Job tips for stay-at-home moms, dads

September 3, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Tom Gimbel is the founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing and recruiting firm based in Chicago.

    Tips for stay-at-home parents re-entering the workforce
  • Pick five companies that are of interest in and locate current and past employees on LinkedIn to schedule a meeting. Don't immediately ask about job openings because it will appear desperate. Use this meeting as an opportunity to find out about the company's culture, growth strategy and business practices.
  • Use family connections. Children can be the key to a powerful network of professionals, and it's important to leverage these relationships. For instance, connections can be made through the parents of their children's friends, teammates and schoolmates.
  • Be upfront and honest about resume gaps. Explain how time off was spent, whether it was volunteering, obtaining a new certification, or working with community organizations. Showcase activity outside of the workforce.
  • Have realistic expectations. Don't plan to jump right back into the job pool. Take time to ease back into the workforce and re-establish your credibility by accepting temporary and temporary-to-permanent positions. These roles will allow you to gain recent experience and exposure within the workforce, and allow you to determine the kind of company culture that will best fit your lifestyle and demands as a working parent.
  • Be open about career exploration. Don't think that you're confined to doing what you did before you left the workforce. Think of transferable skills you have developed in your time away from corporate life and apply them to other career options. Recruitment firms are a good way of testing other career paths. It's important that you find a career you enjoy, because in turn, you'll be happier at home.
  • Target smaller companies. Smaller companies tend to be more flexible and understanding when it comes to working parents. You can also use that job gap as an advantage when applying for positions at nonprofits. Nonprofits tend to like resumes that boost ample volunteer, school and community work. So, tailor your resume toward leadership roles you've held within school and community organizations and skills you developed as a result.
  • Get back in the loop. Before you start job hunting, do your research. Read up on industry news, job trends and new technology. You may want to take some classes to reeducate yourself on the basics such as business management or navigate the newest technology.
  • Lose your ego. It's not about the money or title, it's about getting practical work experience again. Be willing to take a lesser job than where you left off; you won't feel as much pressure, and if you're really good, you'll get noticed and promoted!

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