Deciding to stay home for the family is a big one, but returning to work after being a stay-at-home parent can feel like quite the transition. But with the proper preparation, some personal investment and a confident, realistic outlook, you can make the return to a gratifying career.
In this article, we explore career tips for stay-at-home parents returning to work, the importance of preparation and best practices on how to re-enter the workforce.
Preparing for re-entering the workforce
Preparing before re-entering the workforce helps you focus on a job search, gets you ready for an opportunity when it presents itself, and establishes realistic goals. It also can reduce anxiety, boost confidence and concentrate your energy.
Finding a job after being a stay-at-home parent is more common than in years past. Companies can find talented candidates in those returning to work, though it’s important to recognize the transition. A lot may have changed in your profession, and while gap years between employment are not rare, it requires a thoughtful explanation.
Even if your field saw dramatic changes or you no longer hold licenses or certifications, your highly transferable skills can apply to other professions, roles and perhaps even a career pivot. Re-entering the workforce after being a stay-at-home parent can be a time to align your new interests with a career change, which may even prove more rewarding than your previous line of work.
Advice for re-entering the workforce
Focusing on what kind of job to pursue and how to best present yourself to follow it is a task in itself. Consider this career transition guidance for returning to work and see how it can help you navigate finding the right role:
1. Discover what you really want
List out your needs and wishes—the clearer you are, the easier it is to narrow down the number of job openings and focus on those that match your wants. Start by asking yourself what kind of company and position you’d like. For example, you might be interested in a corporate role with room for growth and higher-level opportunities, or you might desire a low-key role that contributes valuable work without intense demands or additional time.
If you’re unsure, use career self-assessment tools to understand your interests and uncover new skills. Consider asking yourself these questions:
- Would I like to work part-time or full-time?
- What kind of career growth am I seeking?
- What are my financial goals with re-entering the workforce?
- What are my passions, skills, training, education and experience?
- Do I want to find a job, or is there an opportunity to be my boss?
- Am I able to do consulting, contract or freelance work?
- What roles fit with the rest of my schedule and responsibilities?
2. Revise your materials
Updating your resume is a given with any job search. If your employment gap as a stay-at-home parent is long, consider a skills-based resume outline rather than a typical chronological one. Add important causes and accomplishments that call attention to your strengths!