October 12, 2010

4 Tips for Making the Transition from Stay-at-Home Parent to Full Time Employee

Whether it’s because of the economy or just because you are looking for new challenges, reentering the work force after several months or years at home with your children can present a lot of challenges.

How do you appeal to employers who want candidates with up-to-date skills and fresh experience? Can you compete with other candidates who just graduated from college and have all the latest research at their fingertips?

Believe it or not, the answer is Yes! Even after 10 years out of the workforce, you can jump back in as long as you know how to package yourself and your experiences. Here are some things to consider:

1. Networking is key. How often do we talk about networking on this blog? Constantly, right?! And we’re always saying how important it is and that something like 60 percent or more of the jobs out there aren’t even advertised. Well, as important as word of mouth is to the average job seeker, it’s even more important to stay-at-home parents looking to reenter the work force. These job networking connections may well make the difference for you between a first response of “too old, out of the loop” and a reaction of “you know what? let’s take a second look”. Dust off your rolodex and start calling people. Contact old employers and colleagues, but also take a look at the carpool pickup lane – who do you know now that might be of assistance to you as you build your future?

2. Volunteer Your Time

Another great way to expand your work-free resume and develop more networking contacts (see #1) is to volunteer your time at a local or national non-profit organization. When you work for a nonprofit, you will be able to strengthen your leadership, organization, administrative, fundraising, management and other types of work-related skills within a professional environment.

3. Make a Functional Resume

Consider seven things you have accomplished in your adult life. Write a short paragraph about what you did in each scenario. Then translate each of these paragraph into a list of action verbs. From among those lists, you will sense a number of themes – leadership, organization, personnel management, interpersonal communication, etc. A functional resume uses those themes as the organizing principles. After your name and contact information, make a list of each of those qualities, with one line of description about how you define that quality. Under each quality, make a bulleted list of experiences through which you developed those skills.

For more information on how to develop your functional resume, read the quintessential career guide, What Color Is Your Parachute.

4. Consider Working From Home

Whether as a way to build up your resume for your “real job” or as the real job itself, working from home as a freelancer is a great way to transition back into the work force. If you have writing skills, you can work as a freelance writer or blogger. If you are crafty, you can sell your works on etsy. If you are a bargain shopper, you can leverage your good deals by reselling on eBay. If you have great typing skills, you can work in transcriptions or medical records. Find out more about work from home jobs here.

Have you made the transition from being a stay-at-home parent to working a full time job? What tips and advice do you have to share? Post in the comments section!

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