Maybe you left the work force for several years to devote time to raising your family and are out of the work loop. You may feel you have little to contribute to conversations with your friends in the corporate world. Does water cooler gossip mix with sandbox antics?
Your sense of apprehension may be for different reasons: you’re ready to venture back to the workplace and are not sure how to play up your skills or explain your hiatus. Or perhaps you have “Mompreneur” dreams and are unsure of how to get started.
The skills you use to manage home and family life–leadership, time management, organization, crisis management, these count! When you are ready to present yourself as a job candidate, keep these skills top-of-mind, with concrete examples that demonstrate times you’ve effectively used them.
Remember that “staying at home” is a choice and one choice is not “better” or “worse” than any other. When you make choices in line with your values, there is no need to be apologetic! Many times, at-home moms present themselves as though they have a “deficit” in the professional world due to their decisions. Focus on your values and you will find that therein lies the strengths and convictions in your choices, rather than “faults”.
Take some time to explore your answer to “what do I want to be when I grow up?”
Your response may surprise you and might be quite different than what is was even just a few years ago! Give yourself time to daydream- the practical applications can come a bit later! Think of your values, ethics, ideal work/life balance, interests, skills, personality traits, and strengths. Next, start researching careers that match the items on your list.
What if you don’t have experience?
If you find as you explore options that your interests lie in areas in which you lack experience, now is the time to get strategic. Read articles from reputable resources. Scour the internet for free (or low-cost) webinars and get up to speed. Take an introductory class, find a mentor, or connect with someone who would take you on as an apprentice. Set up an informational interview to learn more. These suggestions also work for aspiring Mompreneurs. Find other Mompreneurs or Presidents of WOBs (Women-Owned Businesses) who can take you under their wings and share their best practices.
Volunteer for a charity event, do administrative work at your favorite not-for-profit, or participate in the PTA or a community association. These are viable experiences that you can include on your resume or professional profile and help build your credibility and your experience.
There are countless other ways to develop your arsenal to effectively venture back into the workforce. Take the pace as slow or as quickly as best suits you. Make sure to enlist your champions and mentors to help you along the way. Best of luck in your search!
Victoria Crispo, Career Coach