“For the last 8 years I’ve been a stay-at-home mom. It’s been so long since I’ve been in the job market. How can I get a job? Help!”
This week we received a question from Jill that is common in career management, chances are you (or someone you know) is in the same situation as Jill. Years ago you decided to start a family… but now that your kids are older, how can you get back in the swing of things?
You are not alone, don’t get frustrated, and never give up or lose a positive attitude. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are over 5 million stay-at-home parents present within our country. Many women–even men–elect to put their career on hold to start a family. The trick to reentering the job market when the time comes is no different than when you first entered it… you have to be able and ready to show employers your value. It doesn’t matter how many years it’s been since you’ve worked, as long as you can prove your qualifications.
Career Tip: Though the world has changed (dramatically), concentrate of the VALUE you offer a company.
Can’t get around the fact you will most likely be asked about your gap in employment history during an interview. Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy, but don’t get too chatty and spill potential employer concerns.
Taking the initiative and desensitizing possible hesitations typically works in your favor. When applying for a job, use the cover letter as a means to address the gap. Take a moment to imagine what an employer is thinking: Can I count on this potential new hire to come to work as scheduled or will at-home responsibilities and issues prevent this… for example, a youngster with a fever equates to a no-show. In order to convince the hiring manager, project confidence in your career decision to stay at home with your children but also ensure your dedication to the workplace.
With that being said, there are methods to lessen the severity of an employment gap. Many professionals opt to construct a chronological resume that lists employment history by order of date… this is not for you and, in general, not the most effective format for any job seeker. Instead, learn how to construct a skills-based resume that highlights your skills, experience, and accomplishments before you had children.
The best way to show all of the above is by detailing accomplishments within a PAR structure: Problem, Action, and Result. This is a basic framework for displaying your skills and experience in a way that highlights the value you bring. Take, for example, a basic responsibility for many employees: answering phones…
Problem: Large volume of callers, all needing to be answered
Action: Quickly and efficiently directed incoming calls to appropriate work centers and staff
Result: Minimized caller wait time
Now, you have a complete sentence displaying what the employer wants to know…
“Quickly and efficiently directed large volumes of incoming callers to appropriate work centers and staff, minimizing caller wait time.”
But we may be getting ahead of ourselves. You still need to find the appropriate position to apply for. Time for some bad news… finding a job may be easier if you limit yourself to the same industry and location (if possible) of your last held job.
Career Tip: Tap into your pre-existing network.
If you happen to still be friends with or kept in contact with previous co-workers, these are excellent individuals to network with. Ask them for an informational interview, perhaps over lunch. Have them explain to you how your industry has changed over the years. You’ll be surprised how many things can change over a short time span. The objective here is to prove to an employer that you are still relevant in your given industry.
If you would like additional information or assistance in any career-related manner, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cutting edge single topic career workbooks and complete career lifecycle books are available at our website (www.edu-cs.com) or visit us at Amazon.com (search Danny at ECS).
Written By Brandon Hayhurst
Education Career Services