Stay at Home Parents: How To Transition Back into the Workforce
If you’ve been a stay-at-home parent, you’ve poured time into ensuring that everyone in your household has what they need to succeed. Now it’s your turn. This year make it your resolution to redirect that energy to fuel your own professional reinvention.
I know, it can seem worrisome. At some point while you were room parenting, soccer coaching, field tripping and carpooling, Twitter became a second language in which everyone seems to radiate fluency. And Snapchat suddenly turned into a business tool.
You are not sure how to get started in a reality that appears much different than the one you left when your kids were small. You may worry that the gaps in your resume match those in your tech savvy and both make you look incomplete in a way that the professional world won’t tolerate.
Don’t let your fears drive this important initiative. Be proud of the work you accomplished for your family. Your expertise was well applied in an arena where it was needed. Those efforts have yielded professional value, and the workforce wants you.
Simply Hired data reveals that 4.5 million jobs are open across the US. This represents a more than 9% increase in job postings from January 2015. So you picked a great time to jettison your prowess for managing, organizing, streamlining and planning into a new career.
Decide what you want:
Examine your resume. Think about the job you had before you took a hiatus to raise your kids. Would you like to continue on that path or do you want something different?
Review job postings. See what is available and what sounds like it could be a fit. You may not be ready to pick up right where you left off. You may need to work up to your former title, but that’s not a bad thing really. Starting out slowly will make it easier to acclimate back into the workforce.
Define your priorities. Is salary your top priority or is flexibility more important? Are you ready to take on a full-time job or would part- time work suit you better? Set yourself up for success by thinking this through and being very realistic about what you want and what you are willing to juggle.
Update your resume:
Don’t be ashamed of that gap on your resume. You made a good choice for your family, so own that. Look at your recent efforts: Did you coach, teach a class, volunteer, take on a leadership role on a board or a committee? All of those efforts make you the professional you are now. All are resume-building and interview appropriate.
LinkedIn is easy to use. Your former coworkers won’t expect a lengthy update or touchbase email from you. So don’t feel daunted by social expectation, just start building your network.
Here are a couple more user friendly and helpful social media tips that will help get you started.
Even with LinkedIn and other networking technology, knowing someone who “puts in a good word” still gets resumes noticed. Go to networking events. Set up informational interviews with well-positioned contacts. Volunteers at organizations where you hope to find employment.
When you have kids your reality tends to becomes more local. You befriend parents at your kids’ school and on their teams. You work alongside them at fundraisers and events. Your network can become a very local one and it may yield wonderful opportunities close to home. So tap into that resource.
This is the time for self discovery. So embrace your candidacy; 2016 is going to be your year.