A couple of my mom friends took a Return to Work Mom class at a nearby university to plot a return to the workforce after 8+ years at home with the kids. A strategy and a support group are key because, as it turns out, it’s not easy to return to work for moms who stayed home even if they are looking to get back into the field that they left.
My mom friend Tracey was a computer software trainer with her own business that she successfully sold before kids. Her return back to work should have been easy … but no. The training landscape had changed immensely with eLearning, distance learning, webinars and the like. It took her a good two years of networking as a full-time job to land her dream job. Her message to moms who want to return to work is not to give up. Perseverance and relentless networking are what make the difference.
Returning to work is also a great time to consider a career transition. My mom friend Lynn was a recruiter and a well-respected manager but now, as a mom who stayed home for twelve years, wants a job that will allow for work-life balance. She also wanted to explore interests that had been percolating during the years at home with kids: something creative yet physically active, and something that made her feel like she was doing good in the world.
Her transition back to work is a work in progress. She started her own business as a gift concierge (The Gift Huntress); she handles the back office for our town’s busiest real estate agent, and she helped out kids at a special needs summer camp. Along the way, she picked up her real estate license and took a course to become a personal trainer.
Returning to college to finish up a degree, study something specific, or earn an advanced degree is another route for Return to Work Moms. eLearning has made this an easier possibility for busy moms balancing family while pursuing a new career. What does eLearning look like these days? I researched Adelphi University to check this phenomenon out.
You can study entirely online.
They have three Master’s Programs in Nutrition, Emergency Management, and Healthcare Informatics. Nutrition is one of the fastest-growing fields in the country and lends itself to work-life balance for moms who might want to set up their own practice. Emergency Management prepares students for leadership roles in organizations and services that deal with emergencies. The field of healthcare informatics is designed for established healthcare professionals as well as non-health professionals, such as those in IT and business fields, who are looking to change careers.
You can study online or take blended courses
If a Master’s degree is not part of your return to work plan, Adelphi also has individual courses that are available online or in-person across all their different schools.
What looks interesting to me?
- Accounting For Managerial Analysis ( I need a refresher course in accounting)
- Survey Of Acquired Neurogenic Speech Disorders (My mom friend Lynn might be interested in Special Needs Education courses)
- Introduction To Computers And Their Applications (My mom friend Susan wanted to take a class to learn how to use a spreadsheet)
- Digital Literacies (How do multimedia, texting, chat, status updates, and hypertext change the way we read and interpret texts? Sounds like something all parents need to be aware of!)
Top 10 Tips for Return to Work Moms
I’ve consulted my friend Tracey for her Top 10 Tips for returning back to work.
10. Track down your old colleagues
Get advice on how the landscape has changed in your field. Are there new technologies, acronyms, or processes to be aware of?
9. Use Social Media
Do you need an online portfolio of your work? Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? Are you active in LinkedIn groups that might lead to referrals in your field? Who has your dream job? Do you need an introduction to get an informational interview?
8. Brush up on your skills
Do you need a refresher course? Do you need to do a volunteer project to gain some necessary experience? Have you identified the new skills that you need?
7. Network like it’s your job
Return to Work IS a full-time job. Join networking groups. Form your own group. Set up coffees and informational interviews. These face-to-face meetings will be the key to your foot back in the door.
6. Tailor each resume and cover letter
It’s better to send out a handful of thoughtfully written cover letters tailored for each position rather than shotgunning out dozens.
5. Follow up on each opportunity
Thank you notes go a long way. As do a follow-up call that is enthusiastic but not annoying. Ask if your contact doesn’t mind a follow-up call every six months to see if anything new has popped up. Then, put it in your calendar and make that call!
4. Think creatively
You need to stand out and the person you want to meet with might not pay attention at first. Your creativity in reaching this person might impress. The choice of your resume paper (yes … send hard copy, not just an attachment), and the extra effort you make will get you that meeting and possibly that job. Want coffee but the hiring manager isn’t responding. Try sending a mug with a bag of coffee along with a note. Or hand deliver.
3. How many degrees of separation?
Everyone is 6 degrees of separation from you but probably less! Research, research, research to find out the key contact person and then use social media to reach out to them. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to get someone to respond to a tweet (easy) versus return a phone call (hard).
2. Use volunteer work to gain experience
If you keep getting feedback that you need to demonstrate experience in a particular skill set, consider doing volunteer work to bridge that gap.
1. Don’t Give Up
Persistence is the key! Finding that perfect job is worth holding out for. Please share your advice for return to work moms or moms who want to career change. What was something that worked for you? Thank you!
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I’ve partnered with Adelphi University for this compensated post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.