I recently made an industry change in my career but previously had worked in hiring and recruiting departments for 8 years. I have seen countless applications, resumes, interviews and job placements. During that time I encountered many people re-entering the workforce, including moms. Job searching in and of itself can be a time consuming and extensive process. Add a recent employment gap to that and it can be nothing short of daunting. So I would like to share 3 job search tips that I saw help people when they were ready to return the workforce.
1) List a qualifications or skills summary at the top of your resume
Hiring managers can receive hundreds of resumes a day. Really they are skimming to see who they should call to speak with further. So make sure your resume is formatted where it is easy to read and draws attention to the parts you want to highlight most. If you have some employment gaps or have not worked recently I suggest listing a skills or qualifications summary near the top of your resume. Include 4-8 things you want potential employers to know about you before they get to your employment history. This way right off the bat they see these types of things:
- You have had X number of years working in Y industry.
- Or that you are a proficient user with a specific software.
- That your recent volunteer experience included fundraising and administrative duties.
- Or that you increased sales by X number of dollars at Y company.
2) Consider Using Staffing Agencies
Some of my time as a recruiter was with a staffing agency, and they still have the stigma of being temp agencies. I will be the first to admit that before working at a staffing agency I probably would not have applied for a job for them to place me elsewhere. I thought they would not be able to help me find anything long term or in my field.
From a former insider, here is the truth. A lot of staffing agencies specialize. There are agencies for accounting, medical, industrial, technical, administrative and many more types of positions. Also for an example, if an accounting staffing agency found the perfect employee for a business, that business may then ask that agency to step outside of their specialty and try to find them the perfect HR person.
There are also different types of contracts the businesses are looking to fill. Yes some companies may just want a temp for the day, but most of the time they are looking for a temp to hire position. This means the business is looking to fill the position permanently and will pick a candidate they like from the agency to work for a probationary period. If it works out that candidate is brought on as a regular employee.
The next time you see a job posting and realize it is through a staffing agency I would say go ahead and apply or even seek some out to get registered with. Just like with anything there are some that are better than others. They are not a substitute for your job search, but while you are out looking so are they. Also, the temp to hire opportunity can increase your chances of getting your foot in the door somewhere. It is okay if you are still skeptical about using a staffing agency, but I will tell you my last job I got was through a professional staffing agency on a temp to hire contract.
3) Be realistic and honest
This is the most important point. I have seen people with great management experience 10 years ago looking to return to the workforce at that same level. They ended up turning down interview opportunities for positions they felt were beneath them. You do not have to start back at the bottom, but you may not start where you left off from either. Always look at and consider the opportunity for growth when weighing the pros and cons of a position.
Look at your finances to get an idea of what the minimum pay for a job would have to be for you to be able to accept it. Keep that in mind when applying. In interviews if they ask if you can work late occasionally and you truly cannot do that, say so. Ultimately it will not work out if you are not honest and realistic with what you are able to do in the position and need from the position.
Good luck Moms! I hope this little bit of information may help you find the best job for yourself and your family.