Job Search: Finding Work after Being a Stay-at-Home Mom
Many women take time off from their careers while they are raising children. Trying to find a job after such an absence can be a daunting experience, especially in a tight economy. Like all job seekers, they need to focus on two critical factors – networking and showing they are right for the position.
“Call upon every person you come into contact as your first means of networking,” says Lizandra Vega -- an executive recruiter, certified image coach, and author of The Image of Success: Make a Great Impression and Land the Job You Want. “Feel free to ask working moms within your community whether the companies they work for would consider trying you out or temping you. Use your network as much as possible and let people you come into contact with (in person and virtually) know that you are on the market for a paid job.”
And don’t forget the connections you had prior to taking time off. Former bosses and colleagues may be able to help. Likewise, build new relationships with people in your industry through professional organizations and business sites such as LinkedIn.
While demonstrating that you are the best candidate is key to receiving a job offer, sometimes a woman who has been away from the workforce can sell herself short. Erase any uneasiness about resume gaps by displaying confidence in yourself and pride in your capabilities.
“Stay-at-home moms are rarely just ‘staying home,’” Vega says. “Typically, they are organizers (Class Moms, fundraisers, events, juggling kids schedules), transportation managers (carpooling), caretakers (kids or elderly parents), developers (home projects, school projects, birthday parties), and leaders (Girl Scouts, PTA). Therefore, these are skills that are marketable and can absolutely be included on a resume.”
Vega also suggests keeping an eye out for paid positions with organizations that already know you. “You may be volunteering as a Girl Scout Leader or as Class Parent, so when a paid position opens up, you would be a suitable candidate for that spot as you've ‘paid your dues’ and are already a trusted entity within the organization.”