Joining the Workforce After Being a Stay-at-Home Parent

Making a big change can be scary.

It’s no secret that making any moves in the workforce is challenging. While there are plenty of jobs out there, it can feel daunting to click “submit” on your applications finally. The truth is that getting back into the job market is more complicated than just making a change from one job to another. There are so many factors that come into play, and you may encounter bias.

Where do you want to enter the job market?

Do you want to return to the same field as you were in? This is typically the easiest. All you need to do is address the appointment gap in your resume. Do you want to shift into a different field? Many people choose this time to make a career change! Do you want to work for yourself? Women returning to work after a multi-year absence often dace a 20-30% pay drop, which is why working for yourself may seem appealing.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. As a parent, your priorities now might be different than they used to be.
  2. What kind of hours are you looking for? Are you willing to relocate?
  3. Do you want to get on the career ladder again, looking for challenges and promotions? Or lower stress job, less challenging and less mobility?

Crafting your resume

  1. Don’t be cheesy in crafting a job title for yourself. (E.g., Chief home officer). Say “primary caretaker” and list some transferrable skills. Keep it short.
  2. If you don’t want to do a chronological resume (showing the gap) you can do a functional / skills-based resume (list types of experience and skills instead of specific positions). Not employers’ favorite style, so it’s a risk.
  3.  Include volunteer work, freelance work, project work and a skills section. You don’t have to separate out volunteer experience into its own section (but be honest if asked about it in an interview). One “experience” section.
  4. Don’t focus heavily on transferrable skills from parenting. Unfortunately, employers tend not to value it as much. Focus on previous work experience and any volunteer or project work you’ve done alongside parenting.

Getting your foot in the door

  1. Consider part-time or contract work to get your foot in the door. Also, gets something more recent on your resume.
  2. The people most likely to see your value are people you know. USE. YOUR. CONNECTIONS. Ask friends and family post to tell people you’re looking for work (once you’re clear on what you want).
  3. The good news, the job market is hot right now. Many employers are more flexible on hiring because job seekers have the upper hand.