Monday, February 23, 2015

Job Hunting for Stay-At-Home Moms

Recently, one of my former clients, Sharon W., contacted me to create a couple of new resumes for her. Sharon is a stay-at-home mom who recently separated from her husband. Due to her new change in status, she realized it would be necessary for her to get back into the workforce. Surprisingly, unlike many people in her situation (out of the workforce for 5+ years, never finished college, two children to raise, etc.), Sharon was not feeling at all hopeless. She seemed to be invigorated by this new challenge. You are probably thinking, “That’s a healthy outlook!” and you are right. It is a healthy outlook, but despite how healthy the outlook, it is not the view that most of us would have in her situation. Typically, we would be in search of company with whom we could share our misery. After all, “What am I going to do with 2 kids, no job, no education, and limited experience?”

What made Sharon view this new life as a challenge that she could overcome? Why wasn’t she falling apart at the thought of having to start all over? I’ll tell you what and why knowledge. As I mentioned before, Sharon was a former client. Over the years, she had taken a couple of my workshops and also participated in my group career coaching sessions. As a participant in those programs, Sharon was well aware that her value as an employee was more about how she packaged herself in alignment with the needs of her future employer. She realized that as a stay-at-home mom, she was developing and sharpening skills that would be useful in any field (transferable skills). Additionally, she knew that networking was her best path to a new job and had already begun reaching out to friends and former colleagues. Sharon was not about to sell herself short, because she made the choice to be a SAHM.

Here are a few examples of the skills I was able to extract from Sharon’s years as a stay-at-home mom:
  • Sharon had started a non-profit organization for girls, which made use of leadership, fundraising, communication, researching, organizational, and event planning skills.
  • As a mom of two, Sharon was tasked with finding appropriate educational curriculum for her children, one of whom was special needs. This increased her knowledge of educating special needs children and strengthened her research skills. It also required a lot of networking, since she had to reach out to other parents and suppliers to obtain needed information.
  • Another hat worn by Sharon was that of field trip organizer. As a field trip organizer, she had to adhere to deadlines, manage funds, negotiate costs, and ensure appropriate human resources were available.

Those are just a few examples of what I was able to glean from Sharon’s years as a SAHM. If you decide to use some of these examples, please remember that these are to be listed under your skills section or if you have a sufficient quantity of items, you could create a section in your resume that contains volunteer and/or leadership experience. Please do NOT list your time as a stay-at-home mom as a job. Most employers would not take it seriously and your goal here is to get a job not to give potential employers a few laughs.

Hopefully, this has got you thinking about how you can package yourself for your new job. Be strong, be confident and have faith in your abilities. By the way, I mentioned earlier that Sharon needed a couple of resumes. The reason for that will be saved for another blog posting. Until then… Peace and Blessings to you!