Updated: December 2020
Transitioning from “Stay at Home Mom” to working professional can be an overwhelming thought. The job search is challenging enough without fear of resume gaps and questions around whether or not to mention your current stint caring for children. Even though workforce reentry can be challenging, it’s not impossible. In this blog post we’ll share 5 tips for getting your job search on track and getting ready to hit the ground running in your job search.
You’re an Amazing Mom But You Feel Like a Nervous Wreck at the Thought of the Job Search
If you’re a stay-at-home mom and thinking of re-entering the workforce, your nerves may be a wreck. Being out of the workforce loop for any amount of time can leave you feeling unsure. It can also impact one’s confidence. These are completely normal feelings and it’s okay to have them. However don’t sabotage your job search prematurely. Remember: You’re not the first woman to leave the workforce to take on the role of being an amazing mom and you won’t be the first to find her way back. Here is my guidance for stay at home moms (or anyone re-entering the workforce after taking time off) in the job search.
1. Start with a Solid Job Search Plan
Starting from square one in the job search is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed. However once you have a plan, you’ll start to feel much more confident. Therefore, it’s critical to start your job search on a strong note: with a plan. Take some time to map out your strategy on paper. If you can see it, you can achieve it. Follow this 8-step plan for recharging your job search, as a starting point. If you need a more detailed day-to-day job search strategy and accountability self-check-ins, there are some great job search planners out there that will keep you on track.
2. Make a List of Everyone You Know and Start to Network
Networking, networking, networking! Yes you must network to find work. This is how 80% of jobs are found yet most people dread the thought of it. Networking is not the awful sweaty handshake and practiced speech that most think it is. It’s simply sharing resources with people you know. You do it everyday! Think about when you told another mom about the best baby food brand or baby comfort toy because you thought it would help her. You’ve done this countless times even today I bet.
If you want to find your next opportunity you have to make it known that you’re looking for one and the best way to do that is list and contact everyone you know. Did you know everyone you know also knows another 150-200 people? Tapping into that many connections could definitely end your job search today.
3. Dust Off Your LinkedIn Profile
Speaking of networking…you absolutely must be on LinkedIn. This is essential for your job search because this is where all your target employers, recruiters, and HR decision-makers are present. This is also the best venue for finding and networking with high-value industry contacts! If you’ve been out of the job search for a while, LinkedIn may sound intimidating, but it’s actually quite simple. First you need open an account. Then, you need to fully optimize your profile branding. And finally, you will need to start connecting and setting up informational interviews with the right contacts in your space.
4. Value the Work You Do as a Mom & Identify Your Greatest Professional Strengths
I work with clients all the time that say “I’ve been out of my career for a while and I just don’t have the confidence to get out there again. All I’ve been doing is parenting.” Sometimes I just want to yell at them like I’m their parent and say “are you kidding me!?” Parenting is a real job and probably the toughest one in the world. There is no rulebook on how to parent. It’s never ending even when your baby is past 18 years of age.
Furthermore to be a successful parent I’m convinced you have to give all of yourself even if that means missing lunch breaks. Valuing all that you do is so important if you want to have the confidence to get back out there and effectively articulate what you’ve been doing since out of the workforce. No employer will want to hire someone who holds their head down as if they are ashamed when explaining they have been a stay at home mom. That attitude can surely tarnish your ability to give your best at work. Be proud and confident because not only does the work you do matter, you have little people looking up to you as well.
Take the time to figure out your transferable skills, personality, and strengths in a way that translates directly to the professional world. Oftentimes it’s just a little self-assessment that is the key to feeling more confident and knowing how to speak about yourself in the interview or networking settings. And of course being able to do this, in and of itself, is a skill that takes practice. Many of our reentry clients find it helpful to take the Strengths assessment and work with a Certified Strengths coach. If you’re feeling really stuck around how to brand yourself, I can’t emphasize enough the value of having some coaching expertise to give you a boot.
5. Shake Off Any Dust by Seeking Advice From Experts, Friends, & Family
Ok you may have been out of the loop a while but there is always hope. Take a job readiness refresher course by visiting your alumni career placement office. Google articles like this one on how to prepare for your job search or invest in yourself by hiring a career coach. You can even call up some close friends and ask them how to go about your search. You don’t have to do this alone and there is hope even if being a stay at home mom is all you know.
6. Update Your Branding Documents: The Resume, Cover Letter & LinkedIn Profile
Don’t wait until the night before your interview to update your documents. Start now! Ask yourself: “What has changed? How do I want to articulate that I’ve been a stay at home mom on my resume?” How can I fill in the most recent resume gap? Clients come to me frequently with that question and it is most enjoyable finding creative ways to help them title their position as stay at home mom. Most importantly make sure every document is current and tells a consistent story of who you are and all you have to offer.
If you’re hoping to improve your re-entry job search and land a job in record time, check out the Job Search Accelerator. In this budget-friendly job landing community you’ll have access to all of Noelle’s expert resources including a FREE resume review, optimized resume and cover letter templates, networking scripts and templates, LinkedIn optimization courses, interview answer scripts and more – everything you need to feel confident, navigate the job search successfully, and put your best foot forward as an applicant.