Mother's Day has come and gone, but for many moms in the region, there is a desire for something more. Check out these tips on ways women can make their return-to-work journey as seamless as possible.
Now that the brunch has been paid for, the kids’ artwork is on the fridge door, and the flowers are just starting to wilt in the Mother’s Day vase, many stay-at-home moms across the Puget Sound region may be thinking about a change of scenery. Perhaps it’s time to resume the careers that these women put on hold to raise their kids.
If you are one of these women, you’re not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all mothers with children under age 18 worked or were looking for work in 2014. Fortunately, with the job market steadily improving, the options are more diverse than ever. Here are a few tips about how you can make that transition a bit easier as the nest empties out.
Transfer mom skills for networking. Most “stay-at-home” moms spend about as many hours outside the home as they do inside. Whether they’re dropping kids off at school, driving them to soccer practice or arranging play dates, today’s mothers come into contact with dozens of other parents, many of whom still have full-time jobs. The complex texting trees mothers have developed to share parental responsibilities are like a low-tech version of Linked-In — only this social network is based on face-to-face contact rather than impersonal clicks. Just imagine how many potential business connections you have at your fingertips.
Remember your volunteer work. If you think the last dozen years of being a homemaker don’t count as “work experience,” start taking stock of the countless after-school activities, PTA events, school plays and fundraisers you took part in over the years. If you’ve ever managed a bake sale, you probably learned some valuable lessons about project management. Be sure to include these volunteer efforts on your resume and mention how you were able to meet and/or exceed your goals.
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Consider telecommuting. If the 9-to-5 office grind is too drastic a change, the number of work-from-home jobs has grown rapidly — not just minimum-wage, envelope-stuffing gigs, but stimulating, high-level positions, like “public affairs communication specialist,” “senior director, fundraising,” “staff attorney” and “vice president, business development.” According to Sara Sutton Fell, founder of telecommuting resource website FlexJobs, “many mothers have a need or a desire to work professionally while also being more available for their families than traditional jobs have allowed. Telecommuting jobs provide more opportunity to be successful in both of these roles.”
Go back to school. You’ve dragged your reluctant kids off to school each morning, now it’s time to do the same for yourself. You may be a networking ninja and a master of multitasking, but it’s almost inevitable that some technical skills may have eroded somewhat. If you want to make sure you still have what it takes, sign up for some refresher courses or join a professional association to update your knowledge of the latest software tools.