You go, girl! You did it. You gave up your career for the most important gig out there—being a mommy.
But now you’re bored (or broke, or jealous of colleagues or whatever has you longing for bad coffee and cubicles). So you’ve dusted off the old resume and even found a clever way to mention your extended absence from employment in the cover letter. But don’t iron that pants suit just yet! (Or in most cases, buy a new one since you’ve probably developed some lovely curves.)
Here’s the thing—the working world has transformed into an unrecognizable beast that tweets and tumbl(r)s. More and more companies want tech savvy, computer literate social media-ites to head their organizational initiatives. The line between private and public is inexplicably blurred and you haven’t even started applying.
If you are exhausted already and haven’t completely changed your mind, here are some tips on making your journey back into the work force:
Remember why you left
Some women decided to opt out of the traditional work environment because they wanted to spend more time at home with their family. Others quit a low wage job because the cost of child care cancelled out financial gain. There are also women who opted out to pursue non-traditional means of income or those who went back to school to pursue a higher education. Whatever the reason, you should start your re-entry with some serious reflection on the “why”: why you opted out in the first place and why you want to opt back in now. This step will also prepare you for answering the question in an interview. If you can give a confident, meaningful response as to why you have an employment gap, employers will take you more seriously as a candidate.
If you don’t have a professional social media presence, you’re already a few steps behind. It is perfectly fine to use Facebook solely to share mindless memes and cute child/pet photos when you’re a stay at home mother. It is fine to do that even when you’re heavily immersed in the corporate world. Your employer shouldn’t have access to that, though. Make your personal pages private and create a professional online proxy. These days, there are some jobs that require facebook interactions, so try to keep those two galaxies separate.
Do your homework
(Mostly) Gone are the days when you had to walk up and down the street searching for help wanted signs. Although some folks still circle the classifieds, most of the leg work for getting a job requires networking and social media is one of the best places to find leads. But don’t stop there. To stand out, you’ll need to know about the organization you want to work with. You should have a clear sense of the company’s mission and their goals as well as how hiring you will put them in a better position to accomplish the objectives they have developed.
The career you’re re-entering is not as important as the attitude you have when you return to work. You will have a lot to overcome. Aside from the usual sexist and racist behaviors, you will probably also deal with ageism and/or discrimination for being a mother. Be prepared to handle anything and good luck!