Posted by: Dr. Carolyn Edwards | January 7, 2012

Ask Dr. E – Stay at Home Moms – Getting Back to Work

Are you stressed, overwhelmed, undecided or need direction?

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Dr. E, I have a career issue. I am a 35 year old stay at home mother of two kids ages 5 and 4. Now that my kids are in school, I want to start working again. I have not had a job for the last five years but I do have a Bachelor’s degree in business and I used to work as a customer service rep for a major company. How do I get back into the work force after being gone so long and during a recession?  Atlanta Mom

Dear Atlanta, first let me say that even though you didn’t leave the house to go to the office, you were working. As Oprah said, staying at home raising children is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Before you begin working on your resume, I suggest you take some time to inventory your skills, wants, needs and desires. Just because you used to work in customer service for a major company, doesn’t mean you have to go back to doing that same type of work for a large company if you aren’t passionate about it.

The job market has changed in the last five years and there are many jobs you can do from home full time or work in the office some days and telecommute the others.  Ask yourself some basic questions like What type of job do you want? Do you want to work from home, part time, for a major company or start a business? What does your ideal work day look like?  What hours would you like to work? What skills will you bring to the job such as computer, project management, presentation or communication skills. Pull out your resume and then begin filling in the last five years. Did you volunteer at your children’s school, church, community or nonprofit organization? Even though you did not get paid, all of the experience counts.

Make sure you keep the contact information of at least three references that can verify your skills and abilities even the non paid assignments to help support your application materials. Now that you are armed with the type of job you would like to have and your skills and experience, start looking and taking action.  Use your resources. Go to your local library and ask the librarian to help you find books for those returning to the workforce. Many libraries also have free job readiness courses to help you with your resume and application materials.

Tell your friends, family, associates that you want to get back in the workforce and the specific job you seek. You never know who can help you. If you want one on one help, you can always seek help from a career coach or counselor. Don’t forget to always check back with your Alma Mater since many schools help alumni with their job search.

Lastly, believe the ideal job is waiting for you, think positive thoughts and state affirmations in the present tense of what you expect to achieve.  Remember each day do one thing to move you closer to your dream job like make a phone call, send an email, talk to those in your network or work on your resume. Good luck and send me an email, when you get the job!


Dr. Carolyn Edwards is an author, life/career management coach and graduate management professor.

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