Moms Returning to Work
Joanne left the workforce 14 years ago when her daughter was a baby. Now that the daughter is driving, Joanne began to consider breaking back into the workforce. She contacted me for career guidance in June, when she saw an advertisement for the ideal job. She had no résumé, and no well-considered plan on how to integrate back into the working world.

We created a powerful résumé detailing both her old experience and more recent volunteer skills. We wrote a powerful cover letter and sent both the letter and résumé to a prospective company. Within two days the human resources managers at the target company called to set up an interview. We did a crash session on interviewing and Joanne went off to her first job interview in more than a dozen years.

The result? She was offered a great job with a very nice salary, and they needed for her to start almost immediately. Unfortunately, Joanne hadn’t thought through the complications of no longer being 100% available to her executive husband and daughter. In the end, she turned the job down because she wanted the summer off, and then, after serious soul searching, she realized that part time employment with a lot of flexibility was all she could handle at this stage of her life.

Lora became a client when she separated from her husband and was forced to return to work. She had been in sales years ago, before the two kids, but now she had to work and be a mother at the same time.

Working together we determined that two of the most important things she needed were good benefits and stable hours so she could arrange daycare. I also thought she should try temporary work, since she was emotionally fragile and needed to ease back into work mode while still meeting the needs of her children. We created a good résumé and she landed a “temp” job at Microsoft doing inside sales that paid $50,000 annually. Within a year they hired her for a full-time position. She loves the job, and by her second year she was making over $100,000.

Marianne was an executive who had left her job eight years ago when her husband’s executive position mandated that they relocate. When her husband got seriously ill, she was forced back into the workforce. We worked together while she went through this crisis. She needed some classes to update her skills and did a great deal of industry research on her own to get back up-to-speed. The effort paid off when she landed a high-paying position.

Many women want to restart a career after beginning a family, but with years out of the workforce they question their own worth and whether anyone would hire them. The job search process can seem downright scary causing many women to stay on the sidelines. That won’t happen to you if you start with a workable action plan. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Soul Search

Do some self-analysis. Consider: What do I want to do? What do I most enjoy doing? Do I want to seek part-time or full-time employment? Narrow down your career options. Employers hire you to do a specific job so be able to define exactly what you can do to fit their needs.

Establish a happy career path

Identify your top strengths and assess your abilities and experience (paid and volunteer). Consider what interests you most and focus on how to best apply your talents in a career in which you have a passionate interest. Research the potential job options available and select one or two interesting job titles to pursue.

Be ready to work

Be prepared to clearly illustrate that you have solid, dependable daycare and a reliable backup plan so you will be dependable. Anticipate any overtime requests, travel, and consider the commute time too, when selecting a daycare which may have very rigid hours of service.

Know how to job hunt

According to the Department of Labor, networking accounts for 63% of all jobs filled. 63%! Ask everyone you know for referrals. Many job openings are posted online (several good ones are recommended at Be sure to check companies’ websites too.

Create a winning résumé and cover letter

A one-page résumé stressing accomplishments (paid and volunteer), actions and then noting results, such as increasing revenues, decreasing expenses, saving time or improving production are most influential. The cover letter should be concise and focus on your top qualification for the job. Before sending them out always proofread carefully!

Prepare for the interview

Dress professionally! Practice writing out succinct answers to potential questions ahead of time. Role-play to better prepare yourself and to reduce nervousness. Keep answers to less than one minute, and use specific examples from your past experience whenever possible. And, if you have children at home it might be wise to stress your commitment and dependability. Smile—it makes a difference!

© Copyright 2009 Robin Ryan. All rights reserved.