6 Tips for Moms Re-Entering the Workforce

by David Bakke, MoneyCrashers 

So, your kids are finally at the point where they don't need your constant supervision anymore. If you're ready to reenter the workforce after significant time on the sidelines, it may seem like the game is moving a bit faster than it was before you became a mom. The employment landscape has likely changed a bit since you were last a part of it, so you're going to need to sharpen those dull tools and up your game. If you're back in the market for a job, here are six tips to help you along the way:

1. Revamp Your Resume

Your resume is your ticket to the show, so you want to make sure it's in good enough shape to get you through the gate. Make sure yours is properly formatted ñ do a quick Internet search for countless successful examples. It should highlight your experience, your skills, and strong points. Don't be afraid to highlight the "real you" and dispense with formality once or twice in your resume. This gives your prospective employer a sense that there's a genuine human being applying, not just a collection of information.

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2. Nail the Interview

When prepping for an interview, research the company so you know exactly what the organization is about and what it needs to grow. Arm yourself with information and impress your interviewer with fresh ideas. And don't discount the time you spent as a new mom. You may have learned valuable skills from a PTA leadership position, community activities, or other experiences. Your time away from the workforce isn't a weakness, it's a strength ñ but only if you frame it that way.

3. Expand Your Network

Once you identify your target industry, it's time to network. Join associations and attend conferences. Create a LinkedIn account and reach out to anyone who might be of help. Use the website Meetup to find like-minded professionals in your area. Establish solid relationships with them and you never know where they're going to lead. You may have to shake more than a few hands until you find that right one, but once you do, it's all going to be worth the effort.

4. Utilize Social Media

According to Jobvite, over 15% of people responding to their survey found work through social media in 2011, and you can too. In addition to LinkedIn, you should establish a professional presence on Facebook and Twitter. Get your name out there, share your thoughts, and don't be afraid to draw attention to yourself and your ideas.

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5. Don't Undersell Yourself

Just because you've been out of the workforce for a while doesn't mean you have to accept the first offer that comes your way. First off, judge the merit of that initial offer by checking out Salary.com. You can find median salaries of specific jobs within your industry and your geographical area. If it feels right and if your prospective employer is respectful and inspiring, go for it. If not, view that first offer as a vote of confidence and hold out for something better.

6. Address Red Flags With Confidence

If you haven't been employed in a while, be prepared to address the gaps in your resume - and don't shy away from them. Face your red flags head on, approach them from a position of strength, and your prospective employer is going to see them the same way. Taking time away from work to raise a child is a completely respectable endeavor - if you command that respect from your interviewer, you're going to get it.

Final Thoughts

Companies aren't hiring at the rate they used to. They're pickier about the candidates they bring on, and the salaries they offer haven't kept up with inflation. It's more important than ever, then, that you do the right research, take the time to plan effectively, and hit it out of the park once you do get that interview ñ do all that, and you can be back working a job you love and earning a paycheck in no time.

What other ideas do you have for moms reentering the workforce?

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David Bakke writes about personal finance topics ranging from careers and small business to budgeting and lifestyle on the blog, Money Crashers

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