Many parents find themselves having to pause their career and temporarily exit the workforce after having children. It’s often a decision made out of necessity, not choice; women, in particular, have to stay home to care for their children in the absence of excess cash to pay for a nanny or a daycare center.
They do this in the hopes that, one day, they can go back to the workforce and resume their climb to success within their industry. Most of the time, however, it’s easier said than done.
Many parents who had to quit from work for several years find themselves struggling to find an employer. Sometimes, they’re passed over by companies who hire people with fresh skills and no ‘negative’ employment gap on their resumes. Other times, it’s because those employers don’t recognize the value of what these parents have to offer — an intimate knowledge about many different things that would help them succeed as a professional.
Here are 5 tips for re-entering the workforce as a stay-at-home parent:
Learn New Skills
Being a stay-at-home parent is the perfect time to brush up on your skills and learn new things. While the children are sleep, you can take up online courses, read a book, or watch videos on YouTube that will arm you with new trades that will make you more attractive to potential employers. All professionals should continue learning anyway to remain competitive in the always evolving market.
It’s also a great time to improve or strengthen the skills that you already have. You may find that you’re rusty in some areas or that you need to upgrade your knowledge because of changing technology.
Learn How to Use Social Media
Social media can be a blessing and a curse when it comes to getting back into the workforce. Employers often don’t look kindly on people with ‘dated’ profiles, such as Twitter accounts that haven’t been updated in months (or years) or Facebook pages full of party photos from six months ago.
On the other hand, social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter are very important networks for professionals to be active in; companies tend to use them as tools for finding new employees and keeping tabs on others.
You should learn how to use these sites properly and look professional while you’re at it! These aren’t social networking sites for teenagers; they’re serious business networks where you can find other professionals and keep in touch with them.
Enhance Your ‘Soft Skills’
It’s easy to turn to technology as a crutch when it comes to re-entering the workforce, but your soft skills — such as your ability to communicate properly, interact with others professionally, and make people feel at ease — are still very important. You may be an excellent writer or researcher or problem solver behind a computer screen, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be great at actually talking and interacting with real life human beings.
Learn Some Business Etiquette… Again
You may have been in charge of your company’s business strategy, product launches, and marketing campaigns at one point; but while you were away from work, everything else has changed as well — right down to how things are done at the office and some basic etiquette that you probably haven’t had to use in a while.
The best thing you can do is keep an open mind, be ready to learn something new every day, and above all else, be professional!
Beef up Your Resume
If you’re looking for a job, there’s nothing more important than having a great resume ready to go. While being unemployed is certainly not an ideal position, your financial situation may have given you the chance to work on some things that will make you stand out from the crowd once again like beefing up your resume with new experiences and skills.
While your educational background could get you to the door, it won’t be the sole reason why employers may hire you. Regardless, it still might help to highlight your academic achievements in your resume if you lack employment history.
Those who don’t have a degree can still land a job. There are online services that create diplomas, especially for those who completed their GED. However, don’t use them to fake your credentials. While not illegal, these services are meant to be utilized for those who want a physical proof of their accomplishment where a diploma or certificate isn’t present, a placeholder for the real thing, or for fun to prank family and friends.
Employers can still check your credentials and can find out if an entry on your resume is false and inaccurate.
In this article you have been given tips on how to stay sought after by employers as a stay-at-home parent. This is not an easy task, but if you follow these five basic steps, it can be done.