Getting back into the job market after a break to care for young children can be a daunting task. First and foremost, you have to consider childcare alternatives, and then focus your attention on the demands and logistics of the potential job. Finding the right job can be a challenge, especially if you have been out of the workforce for a while. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to land a position that fits in with your new lifestyle as a mom.
Finding the perfect someone to take care of the kids while you look for work and when you land a job is not easy. Some lucky moms have family support nearby, or they may have a hubby who works from home or has flexible hours. The majority of women will have to investigate outside sources of childcare. While there are several options, they do not come free. Nannies and one-on-one babysitters can be expensive. Daycare for infants, which typically features a low caretaker-to-child ratio, is also costly. You may be able to work something out with a friend by taking turns babysitting. Some women like to work to keep up with their careers and feel engaged and productive. However, if financial considerations are important, the bottom line is that the position you accept should at least pay for childcare, or come close. You do not want your job to cost you money.
What Kind of Job?
You may have been a high-power professional or businesswoman, but as a mom your priorities may be different now. If jobs in your field are located far from home, consider a local position in a related field. Commuting can be time-consuming, costly and frustrating, and unless the job pays well it may not be worth it, especially if you have a family at home. You may opt to take a lower paying position that is convenient and close to the house, even if the job is not in your preferred line of work. You can also consider a part time job, which can allow the flexibility you need when caring for small children. Even if you fully expect to go back into the line of work you did prior to having a family, landing a job in a totally different area can be a pleasant diversion and even contribute to your skill set in unexpected ways. Think of Steve Jobs taking classes in art, which led to his emphasis on design for Apple products.
Should you choose to pursue a completely different career field than your previous one, you might need to update your skills and qualification as well. With online classes, you’ll be able to do just that right at the comfort of your own home and at your own pace. For example, if you’re looking to get into a career as a social worker, getting an online masters in social work will greatly improve your prospects in getting into that line of job.
Updating your Resume
Pull out your old resume and prepare to make major changes. Chances are you have a dated chronological resume that focuses on the continuity of your employment. Your new resume should focus on your skills, and what you can bring to the company. This is sometimes called a functional resume. Of course, you can list your previous jobs and your accomplishments. Just make sure you do so in a way that shows how your previous successes will empower you to be successful in your new job. If you are applying to a large firm, be aware that computers sometimes select resumes to be considered. To make sure that yours is among those chosen, list the skills mentioned in the job description as skills you possess, and incorporate other terminology from the job advertisement.
Volunteer Jobs Count
While you are conducting your job search, take the opportunity to volunteer and add your volunteer accomplishments and skills to your resume. For example, if you obtained advertisers for a newsletter, planned events for the nursery school program or helped out with fundraising, you practiced valuable skills that can translate to a job setting. Volunteerism can also be a way to get your foot in the door at the company you wish to work for. By accepting a volunteer assignment, at the very least you will get out there and meet people who may be in a position to help you get a job in the future.
Networking to Get Hired
You may be looking online for a job on websites like CareerBuilder and Monster, but networking is also effective, especially if you are in a highly specified field. Hopefully you have kept up with past coworkers, but even if you did not, contact them now to explain that you are ready to jump back into the job market, and ask if it would be alright to send along your current resume. Update your profile on LinkedIn, and use other social media sites like Facebook to connect with others and let them know the situation. Tell people you are looking, including your hair stylist and neighbors down the street. You never know who they know. This is also a time to clean up your act on social media sites and remove any pictures or other material that may be offensive to potential employers.
Become a Mompreneur
While you are waiting to secure a position that fits in with your family responsibilities, you may tap into your creative side and become a mompreneuer. This is a term describes female business owners who balance the role of being a mom with the role of entrepreneur. The Internet has opened up a world of possibilities and stay-at-home moms invent and sell products online right from home. Many different businesses have been started by moms, from tech-savvy moms who design smartphone apps to those who design products to make motherhood easier.