Making the decision to go back to work could be an exciting—and scary—prospect for stay at home moms. There may be many things to consider, such as your schedule, childcare options, and whether or not you have support systems in place to make things work. Your biggest hurdle might be a lack of confidence in your skills and abilities, but keep in mind that in your role as a mom you work hard every day – and are building skills that could be applied in the workforce!
Whether you’ve been a stay at home mom for one year or ten, there are actionable steps you could take now to increase your chances of successfully returning to your career. Follow our 7-step plan to help prepare you for your comeback in the career world!
7 Steps for Stay At Home Moms
1. Assess and update your skills
It’s time to get real and ask yourself some questions. What are your interests? Where are your strengths? What’s your relevant experience in your desired field? One great way to get yourself updated on the current job market could be to look at job descriptions in your areas of interest and pay attention to the desired qualifications. With the rapidly changing advancements and technologies across almost every industry, realistically, you’ll probably need to brush up on your skills. And that’s! It’s just a matter of figuring out an effective way to do that—whether it be taking a class, getting certified, or earning a degree.
You might also consult the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). You’ll find job descriptions for hundreds of jobs, as well as typical salaries and job projections.
2. Spread the word
One way of increasing your chances of getting back to work might be to let people know you’re looking. That means updating your social media profiles and making everyone aware of your job search. If you’re not already on LinkedIn, it’s time to create a profile ASAP. Once you’re set up, ask friends and past co-workers or bosses to write recommendations for you, and—whenever possible—reach out and ask for introductions to people at companies you’re interested in. You could also join online professional groups to help build your contact list. And don’t discount more traditional forms of networking, such as reaching out to your contacts—including other stay at home moms—by phone or attending networking events. The important thing is to get out there, because you never know who you might meet!
3. Update your resume
It’s time for the task that strikes fear in the heart of many people—updating your resume. But it doesn’t have to be scary! Creating an effective resume could be critical if you want to sell yourself to potential employers. Start by figuring out how you might fill in your employment gap with relevant skills and experience you’ve acquired during your time as a stay at home mom.
A good way to do that may be to create a “functional resume” focusing on your skills and abilities, rather than simply your chronological work history. For example, were you a fundraising superstar for your child’s school? Did you serve as a member of the PTA or head of a Board? Or maybe you are involved in local politics or committees. These are activities that you could include on your resume under “relevant experience.” Just make sure you outline your responsibilities as they relate to your field. And to that point, it’s usually a good idea to customize your resume to the specific job you’re applying for, whenever possible.
4. Consider volunteering
It may seem counterintuitive to focus on volunteering when your main goal is getting back to work. However, putting in the effort to volunteer in your industry could be a great way to get your foot in the door, and it may pay off in the long run. That’s because volunteering could provide the opportunity to refresh your experience and gain new skills in your field. It shows that you are motivated and proactive,; and it could help you build relevant contacts who may serve as references, introduce you to potential job opportunities, or even decide to bring you on with the company. We know that you’re probably busy balancing your responsibilities at home with your job search, but if you could make the time, you’ve got nothing to lose.
5. Set realistic salary goals
Part of the planning process for going back to work involves figuring out what your desired salary range. This may be tough, especially if you’ve been out of the workforce for a long time. It could also be tempting to underestimate what you’re worth, so try not to fall into that trap. Consider your family’s budget—including childcare costs—and what you realistically need to earn to keep things afloat. To help give you an idea of what people in your desired occupations are earning you could consult the Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS) to find median salaries as well as even job projection data. Remember that you may have to take less money than you’d like to get the position you want, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t earn more once you’ve built up your experience.
6. Practice interviewing
What’s one of the best ways to get good at interviewing? Practice, practice, practice! It’s time to enlist the help of your friends and family, to pose as potential employers in mock-up interviews. The more you rehearse, the more comfortable—and confident—you might be once it’s time for the real thing. To get you started, here are some sample questions to think about:
- Why do you think you’re ready to go back to work now?
- What’s a recent difficult problem you’ve faced, and how did you handle it?
- Do you prefer to work alone or with others?
- Can you describe your ideal boss?
- What makes you a good fit for this position?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
One more thing to remember when you land an interview is to do your research beforehand. You should be very familiar with who the company is, what they do, and who they serve. And be ready with some questions of your own to show that you’re prepared and are taking the position seriously.
7. Work with a professional
Sometimes it just makes sense to go with an expert. Whether you need help re-working your resume and cover letter, or finding the right type of job for your skills and experience, there’s likely a professional out there who could help you out. You may be surprised to find how many people make a career out of helping others get their dream job. So, there’s no reason to feel hesitant about hiring a career coach or resume writer. Just make sure you do your research, so you get someone who’s been well- vetted by others.
Another avenue to consider is working with a recruiter, whose job it is to place the people with a company that could be a good fit. What you’ll likely need to do is meet with the recruiter (with your updated resume!) and go over your skills, experience, and goals so that they could keep you in mind when relevant positions come up.
Going back to work could be a major life change, and you should be proud that you’re taking that leap. In addition to following the seven steps we outlined above, you could help make the transition more seamless by focusing on how you might enhance your skills and qualifications to attract potential employers. One great way to boost your credentials could be to further your education by pursuing a degree. And when you study online, you’ll typically have the flexibility to do it on your own time—and from the comfort of your home.
Financial Aid Info
- Your Guide to Federal Student Loans
- Grants and Scholarships
- Military Benefits
- Private Student Loans
- Repaying Student Loans
- Student Loan Consolidation
- Education Tax Credits | AOTC & LLC
- 15 Military Scholarships to Apply For in 2023
- Grad School Scholarships
- 12 Graduate Scholarships for DACA Students in 2023
- Graduate Scholarships for International Students
- Grants for Women
- Guide Schools & Scholarships for Students with Disabilities
- Guide Tribal Colleges and Scholarships for Native Americans
- 8 Adult Scholarships for Adults Returning to School