Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Comeback Mom

Question
I have been a stay-at-home mom for 15 years, and during that time I have also owned and operated my own photography business. I have also volunteered through the school PTO organizations and have acquired skills along the way. Although I love being a stay-at-home mom, I find that I must return to the working world.

How can I put together a successful resume when I have not officially been working? I do not have "references" to speak of and I don't even know where I would look for a job. Can you help? –Lisa

Answer
Lisa, before you start working on your resume, you need to figure out what type of job you will apply for. My theory is: Your resume is about your future, not your past. Once you know your job objective, you’ll be in a position to create a resume that contains the experience (paid and unpaid), skills, and personality that supports your career goal.

Here’s a product that might help you with the initial step of figuring out what job you want next: The Back-to-Work Toolkit, a Guide for Comeback Moms by Nancy Collamer.

The Toolkit is composed of:
- A downloadable PDF, which can be printed and read in hardcopy OR can be used as a reference tool on your computer, allowing you to take advantage of the many hyperlinks in the text
- Four audio interviews with job search experts
- Membership in an online forum for job-seeking moms

Nancy Collamer is a career counselor and founder of the Jobs and Moms Career Center. Her Toolkit costs $39.95.

To see sample resumes of parents re-entering the workforce, click here.

5 comments:

Garla Smith said...

Hi Lisa,

I am always so please to hear when a mom decides to return to the workforce and has kept up in some way. Your volunteer work at the school and especially the skills acquired to maintain your photography business are valuable. One big question I would ask as a recruiter (who specializes in placement of moms) is:

1. Do you want to continue in the photography industry?
2. If not, what do you want to do?

There are numerous career assessments on the internet. Some free and others that require a small amount of money. I always encourage moms to take some time and recognize their strengths, dislikes, work methods, and other factors. Our website, www.smart-moms.online.com has a link to a free career assessment test.

I have taken the assessment myself and it indicated that I receive a good deal of satisfaction in a training/coaching environment. The career I have chosen right now (recruiter/business owner) taps into that strength. I am energized when I am able to encourage and assist other moms as they re-enter the workforce. Another option for me would be to pursue a teaching career. For now, recruiting from home works so I can be available to my young children.

You mentioned lack of references. As a recruiter, I often check references at volunteer positions. To be truthful, I don't put an enormous amount of weight on that reference because the person was working for free. However, I always call at least two of those references. The reference can usually confirm how dependable they were, how knowledgeable they were about whatever they were doing. Also, confirm their computer skills. Since you have owned your own business, references of long-term clients that you worked for are valuable. They provides an indicator on ongoing communication skills, quality of work, quantity of work and professionalism.

Hope this information is helpful. If not please let me know.

Garla Smith
Co-Owner of Smart Moms and Smart Moms Online
www.smart-moms.net
www.smart-moms-online.com

Karin & Mike said...

If you know any women who might be even remotely interested in this course, please pass this on - its a great, free, opportunity offered by the Wharton School of Business.

Reentering the Workforce: A UBS Fellowship Program for Professional Women
Are you a professional woman who is returning to the workforce? Jump-start your transition! UBS and Wharton have designed a program to support women returning to the workforce after a career break. Participants will update their business knowledge, develop transition strategies, and network with business leaders. This highly-selective program is offered at no charge to qualified applicants through funding from UBS. Recent studies seem to suggest that there are a number of obstacles that women face when returning to the workforce, including a diminished network and challenging family policies. They must contend with a changing business environment — including technological advancements, regulatory changes, and the effects of mergers/acquisitions. These challenges, as well as personal and family issues, are hurdles that can be overcome with the right preparation and support.
http://executiveeducation.wharton.upenn.edu/oe/program_info.cfm?ProgID=78A1E81A-1372-4CAF-887280E607596620&CatID=9B3DD07D-C9CE-64F9-02B8CDCAFBED287E

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,

I came across this blog by accident. Like Garla, I am always excited to see a mom return to the work force. I talk to moms everyday on how to keep their skills current. I work from home as a recruiter and I teach others how to do so!

I became interested in recruiting while attending law school. My goal was to find a career that I could handle from home, which will give me the flexibility to focus on my studies, the income I needed to achieve my educational goals, and also help me support my family - did I mention I have six children?

I found recruiting to be such a fulfilling career, that I have never really considered practicing law. Today, I continue to recruit from home, and also to show others how to do this from home, using a training system, , "The Recruiter's Edge".

I felt a need to comment here, because most moms do not think about going back to work when they quit to take care of their families. You need to keep your skills current, because of the dynamics of today's work environment. It is not always easy, however, there are some homebased careers that let you do this. One of which is recruiting. This is because it is a well recognized profession which utilizes and develops a lot of marketable skills, while allowing you the flexibility to keep up with your family demands.

Best luck in your career aspirations and do come visit me sometime at www.therecruitersedge.com
Chris U

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low cost said...

Hi lisa.

The problem is not having a references. Really. You've had your own photo something business, that one thing is good enough for your references