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Stay at Home Moms Re-entering the Workplace!

Posted on: February 1, 2011

I’m a senior recruiter who has 20+ years of experience in selection and recruitment so when I was approached to write an article to help stay at home Moms re-enter the workplace I happily agreed.  But wait, it’s been many years since I was a stay at home Mom, oh who am I kidding, it’s been more like decades.  Hmm, Ok so I am a recruiter, I’ll interview a stay at home Mom.  Wow, what an eye opening experience.

The biggest issue for Moms returning to the workforce is their fear of having been removed from the workplace for so long.  In the case of the Mom I interviewed who left a successful career in Human Resources, she was afraid by not keeping up with new practices, legislation and ongoing trends the transition back into the workplace would be quite difficult.   Not to mention the concern of losing good job opportunities to new grads and those with more recent experience.   Yes, she had good intentions of keeping herself up-to-date but hey when you have two little ones to raise well guess what it is easier said than done.   Her reality was the time gap, she would most likely have to start all over again – at the bottom and work her way up.

All legitimate concerns and if preparation is important for the person who has lost his/her job then it is twice as important for the stay at home Mom.  Why? Because you don’t have any idea of who you are or what you want, let alone how to identify your strong competencies and pull it all together in a resume.  Subsequently, if you don’t know what you want or how to find it you are liable to jump at the first thing that comes along which just might land you in an unhappy situation.  Not a good scenario especially since you just went through a long period of unemployment only to end up in the wrong job.

Ok so here is where my experience comes in as a senior recruiter.  It is not as bad as you think.  There are hundreds of candidates out there with very bad resumes which do a dreadful job of highlighting key competencies, strengths and skills.  Since the purpose of the resume is to get the interview, the end result for these candidates will not be good.   There are even more candidates who do not know how to prepare for an interview or how to best represent their skills during the interview – again the end result will not be good. 

So the playing field may not be as lop-sided as you think.  Keep yourself positive and think about what you have been doing while at home.  Have you been volunteering? Planning community events?  Fund raising for your child’s school?  Handling the funds from your church bake sale?  Organizing, planning or coaching sporting events?  Creating a marketing campaign for the school library?  Participating in school outings?  I think you get the picture! You can pull just as many competencies from these social activities as the candidate can from his/her previous employment.  The key is all in the way it is represented on your resume.  If it highlights your strengths, skills, knowledge and abilities then odds are you are one step closer to the interview.

If you have not been able to extend yourself into the community then think about taking a few courses to sharpen your skills and awareness – now is the time to do it.  Read magazines and search the internet for articles within your profession.  Re-connect with a few close work buddies – LinkedIn is a get place to stay connected (www.linkedin.com)

Go to a few industry meetings to brush up on the lingo and to practice your networking skills.  Attend a few networking events to start meeting people; let them know who you, find out who they are and discuss how you can help each other.

Keep a positive attitude; remember you do have something to offer a company.  Never sell yourself short – Moms are organized, excellent at multi-tasking, able to deal with several distractions at one time and make quick decisions in emergency situations.  Moms are good mentors, good at budgeting and balancing the household budget.   These are the skills that transfer nicely into the workplace.

After all, you won’t have to wipe peanut butter off your co-workers fingers, erase blue crayon from the office walls, or run after a peer who refuses to keep her shoes on – so how hard can it really be?

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR).  Her specialty and passion is recruitment and selection.

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