Moms Back to Work, with Jill Simonian
Where Do Moms Who Want To Go Back To Work Start?
I have two main things I want moms to do when they decide to go back to work:
Re-build your contacts. Set aside 15 minutes each day to hop online and use resources like Linked In, Facebook, Twitter... whatever is appropriate for your field. Check in with those you used to work with (if only for a friendly "hello"), and get back on the radar. Just because you worked in a particular field before babies, doesn't necessarily mean that you need to return to that same field. There is something called "Transferable Skills." Think about what your skills sets are and them pair that with what other fields you could use them in. What are you interests now? Questions For Jill From Moms:
"Is it ok for me to tell potential employers that I was out of work for years because I had kids?" - Laura
Projecting confidence is more important than the gap in your work history. Explain with confidence that staying at home with the kids was the best choice for your particular family at the time, you are eager to return to the professional workforce. Always redirect the questions to how excited you are to get back into the work force. It's okay to mention your kids if asked about it in conversation, but DO NOT go on and on about having to pick them up from school or their daily activities. "I haven't done an interview for years and I'm nervous. Got any tips?" - Chantal
Schedule the interview on a day where you're not running around crazy between football practice and dance lessons. Your head needs to be clear and you need to be relaxed and ON TIME. Conduct mock interviews with family and friends. Dress up, have answers prepared, and talking points. Practice questions you know you'll get as a mom getting back into the work force: "Have you kept your skills up to date? How?" Potential employers are not allowed to ask you about childcare. It is illegal and they are prohibited from asking about child-care arrangements at the pre-employment stage. What If The Interviewer Asks Anyway? How Should You Respond?
You don't want to say, "You're not allowed to ask me that." You want to redirect the question by saying, "Thank you for your concern. Yes, I have child care covered and am very excited to put my energy back into work." You do not need to give details. If the employer pushes, use your best judgment. It's okay to say that you are happy to discuss the job duties at hand and prefer to keep your at-home life at home. This reinforces that any at-home issues will not seep into the workplace. I would say, however, if the interviewer is willing to break the law during the initial pre-employment process, you may not want to work there anyway. Don't let your desire to get the job make you blind to red flags. "How Can I Make Sure That My Skills Are Still Competitive With The Current Job Market?" - Kim
There are programs, such as MBA courses that teach prior students new industry and business trends, as well as new technologies and apps that you must know. What certifications have you let lapse? Are there continuing education courses that you can take? This goes back to updating your resume. Adding courses like these will fill in that 5-year gap you are worried about. Also, there are sites that are great for keeping you up to date with job opportunities specifically geared toward moms: AskAManager.com, WorkingMother.com and of course TheMomFair.com.