After months or years of changing diapers and packing school lunches, the professional world may seem completely disparate to stay-at-home moms. Yet, you may be surprised to realize that moms have historically had higher levels of ambition than women overall. You are bound to find challenges in this transition, both personal and societal, but here are some tips to help you transition as smoothly as possible.
Every Mother Has Professional Skills
If you feel underqualified for that managerial position, well, think again. You already manage a household every single day that has you negotiating, delegating tasks, and delivering projects under pressure. Here are the top four skills every mother has and should put on their resume:
- Multitasking: Your day is filled to the brim with tasks for your kids, your spouse, household chores, your finances, and more. You probably multitask every second of the day and don’t even realize it because it’s second nature.
- Adaptability: How many times has your kid suddenly told you the day of that there was a bake sale or it was crazy hair day at school? Moms adapt to last-minute crises constantly. So, there’s no reason you can’t do the same in a fast-paced work environment.
- Time Management: Think of all the doctor appointments, teacher conferences, and after-school activities you schedule for your kids. You consistently manage not only your children’s lives but your own schedule on top of it. You are a pro when it comes to time management, and any employer would be thankful to have someone like you on their team.
- Conflict Resolution: Parenting also means you compromise and defuse situations often. If you can convince your little ones to eat a vegetable, then you can definitely convince two co-workers to resolve their differences.
Tips for Reentering the Professional World
Update Your Resume and Cover Letter
The first place to start is updating your resume and cover letter. You may not have new work experience to add, but you can include any volunteer work, freelancing, or leadership positions. Also, if you are worried about your age while applying, there are ways to avoid ageism in your job search.
Try our free resource on the best tips and tricks for resumes and cover letters here.
Negotiate for Flexible Hours or Hybrid Work
You shouldn’t have to choose between your job and your family. It may take some time to find a balance between mom and boss, but companies with flexible working hours or hybrid options allow many mom’s to be there whenever their kids need them.
Research the Industry
It will have been some time since you were in your industry and things change. Researching the newest trends, platforms, and more can help you get reacquainted and impress recruiters. You can also find new skills to learn that may set you apart from other candidates.
Try Starting Slow
Unless you are under time constraints, nothing is stopping you from starting out slow with part-time or contract work and building your way up to full-time positions. Work-life balance will be difficult to adjust to, and part-time hours allow you to ease back into the workforce while still having time to manage your family responsibilities.
Mentorship is vital for professional development and advancement. Reverse mentoring means you are learning from someone who has more experience in a particular topic than you, but they are younger or have an equal or lower position. You can read our free guide to mentorship here.
Practice Your Interviewing Skills
If interviews are not your strong suit, consider reaching out to friends or family to help you practice. Learn more about how to sell yourself in an interview here.
Reach out to friends, family, and former colleagues to let them know you are looking to return to work. They can connect you with recruiters, clients, or informational interviews that can lead to a new job. Also, attend professional events or join groups related to your industry to meet new people and learn about job opportunities.
Why transition alone when you can do it with a global community of professional women? The International Association of Women is dedicated to providing resources, support, and education at any point in your life. Connect with IAW influencer members, like Monica Morgan, who work to create safer spaces for women. She co-founded a nonprofit, The Burning Bra, with her two daughters to provide support and resources that empower women in the home, the workplace and the community. Their mission draws from their personal experiences of facing the challenge women face each and every day in order to live their best lives.
Find out more on our website about how an IAW membership can benefit you.