You did it. You committed yourself to staying home with your kids for a few years. Now you want to get back into the career you left behind.
It's impossible Ã¢â‚¬â€œ that's what a lot of other mothers, employers and even your husband might tell you.
It's hard but what in life isn't hard. Handling a baby and a two year old on three hours of sleep is hard but it's doable.
The good news is employers are starting to recognize the value of stay at home moms. Nonnie Waller's Traditional Southern, a bakery that ships nationally, targeted moms as their first employees because moms were responsible and willing to work. Best Buy's corporate headquarters has adjusted employee hours to help parents out. Basically there's no nine to five anymore. It's get your work done and make your own hours. Microsoft, Pricewaterhouse and Cooper, and Grant Thornton have all started alumni networks for former employees in hopes of luring them back. One of their big targets is women who have been out of the work force. Other smaller companies are taking their lead and starting their own networks. There's even a website called HireMyMom.com, which allows moms to connect with businesses looking for help on projects.
Now that you know that there's a lot out there the next step is figuring out what you want. Give yourself a few months to ease into applying for a job, if you can. Think about where you want to be in five years. Write down who you'd like to work for and what position you would love to have.
Then call a couple human resources people at companies you dream of working for, ask them what qualifications are needed for the job you want and ask them what they're looking for currently because you might be able to get into the company at a lower level and work up.
Once you've figured out what you want and what it will take to get it you have to analyze the steps you need to take to fill in the gap between the two.
- Do you need to take a course or two?
- Do you need more on the job experience?
- Do you need to know more of the right people?
- Do you need to wait until the position opens up?
After you clarify what you have to do to get your ideal job you can begin your real job search. That's right your ideal job will most likely not be your first job when you reenter the workforce. It probably won't be your second job either. Prepare for putting in some time in a position that you don't love but will get you to one that you will. Decide on where to look for a first job based on where you want to be in five years.
If there's a company you're dying to work for, you might consider taking a lower level job to get your foot in the door. If there's a specific employer you want to impress, you could take a job at a less prestigious place that allows you to showcase your skills.
You need to couple your job search with a lot of face time. Not schmoozing exactly. Schmoozing sounds like it's laced with cheap wine and chicken wings. What you need to do is show up at professional organization meetings and other places you know the people you want to hire you will be. You want to soft sell yourself over weeks of interaction. This isn't a sprint it's a marathon and you don't want to become known as the lady with a hire me sign around her neck. It's enough to tell people you're looking for a job. If people want to help you they'll do the rest.
Remember where you are now isn't where you'll be forever. The job you had when you were twenty isn't the job you had when you were thirty. In a sense starting over is like beginning a new career you usually have to pay some dues to get to the really great job. The difference between now and your twenties is the ramp up time is a lot quicker.