You had a baby and decided to be a stay-at-home mom to enjoy all the little moments that are so quick to become a memory. Then as your children got older, nearing daycare or preschool, you started re-evaluating your professional life and the next step in your career. This scenario describes many moms as they often realize they want to get a foot back into the workplace for both professional and financial stability when their children start school. If this describes what you’re currently feeling, now is the time to create your career re-entry strategy.
Here are five steps that will help you navigate your post-SAHM career re-entry and motivate you to take the first steps along your new path:
Explore the reason for going back to work. What is it that you are looking to accomplish - Career satisfaction? Money? Flexibility? This will help guide your decisions of where to start and what benefits you require. Many WAHMs desire some form of workplace flexibility in order to maintain a manageable work-life balance, and companies such as WorkOptions.com can help you negotiate flexible arrangements with your employer.
Start With Low Commitment
Look into part-time or freelance positions. These options offer a lower time commitment than jumping into a full-time role, and will give you time to further assess your motivations, goals and interests. Also, don’t discount volunteering - roles that pertain to your professional interests can bolster your resume after time out of the workforce. Look for organizations such as Taproot.org that match nonprofits’ needs with people providing pro bono expertise (it’s also a great opportunity to network with working professionals on the project teams).
Network And Reconnect
Reach out to former colleagues and friends who are currently in the workforce to explore what's out there and let people know you are interested and available for career opportunities. And remember, everyday networking opportunities such as the supermarket, car wash and even the playground can really pay off. Some of the best networking occurs in the company of other moms who may have been in the same situation as you and who are quick to provide support.
Updating your profile on LinkedIn is also an important part of this step. The business social network has become the standard professional networking and recruitment tool. Also consider joining professional and social organizations, as well as alumni associations, which often offer robust networking events with people who are usually willing to help.
Seek out programs that will help further guide you through your transition back into the workforce. For example, flexible staffing company Mom Corps recently launched Mom Corps YOU. It's an online learning community that helps you better integrate your personal and professional lives, and provides guidance to moms during their exploration of career re-entry. The program includes one-on-one live chat coaching sessions with recruiters, access to templates and tutorials, and webinars with inspirational women such as Tory Johnson and Jean Chatzky.
Update Professional Skills
Look into local resources at libraries and YMCAs - many offer career-related workshops and events. Plus, online classes offered through companies such as lynda.com and udemy have courses ranging from general business to software and computer literacy, as well as industry specific topics, that will offer quick training on any skills you need to brush up on.
These ideas should provide a good starting point to help you take the first step in getting back to the workforce and navigating your career re-entry. Good luck!