Part Two of Returning to Work After Raising Kids

This is the second instalment of a three part series on returning to work after raising kids. Find the first part here.

In the first instalment of this series, we covered tips on how to get some initial meetings that will help you get back into the workforce after time out raising kids.

In this second of the three parts, we will loo at tips for making yourself more attractive to potential employers, highlighting your skills you have acquired both before you took time out to raise kids, and while you were out raising your kids.

Let’s face it, you may have taken time out from your career, but you certainly didn’t take time “off”. You were working hard. Whether you know it or not, you acquired new skills in your parenting life.

Demonstrate these new skills and articulate what you have been up to and why these skills are relevant to your prospective position.

Things to think about:

  • Did you keep up your contacts and skills during this time? If so, make a point of that. If not, get ready to showcase the many transferable skills you maintained and developed. Package them in a way that shows you are ready, willing, qualified and able to handle anything that comes your way at work.
  • Consider creating a functional resume rather than a chronological resume. This way you can focus on your skills and abilities rather than periods of time.
  • Figure out how you can demonstrate your successes through specific anecdotes. For example, if you manage a household budget, oversaw a home renovation or volunteered on a preschool committee,  you can make these relatable to your new position.

Here are some examples of how you can demonstrate your competence:

  • Managing a household budget demonstrates fiscal responsibility, financial planning and budget reconciliation.
  • Participating in Parent Council or PTA shows you have time management skills, experience in organizing events, transportation and fundraising. If you chaired a committee, you delegated, set goals and showed leadership. If you served as a long-term volunteer, you showed that you are reliable and committed.

Additional Career Advice for Positioning Yourself when Returning to Work

Address employer concerns directly

You may sense in an interview or other communication, that your potential employer is uncertain about your level of commitment. Make it clear that you’ve considered all kinds of factors that go into rejoining the work force and you are all set up and supported at home. An employer will want to ensure that you are truly committed and serious about working outside the home.

Other potential concerns to prepare responses for:

  • You aren’t up to date on technology or the latest updates in your field of work. Address this by ensuring you have taken any update courses required and you have stayed current in the field. Don’t expect to catch up on the job.
  • You are “overqualified”, which may mean you are too old. Don’t be offended and don’t give up. Address this concern by telling your potential employer that you have enough life experience not to pursue anything that would bore you. Explain that while you may be more experienced than other candidates, you can provide greater value to the employer and can make an immediate contribution.

Be realistic about salary

Understand that you may have to take a pay cut (from your time before you left the work force) in order to get your foot in the door. Prove yourself and work toward a promotion or another position. Build your current work history. Just because you take this job doesn’t mean you have to stay forever (or what might feel like forever).

Be confident and positive

Attitude and personality are far more important than skills in an interview. Don’t bring personal stresses, like financial concerns or divorce into the interview. Desperation is a turn off.

Be clear on what you want

If you are looking for your corporate dream job, avoid telling an interviewer that you have specific hours that you have to work. If you are married to part-time hours, take an hourly part-time job. Start on a positive note and move forward from there.

In part one of this series, you learned how to get yourself out there in your job search efforts. In this article, we looked at how to position yourself on your resume and in interviews. In part three, we’ll look at other aspects of returning to work that may improve your outlook and point you further along the path to job search success.