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From Stay-at-Home Parent to Working Professional

From Stay-at-Home Parent to Working Professional

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Updated on Mar 6, 2009

As your youngest child heads off to kindergarten, it’s time for you to head off to work. You’re feeling excited, nervous, and a little scared. Managing your home, your family, your finances, and maybe even a marathon or two has been a snap. But is it possible, you wonder, to manage all that and a job search, too?

Without a doubt, says Leslie Godwin, MFCC, who specializes in life transitions. Mixed feelings about joining the 9-to-5 club are 100% normal, she reports. While dusting off the resume and hitting the interview circuit may present challenges, there are ways to make the transition a little bit more organized and gratifying. Below are some suggestions.

  • Make a plan. Be very clear about why you are going to work, what you need to earn, and what schedule will work for you and your family. How many resumes can you send out daily? How many hours a day can you spend reviewing Web-based job search sites (such as CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, or Craigslist.org for starters)? Keep a notebook to track your contacts, interviews, and outcomes.

  • Do your research. Will you return to your previous career? Begin a new one? If you want to try something new, what credentials are required? Do you need an additional degree? A certification? Hands-on experience? Decide where you would like to work, and then find out about job openings, benefit packages, and salary ranges.

  • Update your resume. Don’t make apologies for the time gap. Instead, include what you’ve been doing as a stay-at-home parent. Did you organize events? Were you a fundraiser? Did you keep minutes for the homeowner’s association? The skills you’ve acquired as a volunteer, mentor, or caregiver are all resume-worthy.

  • Network. Tell everyone you know that you’re back on the job market. You’re not alone in your quest. Friends, family members, and neighbors are there for support; professional or volunteer organizations and career centers are there for guidance.

  • Prepare your family for lifestyle changes. Keep your family up-to-date on your job search. Let them share your failures as well as your successes. Work as a team to problem-solve and make the transition as easy as possible for everyone. While there may be some grumbling at first, you’ll be surprised at how well everyone will adapt by your first day on the job.

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