We have a special interview with career coach, Kat Lee! Kat has helped numerous stay at home moms get back into the workforce. Today, she’s sharing with us some commonly asked questions that may help YOU get back to work after taking some time off with your children.
Kat specializes in career transitioning whether it be for first time job seekers, re-entry into the marketplace, or changing direction. She has worked with all levels of employees from hourly to executives and she loves to write anyone’s resume except her own. Much of her time was spent working with people who were transitioning out of their jobs in a variety of industries and some wonderful companies such as Qualcomm, Mattel, Allergan and many others. She currently has her own career coaching practice and enjoys helping people one-on one; change direction, find a new job to call home, or practice their interview skills.
QUESTION: I’d love to go back to work, but I have spent the last 6 years as a stay-at-home mom. The jobs I held in the past weren’t really what I call a career either, so I am at a loss for how to even pull together a resume. Can you give me some tips about how to return to the work force?
ANSWER: I won’t lie and say it’s easy to just jump back into the workforce after an extended period away from the workforce, but it’s definitely doable as long as you are open to the differences that may come with having been out for so long. Depending on the field of work you came from, you may even need to be open to a career change.
One of the first things you should do is get your resume up to speed. That may mean revamping an existing resume, or starting from scratch. Now, as much as you do as a stay-at-home mom, what you use on your actual resume is somewhat limited. Changing diapers and packing lunches cannot realistically be turned into Sanitation Manager and Food Services Supervisor, but there are definitely things that can go on an updated resume.
If you have had work experience in the past that lends itself well to what you want to do next, you might consider making a Functional Resume. A Functional Resume is where you list your expertise under headings such as Human Resources, Training and Management and then list dates of employment afterwards. If you are making a change or didn’t work prior, there are probably many things that you have done in the past six years that you could put on your resume.
Brownie/Boy Scout Troop Leader – You can list the projects you organized with the troop, talk about finances you had to handle or even vendors that you may have worked with
School Volunteer – Use the work you did helping children learn to read and write, or if you organized a school event or fundraiser, or maybe you were PTA treasurer.
Community Volunteer – Many of the responsibilities may be helpful in your resume and may even help you to think of new job possibilities. Things such as organizing your Sunday school volunteer schedule, or handing the money for the bake sale, these are all things that can be mentioned on a resume.
Blogger – Definitely writing skills or if you worked with companies setting up give-aways.
The bottom line is you need to think about the skills that you kept up with and used, but maybe they are coming from another setting. There are many things that show transferable skills that will work in the workplace and will go nicely on a resume.
Once you sit down and review all that you have accomplished in the past six years, you are ready for the next step – figuring out what it is you want to do. After thinking about and getting your transferrable skills down on paper, you might start to see a certain theme coming through on your resume which can help you to start your job search.
Don’t forget to think about what type of job it is that you are seeking, can you only manage part-time because of the children, do you want to work from home, would you prefer full-time? Maybe there is a theme of organizing and accounting running through your resume, maybe and office manager might be a good fit. Maybe you notice lots of editing and scheduling so an assistant might be a good fit. Or maybe you are looking for something part-time and you have been doing much of the marketing and fundraising for your church and so a part-time sales job might work for you.
I think it is important to remember to stay flexible and to think outside the box. Remember that you can always seek professional help through a career coach, look into community services such as church job search groups, or even alumni career services to help you attain your goal of employment.
Thank you Kat for this informative discussion! I hope this will help our moms go toward the dream job they’ve been thinking about!
Kate Lee: firstname.lastname@example.org