities may have changed as well. In the past, working 60-plus hours a week might not have been a big deal, or traveling 40% of the time may have been something that excited you, whereas now, with a family, it might not be feasible. Be sure to truly assess what you want out of a new position to ensure you are working on your next realistic step and working toward that as effectively as you can.
- It can be all about WHO you know.
This age-old saying is true, especially when you are back on the market looking for new employment. This strategy can be the most time-consuming because it takes a while to build a solid network of people who are willing to help you, but it can also be the most rewarding way to prove your marketability to an employer. The quickest way to prove this is to get a referral - someone to promote your skills and abilities to an employer. Having someone the employer trusts vouch for you will only increase their trust in you as well.
- Build on your professional development.
Many times employers are hesitant to hire someone with a larger employment gap because they fear their skills and experience are outdated. Putting focus on building your professional development shows employers that you are up-to-date on current industry trends. Advancing your education, attending workshops or seminars, receiving certifications are all ways to get started on building your credibility as a current industry professional.
- It's all about perception.
Getting back into the job market can bring forth many challenges. Projecting a can-do attitude and facing those challenges with a true understanding of who you are as a professional and how you fit in with a company's needs is key. Ensuring companies perceive you as a working professional who's ready to hit the ground running is important. Showcasing your confidence and knowing that employers need solid employees like yourself should help you effectively market yourself through a resume and within an interview. Understanding your skills, experiences, and potential, coupled with effective job searching strategies will lead toward a more successful job search.
Interested in more posts on job search-related topics? Check out our Career Development blog.
If you're a current AIU student or alumnus looking for more career advice, please contact the Career Services Department at 877-221-5800 Option 5 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.