Are you a mom who thinks about returning to the workplace, but your plans stop short because of that little nagging voice in your head that says, “Who is going to want to hire me?” As a career consultant who has helped lots of moms get back to work, and as the author of the Back-to-Work-Toolkit: A Guide for Comeback Moms, I can assure you that there are plenty of employers who are very interested in speaking with you. Moms bring a level of maturity, work experience and stability that many employers find lacking in younger workers. As Hans Morris, chief financial officer of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Bank in New York stated in a NY Times article on February 12, 2006, “We’ve had women who were real leaders and demonstrated an ability to get things done but who have dropped out. It’s not that it would be nice to have them – it’s that we need them.” If you’re thinking about stepping back into the professional workplace, here are some strategies to help boost your confidence as you start down this road:
Clarify your goals: As Yogi Berra once said, “If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” Once you are able to clarify your career goals you’ll find it easier to develop an action plan for success. Your goal should include a realistic target date for securing a job, as well as a specific industry and job function role. If you’re having difficulty deciding on a definitive job target, consider getting some assistance by either reading a great career book (such as Wishcraft by Barbara Sher or Finding Your Perfect Work by Paul and Sarah Edwards), attending a career workshop sponsored by your local YWCA or community college or getting some private sessions with a qualified career counselor.
Separate fact from fiction: After you have a clear goal in mind, begin a fact-finding mission to help you separate the “myths” and “realities” of your situation. If you are feeling that your skills are outdated, talk to people in your industry to determine how to best improve your marketability. If you’re worried about age discrimination in the workplace, speak with friends who are actively employed to get their perspective on this issue. Identifying your concerns, and then taking proactive steps to address them, will enable you to focus on the steps needed to ensure an easier transition back to work.
Focus on "Project Me:" Moms are great at doing for others. We bake the cupcakes, write out the party invitations and at the point that our children start the college search, we devoteg hours to helping them identify suitable schools, tour campuses and write college entrance essays. Doesn’t your future deserve that same level of care and attention? Build time into your schedule for the research, networking and administrative tasks needed for a successful job search.
Don’t go it alone: Remember the excitement you felt when you and your friends discussed wedding plans? Sharing your thoughts with others gives you much needed support in times of transition. As a mom contemplating a return to the workplace, don’t try to tackle this transition without getting support. Enroll in a career workshop targeted to moms re-entering the workplace. If you can’t find a workshop in your area, talk to other moms and start a mini-support group on your own.
Last, but certainly not least, be patient. Job search takes time under the best of circumstances, so be realistic in your expectations. Keep a sense of humor, stay committed, and step-by-step, you’ll reach your goal.
Enjoy these tips? Take a look at our exclusive Back-to-Work Toolkit: A Guide for Comeback Moms, a course designed exclusively for professional moms returning to work!!