It takes planning, patience and perseverance to make the back-to-work transition happen, but the end results were well worth the effort. Here are five of my favorite ways to power-up your back-to-work search. For more ideas, be sure to check-out The Back-to-Work-Toolkit: A Guide for Comeback Moms.
1. Create a back-to-work support group:When you think back to your other major life transitions – college graduation, marriage, the birth of a baby – you’ll realize that those transitions were aided by having a support team of family, friends and related professionals around you. Being involved with a support team will provide you with much-needed accountability, emotional support and structure.
2. Get involved with a professional association: This is a great way to meet people of influence within your industry while updating your knowledge of current trends and issues. Attending association meetings/workshops can also be a useful way to network and learn of job openings before they get advertised to the general public.
3. Apply for jobs you actually want: As obvious as this sounds, I've seen too many moms assume they are going to be rejected for jobs simply because they have been stay-at-home moms. Don't let assumptions ground you even before you start the search! As the Lotto commercial says, “You gotta be in it to win it.” If you only apply for low level jobs, you will only get low level offers. The way you position yourself in the marketplace will be critical to the way you are perceived and compensated. Apply for jobs that you believe you can do, prepare a convincing presentation and then go after those jobs with confidence and conviction.
4. Include significant volunteer experiences on your resume: One of the best ways to strengthen a back-to-work resume is to skillfully weave work-related volunteer accomplishments into the experience section of your resume. Unpaid work experience, particularly if it involved leadership, sales, or technical expertise, can help to negate the impact of the employment gap on your resume. Did you chair a major fundraiser? Serve as a board member? Improve the efficiency or profitability of a non-profit? Highlight and quantify the results of your contributions on the resume. Remember, just because you didn’t get paid for your efforts, it doesn’t mean the experience is any less valuable than paid work.
5. Leverage your network for success: Moms are “Networking Queens” when it comes to finding the best resources for their children -- now it’s time to apply that same moxie to your benefit! While old-fashioned face-to-face networking is still the most effective technique, technology has made it easier then ever to stay in the loop, reconnect, and make valuable new contacts. Thanks to the explosion of blogs, websites, and networking services, you can get and stay connected online 24/7. If you haven't already done so, be sure to establish a profile on LinkedIn.com to power-up your network.