My days revolve around conversations with stay at home moms on the topic of them wanting to get back into the workforce. Not all them, and not always but sometimes moms feel like they want to transition back to work but are at a total loss as to how to do it.
Here is what I often hear are the challenges:
1. Not sure what they want to do
2. Being out of the workforce for a considerable amount of time
3. Need a lot of flexibility in their hour
4. The job market is very tough to penetrate right now
I always start with point number 1. What to you want to do? I believe if you can answer that question all the rest will take care of itself. If you bare with me, I will explain.
My former babysitter who had been out of the workforce for 20 years raising her kids wanted to get back into teaching. Teachers were getting laid off, she had not worked for a very long time and she was going to be an "older teacher". The one and most important thing that my babysitter knew was what she wanted to do. She wanted to get back in the classroom. So she single-mindedly focused on doing just that. It worked. Within a year she had 3 really great job offers. Here is the other piece about my babysitter; she had never really stopped teaching. She could show that in the past 20 years she had taught Sunday School, Bible Study and helped raise scores of children. What she was good at and what she wanted to do were in perfect alignment. So the rest of the issues took care of themselves.
We spend too much time worrying about the rest of the issues and therefore never take the first step out of the door. I don't mean to underestimate the challenges unique to SAHM finding a position, and there is a great group on LinkedIn where you can share your particular challenges, but sometimes we overwhelm ourselves with the challenges.
Almost all the moms that I have worked with have had to create their job. They have been clear about what they want to do and have been able to negotiate the how. That means finding the right fit but you can't do that if you don't know what you want to do.
Once you have answered the what you want to do then the rest of the how’s are similar to all other job seekers.
1. Make sure you have a great LinkedIn profile. I know someone is starting to look seriously at their options when I get a connection request on LinkedIn and they are updating their profile and interacting with the industry they wish to get a job in.
2. Use Facebook to your advantage. If you use Facebook for purely personal matters, like I do, then keep it private. Review your settings to ensure that what is shown to the public is information that you are happy to share. On the other hand you can follow companies on Facebook and subscribe to certain people without being their friends. This is a great way to get intel.
3. Networking is still the best way to get a job. Having a profile on LinkedIn and Facebook is only helpful if someone is interested in you. Getting the interest is the networking piece. It’s amazing, just by looking at my own set of friends how many already have the connections I need. If you are considering a transition why not talk about it to your friends, you would be amazed how much help and information will start coming your way.
4. Think deeply about what to include in your resume. Did my babysitter include that she had babysat scores of kids in her resume? You bet. It was relevant. Would it have been relevant to include if she wanted to be in HR in a corporate role? I don’t think so.
Unlike other job seekers moms need to be prepared for the mixed feelings they get as they start their search. The fear of getting back to work mixed with the anxiety of not being there for the kids can sometimes make us seem schizophrenic. One minute we are excited about taking the leap and the next we want to hide under a rock so that no one can find us. You are absolutely normal! I have some great suggestions on how to work through those anxieties.
Regardless of whether you have those fears or not know that although unique, you are not alone.
Coaching Women to Transition With Purpose