Stay In The Game
Expert advice on how to get back into the working world after a post-baby hiatus
Take classes As you get closer to returning to work, consider brushing up on your professional or technical skills with a course or certification program. You can choose from classes that will enhance your technical know-how (such as website development), polish your personal presentation skills (think public speaking) or update your industry knowledge (attend a workshop about recent legislative changes impacting insurance regulations).
Volunteer selectively "Choose volunteer work with quantifiable results," Quigley suggests. In other words, don't always jump to judge the local pumpkin-carving contest. Instead, you could volunteer to help raise money for new play equipment at your child's preschool. Later, you can highlight to potential employers the skills you used to generate sales or donations.
Network--with everyone When you want to get back into the work world, the key is going to be relationships. That was certainly the case for Celeste Farrell, who found her current job as the manager of a physical therapy department in an orthopedic specialists' office through a fellow class mom she'd befriended. "She's the business manager of the office and thought I would make a good manager," says Farrell, an event planner in her former life. "We'd done some volunteer work together and I always seemed to get roped into being the chairperson, so she'd already seen me in action!"
Rethink your resume Be sure to catalog all your experience, including any part-time or contract work done during your "hiatus," as well as any unpaid work. As for the myriad tasks you do at home or at your children's school? "Some employers won't want to hear you were the PTA room mother," Collamer says. "However, if you chaired a school committee that raised thousands of dollars and as part of your job responsibilities you'd be managing a budget, highlight your fundraising and budgeting experience."
If you find you still have too much white space on your resume, consider writing a "functional" resume rather than a chronological one, Quigley advises. This means downplaying dates and listing your skills by category, such as supervisory, research, sales, communication, problem solving and team building.