June 20, 2013

From Babies to the Boardroom: Tips for Transitioning Stay-at-Home Moms

Business woman putting on her work shoesYou’ve changed countless diapers and fixed bottles upon bottles. You’ve fed, clothed, bathed and nurtured them. And now, after years and years of taking care of others, you desire to take care of yourself. You are a stay-at-home mother who wants to change the “are” to “were,” but how?

You’ve been out of work too long; the younger generations have more experience. And you can’t put “successfully raised three children” on a resume. You’re unqualified, right? Wrong!

The number of stay-at-home mothers re-entering the workforce continues to increase. Although many may believe their chances are slim for landing a job, there are a myriad of ways for stay-at-home mothers to prepare themselves to get back in the game. For starters, why not try an internship?

Founder and CEO of InternQueen.com Lauren Berger believes starting out at an internship is a great way for stay-at-home mothers to ease themselves back into the corporate world. Check out her tips and suggestions for all those mothers seeking to go from handling babies to successfully handling the boardroom:

1. More and more stay-at-home mothers are deciding to re-enter the workforce. What do you think has caused this shift?

I think for the past 4-5 years we have seen in an increase in stay-at-home moms returning to the workforce or even just going back to school and enrolling in either graduate school or going back if they hadn’t finished their four year degree in the first place.

2. What are some of the biggest obstacles these women face when trying “to go back to work”?

I think one is just time and they’re really looking for something that’s flexible. Believe it or not, a lot of stay-at-home moms are actually looking for internships. With stay-at-home moms I really encourage them to go after virtual internship opportunities. These are internships that they can do from home where they can still get a great experience but they can have a little more of a flexible schedule.

3. What can women do who have a large employment gap on their resumes from staying home to raise children? (10+ years)

I think one great thing is just really familiarizing yourself with technology. In the way that recent grads, one thing they really bring to the table is the strong knowledge of technology. I think stay-at-home moms can educate themselves as well. But one of the best ways to stay connected is to use these live tiles and pin any of the feeds you’re following or the applications that you use the most to the start screen. So this is a good way to stay connected, to stay on top of the latest greatest tools and to stay on top of any job openings.

4. I’m 35 and have been a stay-at-home mother for the past three years. What are some of the first steps I can take to re-enter the workforce?

The first step is don’t take no for an answer. This is not going to be easy; we already know that. There might be rejection; we already know that. So take a deep a deep breath and really let that rejection and let those nos propel you forward until you find the “yes.” You really want to make sure you have a clean start. For me, about 3-4 months ago, I looked at my email account; I had 20,000 emails. I was never going to look through them. For me, it was really important to have a fresh start. So, I signed up for Outlook.com and it really what it did, it just cleaned my inbox. So, now my goal is to have to-do list match my inbox on Outlook. So it just gave me that fresh start feeling. I gave myself a new email address (first name dot last name at outlook dot com). This is something I really recommend for job seekers. Leave your old email behind and really get a fresh start.

5. What advice would you offer any stay-at-home mothers contemplating returning to work?

I think this is a big step. It’s going to be great. I think the more you can familiarize yourself with technology, the better. Again, you want to be able to tell an employer why they must hire you. Why are you so valuable? I think having that knowledge of technology and the latest and greatest tools out therelike your Windows 8, like your SkyDrivetools that enable you to stay connected wherever you are. Knowledge of tools like this is going to get you in the door. You want to make sure you’re well connected, you stay on top of everything and you land that job. And remember don’t take no for an answer; anything is possible.

Also, check out the video below!

Read more in Starting a Career

Marks’ stories have also been published in a variety of newspaper, magazine and online formats including The Arizona Republic, The Daily Herald, Arizona Foothills Magazine and various classroom magazines of Scholastic Inc. Service is her passion, writing is her platform and uplifting and inspiring the community is her purpose. Marks received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University.
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