Re-entering the Workforce
Re-entering the workforce is a topic near and dear to my working mom heart. I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Mom Corps YOU. I received a free trial to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.
One of the toughest things I ever did as a stay at home mom was to dip my toes into the water of full-time employment. What did I have to offer? What did I want to do for a job? Was working outside of the home really going to benefit my family? Was my family life going to suffer with me away from home forty hours a week?
But truly, the hardest part was just stepping out. Writing a brand new resume with many skills that I had to teach myself was tough. We women often have a hard time selling ourselves.
I so wish that I had Mom Corps YOU when I was starting to re-enter the workforce. I just celebrated my one-year work anniversary. I no longer have to refer to my predecessor when I introduce myself to business contacts. I feel so much more secure in what I am doing. I have a voice. I have a place at the table. And best of all, I’m helping my family.
Mom Corps, a national award-winning professional talent acquisition and career development firm, has launched Mom Corps YOU, an online community to help professionals better integrate their professional and personal lives.
My favorite part of Mom Corps YOU is the wealth of knowledge shared in the recorded webinars. As someone who has just re-entered the workforce after 16 years as a stay at home mom, I feel like I have a lot of learning up to do. I have devoted the first hour of my workday each day to education. Some days I read a professional book, or I read industry blogs or listen to podcasts. As a one-person fundraising department, I am in charge of my own education. I’ve fit Mom Corps YOU recorded webinars into my educational schedule.
If I had known about Mom Corps YOU eighteen months ago when I was just polishing up my resume, my workforce re-entry would have been much easier. Well, maybe not easier, but I would have felt more confident. Because confidence is what I am gaining from these recordings. I am learning that I am smart, and capable, and successful. There is not need to downplay my success. . .I have earned it!
I’ve come to realize that there is no such thing as work-life balance. The two things can never be in balance. Some days my home life gets all of my attention, sometimes work does, and sometimes things do seem to be in balance. Work-life integration is a much better term. How can I best make the most of my work day so that I can spend more time with my family after work? When should I stop checking my email? Should I take on one more project? Is there a way to integrate my family in my project? (Example, my two younger sons will be participating in a fundraising 5K on the other side of the state with me next month. . .work trip integrated with mother/son time–win!)
I’ve learned that I’ve had to let some things go. I’m just not able to make it to PTO meetings at three different schools. So, I volunteer when those that DO attend the meetings ask me to. I can’t attend parent/teacher meetings for all of the kids, so my husband and I split them up and we compare notes. We try to make sure at least one of us is at any school or extracurricular event.
This week I listened to two very helpful recorded webinars. The first was “How to Build Your Personal Brand”. As a blogger for 7+ years I have always been rather aware of my personal brand as a writer. I also see how that brand can and does change with time. But learning about a personal brand from a professional standpoint was very interesting. The webinar was able to take me through the reasons why personal branding is important through developing a mission statement and an “elevator pitch”. While this recording is very helpful to me today as a professional, it really would have benefited me as I was preparing to go out on job interviews.
A few personal branding takeaways– People with Strong personal brands:
- Know where they excel and what sets them apart
- Have a clear vision of what they want and go after it
- Have the determination to make changes
- Know when to say “Yes” and when to say “No, thank you”
- Know what’s important to them and what’s not
- Are consistent
- Are known for something
- Embrace their differences
I think if you are thinking about re-entering the workforce, considering your brand is a must. The modern workplace demands it, and skipping this step could mean selling yourself short.
The other really helpful, actionable, recording that I listened to this week was one that really hit home for me. “Your Network Equals Your Net Worth”. In today’s economy, more than ever, who you know has a lot to do with the job that you land. And, as I listened to this recording, networking does not end after you land your job. The webinar covered the important differences between mentorship and sponsorship. I also gained valuable insight about how and when to network, and the value of networking outside of my comfort zone and cross-generationally. (Did you know that for the first time ever, there are five generations in the workforce?)
Listening to this recording reminded me that I need to step out of my comfort zone and really connect with other professionals in my position, to share ideas and learn from each other.
The webinar also covered a very interesting concept of a “Personal Board of Directors”, a sort of informal sounding board that you can approach for candid advice, encouragement and support. Since being very open about not only going back to work after being a homemaker for so long, but choosing a busy and challenging career path instead of a job, I have found that I serve in this board of directors role for several of my friends. I hope to encourage my friends to set up such relationships with others and to teach my children to do the same when they hit college age.
If you are re-entering the workforce, look at it as a challenge, and then accept that challenge! It likely will not be a short, or easy journey. I dealt wit a lot of disappointment and self-doubt. I even received some harsh criticism from friends that thought I was selfish or irresponsible to go to work. The mommy wars are alive and well!
If you are a woman re-entering the workforce, a Mom Corps YOU subscription is a worthy investment. As I mentioned earlier. I consider continuing education to be an important part of my job. . .and when I was job-hunting, I considered my job search my job, and I worked it like a job. Mom Corps YOU is available via an online subscription for an introductory annual price of $99.99 or $19.99 a month. There are helpful tools for resume writing, preparing for interviews, and skills that you can use once you land your job, including working out a flexible work arrangement.
Chime in! What helped you when you were re-entering the workforce?