For many women, starting a family often means putting their career on hold.
According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, in 2012, 29% of mothers did not work outside of their homes, which is an increase from 23% in 1997.
When mothers decide to return to the workforce, they encounter unique challenges in their job search. One of the most pressing concerns is how to showcase their relevance after a prolonged absence from the job market.
Will their career gap make it harder for them to get hired?
Does being a mom spell doom for their resumes in today’s competitive job market?
Contrary to popular belief, being a mom does not disqualify one from pursuing a successful career. By understanding prospective employers’ apprehensions and structuring their resumes and interview responses strategically, moms can increase their chances of a successful career relaunch.
There is no grand conspiracy to keep moms from returning to work. Hiring managers merely seek the best candidates to fill their job openings.
However, they may have reservations about considering candidates who have been out of the workforce for several years.
Here are some of the concerns they may have when they come across a candidate with a work history gap:
- Their skills may be outdated.
- They may not have kept up with industry trends and developments.
- They may struggle to balance their home responsibilities and work obligations.
From a hiring manager’s perspective, recruiting and training a new employee can be costly. They don’t want to make a costly mistake and may opt for a less risky candidate with no employment gaps and a recent work history.
To overcome these concerns, it’s best to address the issue proactively.
Here are some steps you can take to make your career relaunch a success.
1. Concealing the Career Gap
Opt for a skills-based or functional resume format rather than a chronological one, to emphasize your transferable skills that match the job requirements and divert attention from the employment gap.
It’s not recommended to include household or parenting skills on your resume or discuss them during an interview, not because they are insignificant, but because they are usually unrelated to your career goals.
Instead, concentrate on highlighting any relevant experience you may have acquired.
For instance, did you organize a library fundraiser for your child’s school?
That demanded business development, people management, and budgeting skills.
This will demonstrate your ability to focus and your dedication to completing a demanding project.
Explore opportunities in freelancing, contract work, or volunteering in a related field. These entries in your career history will demonstrate your commitment to rejoining the workforce and your track record of successfully balancing additional responsibilities while being a parent.
2. Keep Abreast of Industry Trends
In the rapidly changing world we live in, it’s imperative to stay up-to-date on industry trends.
Whether it’s technology, fashion, or any other industry, staying relevant is key to success.
One way to do this is by becoming a member of professional associations and regularly reviewing industry publications. Through dedicating just a few hours each month to cultivating these connections with the working world, you can reap significant benefits.
Professional associations provide excellent opportunities for networking, which can help you expand your professional circle and make new connections.
Additionally, they can offer a platform to refine your pitch and interview skills, which can be invaluable when it comes to job hunting or advancing your career.
In short, investing time and energy into staying current with industry trends can help you stay ahead of the curve and achieve your professional goals.
3. Keep Your Professional Skills Sharp
In order to stay competitive in today’s rapidly evolving job market, it’s essential to keep your professional skills sharp.
With technology advancing at an unprecedented pace, it’s crucial to ensure that your skills remain relevant and up-to-date.
It’s important to research the skills that prospective employers are looking for and make a strategic effort to highlight the ones you already possess while also acquiring new ones.
There are many options available to you for developing your skills, including taking classes or courses for specific skill sets or technology platforms, attending conferences or workshops, or even volunteering for projects that will help you gain new skills.
It’s essential to prioritize ongoing learning and professional development in order to stay relevant and competitive in today’s job market.
Remember that professional skills are like muscles: they need regular exercise in order to remain strong and flexible. By staying current and actively seeking out new opportunities for growth, you’ll position yourself for success in the years to come.
4. Strategize Your Job Search Location Wisely
When searching for employment opportunities as a mother, it is essential to be strategic about the companies you approach.
Rather than wasting your precious time and effort on employers who view motherhood as a liability, focus your energy on those who value your experience and skills as a parent.
By doing so, you can position yourself as a valuable asset to the company and increase your chances of being hired and retained.
It’s important to remove any personal judgments or opinions about the role of mothers in the workplace and instead prioritize your career aspirations.
Through targeting companies that recognize the benefits of having working mothers on their team, you can take a step towards achieving your professional goals while continuing to prioritize your family responsibilities.
5. Tap Into Your Confidence
One must dig deep and find their confidence when returning to the workforce after a hiatus.
While this may seem like a daunting task, it is essential to remember your value and why you are returning to work.
Hiring managers will be able to read a lack of confidence in your resume, cover letter, handshake, or tone. It is essential to combat these negative feelings with personal clarity and focus on the value that you will add to the company.
Remember that this is not just about you but also about how you can be of service to your potential employer.
Moreover, you don’t have to do this alone, there are various resources available online and offline for jobseekers re-entering the workforce.
Some of these resources require membership fees, while others are free.
iRelaunch is an excellent online resource that offers advice for those returning to work.
Corpsteam and Mom Corps is a national staffing and search companies that focus exclusively on the placement of experienced professionals in fractional, flexible, and virtual positions.
The Glass Hammer is a professional career resource for women, and Ellevate Network offers online resources for professional women for a membership fee, and can work particularly well if there is a local chapter near you.
Finally, consider reconnecting with old mentors, co-workers, or bosses as they can provide valuable insight and advice.
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