As a stay at home mom embarks on a job search, there are many unique considerations that she has to address. We have touched on several of these in previous posts in this series, including building an effective resume, networking and getting your family ready for your return to work. In this post, we address some effective ways to identify positions that you may be qualified for and how you can create opportunities in your job search.
Stay at home moms sometimes have confidence issues in the job search. Let’s face it – as stay at home moms, most of us have experienced that awkward moment at a social gathering when someone asks what we do. When we tell the truth about our current state of employment, all too often we sense the person’s perception of us shift. (I once had someone I’d just met reply, in a shocked tone, “But, you’re so…smart!” when I told her I was staying home with my children!) In our culture, we have unfortunately come to define ourselves (and judge each other) largely by our professions and the material successes we have achieved. So it’s hard to feel like anyone – from those within our network to potential employers – will have a real understanding of the challenges we have faced staying home.
If you feel that a lack of confidence is hindering your job search, there are some simple steps you can take to help you feel more empowered. They can also be resume builders and help you refine your professional persona – something that may have gotten rusty in your time at home. Even if you’re not job hunting yet, these are also valuable ways to remain relevant in your field and keep your professional identity while you raise a family.
For example, you can enroll in classes at a local adult education school or an evening continuing education program for other professionals. This is a great way to become more valuable to a potential employer and it also expands your network rather painlessly if you take the time to get to know your classmates.
You can volunteer your professional services in a visible role for almost any community-service organization. Be upfront about your intention to use the volunteer opportunity as a steppingstone to get back to work. Many organizations are so grateful for motivated, hardworking help that they will not only respect your honesty, but will likely help you parlay your experiences with them by providing references and helping you form relevant professional connections.
Freelancing can be another great way to grow your confidence and supplement the family income as your schedule and profession allow. Think about ways you can use your talents and interests to create opportunities for yourself. If you have taken up photography, for example, you could submit samples to your local community-oriented publications and offer to shoot any events that you plan to attend, to help you build a portfolio and reputation.
Consider writing a white paper or a professional blog, and comment on others’ blogs to link back to your own. Provide content for professional newsletters, or organize an event – maybe even form your own networking organization for other former stay at home moms! Get creative, and be proactive. Identify problems that you can solve. Your goal is to make your value clearly visible, remind yourself of all that you have to offer, and demonstrate that you are ready to make a commitment to your career. As your confidence grows, opportunities will multiply.
This blog post was contributed by Interview Angel‘s Dawn Walker, a SAHM of 12 years. We encourage you to join the discussion by sharing your own stories and issues as we explore the best ways for stay at home moms to re-enter the workforce.