Are you nervous about making such an enormous transition and worried about how your family would adjust without you? Have you lost all of the confidence that came from your previous roles and successes?

What is the Secret Sauce for a stay-at-home mom returning to work?

Market what you already do

Consider how to market all your skills. Do you volunteer at your child’s school? At your church? Were you active in one of the retail demonstration company’s i.e., Mary Kay, Tupperware, etc.? Do you utilize any skills within a hobby that could be applied to a job?

Checking children into the nursery at church every Sunday might not feel like a very big deal but when you consider you are managing a check-in station, greeting new visitors, entering their information into a database, and working cohesively with church staff, it feels like the significant contribution that it is.

Take a few courses to refresh your skills

If you have not been involved in activities outside of your home, start now. Consider what field you are interested in entering and take on applicable volunteer opportunities.For example, if you would like to become an administrative assistant, volunteer to take phone calls for an hour or two a week at your child’s school. If you are looking for a writing/editing job, volunteer to write and/or edit your church’s bulletin, weekly announcements, and/or email communications. It’s always helpful to be able to point out current, relevant experience in your field, paid or not.

Consider taking any applicable trainings, affordable certifications, or attending relevant conferences. These provide just one more way to demonstrate how you’ve remained up-to-date within your field, even while away for a period.

Create an elevator pitch

One of the biggest challenges in interviewing and in returning to the workforce can be explaining your time away without sounding dismissive of the incredibly significant contribution that staying at home with your children means.

Saying, “I’ve just been a stay-at-home mom the last 10 years” makes it sound like you have been binging on Netflix and eating ice cream. The truth is you have been working your butt off doing one of the most important jobs in the world. 

It sounds much more confident to say, “I’m a former tech manager. I took a break to invest in my children these past few years, but I am looking to make my return to tech.”

You could also tie in those extras if you have them! “Now that the kids are in school, I have time to get back into marketing. I’ve kept my skills sharp by volunteering to market events at the local library.”

Practice your elevator pitch over and over, until you recite it with ease and confidence the next time someone asks you what you do. The more seriously you take yourself, the more seriously others will take you.

Address your time at home on your resume

An unexplained gap on your resume creates questions rather than addressing them on your terms. Be upfront about the circumstances while providing a professional description of your time away. In addition you can address in detail the gap of your work history in your cover letter.

Do not forget to include any side gigs, volunteer work, or training you participated in during that time. Marketing your volunteer contributions, hobbies, and skills can help to convince more close-minded interviewers that your break does not diminish your relevance.

Start looking early

Starting early gives you more time to land a job without the added stress of a quickly approaching deadline.  It also allows you to be a little pickier about the job, pay, or schedule than you might otherwise be to obtain the right job.

Find referrals

It is incredibly difficult to land an interview with a long break in your employment history, even if you position your experience perfectly. You are much more likely to hear back from a company if someone on the inside can vouch for your character. Do not be afraid to let family, friends, and neighbors know that you are in the market for a job! They might just have the inside scoop or connections you need to get your foot in the door.

Don’t rule anything out

You might be surprised how much you enjoy a different industry, schedule, or location.

Consider a part time position. Sure, your ultimate goal might be a full-time position, but sometimes it is easier to land a part-time gig. Companies are often more willing to take a chance on a candidate when there are no insurance premiums or vacation hours at stake.

A part-time position not only allows you the opportunity to prove your worth to an employer (and possibly open the door to further opportunities), but it also puts recent and relevant experience on your resume while you continue to seek out full-time work.

By marketing yourself well, broadening your search, and weighing the benefits, you can land a job you not only need, but also want. You’ve got this, Momma!