For the stay-at-home moms who are looking to go back to work and having a difficult time finding a job after being out of your field for several years, here are some tips. During your time off, you should try to stay relevant, learn some new skills, and create a LinkedIn account if you haven’t already. If you have updated your resume already and are actively looking for employment, you should volunteer for a non-profit and/or create a blog to share information in your field of expertise and demonstrate your writing skills.
Volunteer responsibilities can be added to your resume to fill gaps of being out of the workforce. It shows that you are building your professional skill sets while raising your child(ren). Ideally, if you can volunteer throughout the school year and be able to show an increase in fundraising efforts, team wins, etc., you can be regarded as an asset and become a more competitive candidate. Below are 21 suggestions on how to prepare yourself for rejoining the workforce.
Facebook – Share an article, video, or photo three times daily to maintain visibility. Announce that you are looking for a position in a particular field so your friends will keep a lookout for you. Also, share any published articles or blog posts here.
Groups – Start or join LinkedIn groups or Facebook groups (Coffee Talk and/or Moms in Business) in which you have a common interest. Starting one demonstrates your organizational and leadership skills. Whether you organize or join one, groups get you engaging with those of a similar interest, which could even lead to great connections. Networking is the ultimate goal.
Brand Yourself – Even though you’re not working, you still need to constantly reinforce a positive image. Personal branding is very important. Brand yourself online and offline. In addition to LinkedIn and Facebook, sign up for a Twitter, Instagram, and/or SnapChat account if you don’t already have one. Attend networking or local events and always carry business cards.
Princeton Public Library – Take classes or go to workshops to fine tune your skills. This can also be done complimentary online via Lynda courtesy of the library as a member. They also have various groups, i.e. Poets at the Library, Writers Room, Job Seeker Sessions, etc. where you can network and enhance skills.
Hobbies – Share your talents by teaching your skills at local organizations, libraries, schools, or places of worship.
Blogging – Write a blog about a personal experience, or your professional field. You add value to the online community, and sharpen your writing and editing abilities, plus build your brand.
Volunteer – Do volunteer work that utilizes your know-how. It’s a great way to spread your wisdom, and give back. Princeton Public Library, HiTops, Arts Council of Princeton, Historical Society of Princeton, school’s PTO, YMCAs, YWCAs, Princeton Education Foundation, places of worship, or other local non-profits are always looking for volunteers.
Classes – Take classes and obtain new skills. If possible, get certified or licensed in your newly acquired knowledge. Brush up on or learn new hard skills such as Microsoft suite (Access, Excel, Powerpoint and Word), business writing, or a foreign language. Perfect soft skills like problem solving, public speaking, and collaboration. Princeton Adult School and Princeton Public Library are two great sources.
Get Noticed – Try to get published in your local newspaper (articles/photos), or do something in your area worthy of an interview in a periodical or on your local news. Broadcast a locally produced program on Princeton Community TV.
Speaker – Offer to speak to a local organization or business. Put your oratory and PowerPoint skills to good use. This could also lead to more speaking offers, and helps establish you as an expert in your field. Princeton High School is always looking for speakers for their Career Day, but you can also ask the middle or elementary schools.
Fundraiser Chair – Chair a fundraiser for a non-profit organization. You certainly gain a lot of experience doing this. If you don’t want to chair one, at least join one of the committees.
Consult – Become a consultant. You can volunteer your services or ask small businesses if they need your occasional help for a modest fee.
Become a Board Member – Giving your time on a board keeps your mind fresh, and is impressive on a resume. A position is most easily obtained through non-profit organizations. Another consideration is becoming a member of the Friends board, which usually raises funds for a non-profit.
Panelist – Ask your library, or other non-profit if they’d like a panel to speak about your specialty. If so, gather a few others in your field to be on the discussion panel.
Webinar – Offer one or more web seminars for little money or free in your field.
Start a Small Business – Think outside of the box and turn one of your passions into a small business while continuing with your job search. This could be blogging, consulting, tutoring, party planning, or other areas where you’re passionate. You can even keep it on the side once you find employment.
Coffee Talk – If you do start a small business, you can meet other entrepreneurs, small business owners, and professionals in the Coffee Talk – Mercer County, NJ Entrepreneurial & Professional Network.
Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce – Princeton Regional offers many events for business owners in the Greater Princeton Area and is great for networking. There is also the MIDJersey and the Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce.