Re-entering the Workforce After an Extended Absence
As Oprah has said, when done well, being a mother is THE most important job there is. And I know all the moms that are my clients and fans live that truth.
Many a great mom also needs another job, out there in the career world. If you are a woman returning to the workforce after years at home, after a divorce, or a new mom that needs a new job that better fits her dual job description as mom/career woman, there are some tips this month for you.
Your Second Full-Time Job: Mom’s in the Workforce
I know when my mom re-entered the full-time workforce after many years as a homemaker and sometimes working part-time, preparing for this transition was rather daunting. Internally she had to work up her courage and confidence. Externally, she hadn’t updated any of her job search must-haves (which she hadn’t had or needed in years!), like a professional resume and career skills, and knowing how to do so was again, a bit intimidating and all of it overwhelming!
Friends of mine that become moms often find their needs in their work have changed to accommodate the new schedule and time considerations of being a parent. They may need different hours, for example, to accommodate kids’ schedules or just be able to spend time with them. Perhaps they need to work closer to home or the kids’ schools for similar practical reasons, including not making themselves absolutely exhausted and crazy trying to do it all!
Whether you are scared out of your mind at returning to the career path after 5, 10, or more years at home like my mom was, or just wanting a different position to better fit your new personal and professional needs as a new mom, here’s a few tried & true tips for the journey:
If you’re re-entering the workforce after an extended absence:
- Call on your network of family & friends: You have a huge network already I bet – let them help you! You are NOT alone. Outside the obvious family & friends, think about your children’s friends’ parents (the moms AND the dads!), their teachers & softball coaches, your child care providers, etc. They all need to know you are looking to re-enter the workforce. Mention it casually, and, ask directly in a way that’s comfortable to you, for
any ideas, connections, heads up about opportunities they can send your way. Being assertive and clear about what you need and how they might help will be more effective for you, and them.
- Have your “30-second commercial/elevator speech ready and practiced until you feel comfortable delivering it. This article is a great resource for info on how to put together a clear and concise, but natural way to talk about the type of work you are pursuing now.
- Get knowledgeable help crafting a resume that pulls out the vast experience you have gained and honed over the years, whether from: previous professional positions, or via volunteer projects, part-time work, contract projects (paid or unpaid), or even family obligations while you were out of the full-time workforce. Focusing on transferable skills will be key. A job gap doesn’t mean you can’t re-enter the job force!
If you need a new job that fits better into your new life & needs:
- Get clear on what you need and want in your next position. Write Your Own Job Description is a great resource for brainstorming and deciding what’s next.
- To expand on that, order my e-guidebook, “Career Clarity Guide” – if you aren’t sure what type of work to pursue right now, start here!
- Update/rewrite your current resume.
- Secure references from trusted colleagues.
- Also use your professional network in addition to the personal network to find leads (and get more support!) – networking is still statistically the best way to find a new job