Transitioning back to work can be difficult for long time stay-at-home mothers. Often transitioning career-seeking moms have lost touch with their professional network. They send their resume in response to job ads and usually end up without a job or with a job that is below their professional level. There is a better way.
Mom’s who have been home for three, five, or even 10 years or more are sometimes daunted with the efforts to look and especially in the current economic climate of unemployment. By considering the following factors with advice from some of America's career experts and successful working mothers, most career seeking mothers will find it easier to transition back into professional life.
1. It Really Is "Who You Know"
Remember the old saying: "It is who you know that gets you there." Well, it is as true as ever. Most employers fill positions by people they know or have met through networking or connections. Stay-at-home moms sometimes feel like they are "out of the networking loop" and need to get back in and make or re-establish their connections.
We advise transitioning stay-at-home mothers to "build bridges" toward the workplace.
Probably 80 percent of professional women find their jobs through contacts, and if you look to your social networks along with your civic and volunteer connections many stay-at-home moms already have great contacts in place to re-enter the working environment.
It is never too late to establish or re-ignite a network. Transitioning career-seekers should join or re-join professional organizations in their field and start to network and develop professional contacts by attending their meetings. Active career-seekers may want to volunteer to serve on committees within the organizations. Looking for an instant comeback? Volunteer to speak at a meeting or professional conference.
A lot of women underestimate not only the strength of their past professional network but also their at-home network.
Transitioning moms should find out what others do and how they can help you professionally. For example, by asking another mom at her child’s soccer league what she does for a living or tapping into your PTA contacts for resources.
Attitude is extremely important, when you are networking. Transitioning career-seekers need to project confidence and enthusiasm. Circulate in your groups and let people know that you are going back to work. It’s great to be able to quickly tell someone in the first 30 seconds what you are looking for in the market in terms of a professional career or connection that would be helpful. Transitioning Stay-at-Home Moms should also read our "Wow them in 30" page on our Blog for tips.
2. New beginnings: Should You Consider a Career Change?
Stay-at-home moms often report that being home and re-entering the workforce allows them the possibility of re-examining their career goals and to sometimes consider a career change. It is an important time to reflect on questions such as "Who am I?", "What are my values?", and "What do I want to do with the rest of my life?"
As a working mom, there are family choices that now come into play where as before any choice put before you was an opportunity. It is critical as you re-enter the work force you have a sense of balance and priority. Now is a good time to consider a work from home management position or flexible full-time. If managing people isn’t your experience or passion you may also want to consider a home-based business of your own to be able to fully set your schedule and contribute financially to the family. Consider all options as you make your decision to transition. The corporate world hasn’t changed much since you’ve been out of the work force, but your own needs have.
Let's face it. Many moms may not want to work the same long hours that they did before. It is important to decide if you want to work full-time or part-time, or do consulting or contractual work. Transitioning career-seekers may want to look for a position with a flexible schedule and telecommuting options.
3. Give it Time
It may take 3-6 months or longer to re-enter the professional job force.
• Leverage your current contacts
• Prepare your 30 Second Wow Speech to help you Network
• Make decisions on Corporate vs. Flexible Full-Time
Get out of the house and meet people, prepare for a long haul…preparation is the key to transitioning back into the work place.
Do you have questions about some of the Flexible Positions for Mothers referenced in this article? Get more information by going to our Blog and researching Positions for Moms that want to maintain Work and Family Life Balance.