Returning to Work (After Being a Stay-at-Home Mom)

If you left your job to have a kid, or kids, at some point you may get the itch to get back to work. I’m not talking about someone returning from Maternity leave, this is about the Moms who been out for several years. It can be daunting returning to work after being out of the game for so long, so I’ve put together this list of tips to help you get started on your journey back to employment.

I know many Moms who have done just this. Whether you pursue part-time or full-time work is up to you, however the process for getting ready to re-start your career is much the same.

Decide What You Really Want to Do

So, you’ve decided that you want to take the leap and get back into work. But what do you want to do?

Many moms feel it’s easiest to jump back into their old career path, but this can be a mistake. Just because you are qualified attorney, C.P.A. or actuary doesn’t mean you are tied to those professions, especially if you never really enjoyed them in the first place.

Instead, take some time to really think about what it is that you want to do.

Raising children is likely to have shifted your attitudes, interests and hobbies. So make sure to pick a position that aligns with them, rather than just sticking with the safety of what you knew before.

Update Your Resume and Personal Marketing Materials

 Once you’ve decided which position you would like to apply for, it’s time to blow the dust off your old resume and bring it up to date.

But resume best practices may have changed a little since you were last employed. Making things even tougher, many companies use computer algorithms to filter out resumes based on certain key words and experience patterns.

With that in mind, it makes sense to pay a professional to review and improve it. One of my personal skills as someone experienced in recruiting and hiring is helping others with their resume.

This is also an opportunity to update your personal social media profiles to indicate you are available for employment. LinkedIn is a great place to showcase expertise, as well as locate employers that you think could be a good fit for you.

It’s common practice for potential employers to Google your name, so it’s vital to get all of your ducks in a row when it comes to social media profiles.

Network, Network, Network!

 The old adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” still carries as much weight today as it ever has.

For that reason, once you’ve prepared all of your personal materials, it’s time to get out there and network.

A good place to start is by researching local networking events. Attending these gatherings can help put a name to your face and build connections that could prove vital further down the line.

Some of the places you might want to check are your local Chamber of Commerce, as well as the website MeetUp.com.  Find a business networking event or meetup group in your area of interest, go, and start meeting people you can connect with.

You can also conduct your networking online using LinkedIn, since it’s such a great platform for facilitating third-party introductions. Make a start by reaching out to your current network of colleagues, and see who they may be able to get you a meeting with (online or otherwise).

Finally, send out an email to all friends and family indicting that you are looking for work, attaching a copy of your resume.

It may not be an activity that yields immediate results, but if a suitable position does pop up, your inner circle of family and friends are immediately going to think of you.

Prepare for Interviews

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail, as the saying goes.

You must dedicate enough time to get ready for the pressure situation of an interview, as it’s likely to have been a while since you’ve had one. You need to have viable answers prepared for the obvious questions about the gap(s) in your employment.

For many Moms, it can be intimidating discussing leaving work to raise kids, and explaining why you want to get back into things.  This concern isn’t unwarranted though, because a lot of hiring managers have skipped over viable candidates in just this situation.

Thankfully though, attitudes have improved. Many employers are better now at focusing on your ability to do the job instead of your absence to be a mother.

If you are asked questions of this nature during your interview, it’s best to be honest but brief. Steer the conversation back to how qualified you are to take on this role and that you are raring to get back into work. This is exactly the type of question you need to practice for in a mock interview.

This is another service I provide to help others prepare for the job interview. I’ll hold a mock interview session, identifying problem areas the candidate can improve on in preparation for the real interview.  Players practice before their games, musicians practice before their performance, why wouldn’t you practice before your interview?

If you’re ready to go back to work, just do it

 It can be tough finding employment after being a stay-at-home mom for a few years, but don’t let that put you off. Getting back into the workforce gives you a number of opportunities to rediscover the love you once had for your old profession, or even explore new areas of interest.

It can also be a great feeling returning to work. You left your job to raise your kids, and you’re a great Mom because of it.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get back to your career if that’s what you want to do.  It might be tough, but you’ll be glad you did.

Hopefully you’ve found the above advice about getting back into work useful.

What worked for you when securing a job after being a stay-at-home mom? Let me know what your own personal tips are in the comments below!


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