Opting-In: Advice For Moms Heading Back to Work

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“You can’t do it all, and do it all well.” That statement has been a source of conflict for so many working moms who want to be successful both at home and at work. As a result, many women have chosen to “opt-out” of the workforce in favor of being full-time moms. But according to a recent article in The Boston Globe, women really can have it all. As reporter Shirley Leung notes, “So many women have left corporate America to raise a family that the female brain drain can no longer be ignored. Employers are starting to woo us back with return-to-work internships and consulting gigs in hopes they will lead to something permanent.” In other words, women are such a key component to effective business that even when we choose to leave work to raise our families, companies are eager for our return – and even figuring out ways to make our path back to work smoother. So what’s the best way to approach jumping back into the workforce after taking time out to raise a family? Turn Your Stay-at-Home Skills Into Selling Points When you’re polishing your resume, don’t forget to mention all the skills you acquired while you were raising your kids. For example, there are many important skills that a mom develops at home, including time management, empathy and critical decision making which all translate extremely well into the workplace. Employers look for a certain set of skills regardless of whether they were obtained at home or in the workplace. A skill is a skill and employers should be open-minded as to how they can be applied in the workplace. Showcase how you’ve kept your skills up-to-date while out of the workforce. Whether it’s a community college course or an online training class, sell it on your resume. Also, highlight your volunteer work; although it’s unpaid, it’s still work and it oftentimes requires managing budgets, long-term planning and other pertinent skills. Interview with Confidence Do you imagine an interview where a hiring manager looks over your resume and starts firing off questions about dreaded “resume gaps”? The truth is, many employers view women re-entering the workforce as an untapped talent pool. As Leung writes in her article, many companies find that these employees (aka “restarters”) have a “fresh perspective on solving problems, not to mention a new appreciation for having a career again.” It’s always smart to explain gaps in a resume when interviewing for a new job, but remember -- being a stay-at-home mom is by no means a resume killer. When the subject is brought up in an interview, try weaving your parenting skills in as a talking point. Talk about how your skills as a parent transfer into the workplace, such as the ability to resolve conflicts, deal with crisis and motivate others. The most important thing is to never apologize for staying home for the sake of your family because employers always appreciate honesty. Explain your decision to stay at home with confidence; you could also mention that staying at home was the best decision for your family at the time and that you’re now eager to re-enter the workforce.