By Paula Cabrera
Hello, Mamas. Our lives have changed since we brought our babies into this world. Our daily routines and schedules have been adjusted to accommodate the needs of these tiny human beings. For instance, the moment we decided to breastfeed our babies, we already made a commitment to be physically available every two hours or even more often depending on the mood, appetite, or growth spurts of our little ones. The entire household seemed to have been turned upside down, inside out. Our likes, dislikes, attitudes, moods, and even habits have been affected by our adorable babies.
As Mamas, regardless of the chaos that having a baby naturally brings along, we want to be there and experience every minute of it. More importantly, we want to physically be there for our growing baby/toddler/kid/teenager. Thus, it’s not unusual for a working mom to entertain the idea of quitting her job and be a stay-at-home mom.
Just the same, there are stay-at-home moms who for various reasons decide to re-enter the workforce. It could be to meet some financial struggles or demands of the family or it could also be for the mom herself and how she wants to explore her options. It could even be as simple as missing her previous job. Regardless of her reasons, it’s a tough decision to make.
If you’re that mom, you need all the support you can get, such as needing a boost of confidence and reassurance that you can do this. So here’s a little help.
Upon making this decision, one of the preliminary matters to accomplish is working on your resume. You need to get your resume noticed; otherwise, you’re not going to get the call for an interview or an offer. So how do you go about it? What exactly should you include in your resume?
Here are a few tips.
1. Know what you are applying for. You need to know your target employer, the tasks associated with the position you are targeting, and the qualifications needed for said position. There’s a big difference between a corporate setting and a more relaxed and laid back job. Without knowing your target employer, you could be applying for a job completely not aligned with your skills, knowledge, and experience. Hence, you need to research and familiarize yourself with the target employer, what they need, and how you can contribute.
2. Draft a cover letter. Part of your research is to find out to whom your cover letter should be addressed. Is there a managing partner or a Human Resource Head? You may opt to check the employer’s website or give the company a call to get these details. In your cover letter, you should be able to introduce yourself, state the job you are looking for, match your skills and experience with the job, ask the addressee to read your resume, and ask for a meeting to better introduce yourself and what you can do for the target employer. Remember that one small error (such as a typo or grammatical error) can make your addressee forget about even looking at your resume.
3. Draft your resume. Make sure your full name and contact details are there. Again, your research on your target employer will determine what you ought to include in your resume. There are employers who prefer to have the applicant’s picture on the resume while others immediately shred resumes with attached pictures. Thus, it’s very important for you to check on your target employer’s preferences. Include your qualifications, educational background, previous job/s and job title/s, a summary of achievements such as award/s and project/s, and seminars attended, which have helped you develop your skills and expertise.
4. Introduce yourself and not just what you have accomplished. Give them an idea of who you are, your hobbies, and maybe even a glimpse of why being a mom has helped you develop your skills. For all you know, your experience as a stay-at-home mom might even be the factor that will set you apart from all the other applicants. Remember that it’s a resume. You’re supposed to talk about yourself!
5. Keep it short and simple. The rule of thumb is to keep it at one page for every ten years of experience. Assume that whoever will read your cover letter and resume is a very busy person. He or she won’t have time to go through a ten-page resume listing each and every single activity you have accomplished the past six months. Keeping it short and simple will help your target employer remember you and actually finish reading your resume.
6. Check and re-check. Make sure there are no typographical errors. Check your grammar. Check the spelling of the employer’s name and to whom your cover letter is addressed. (Someone applied at our law firm and got a partner’s name wrong, and that was it.) It might even help to ask your husband or a friend to review your cover letter and resume. A different pair of eyes may see things differently. Someone else may be in a better position to point out any typo or grammatical errors in what you have written.
7. Most importantly, be honest. There’s no room for lies in applying for a job. You may feel intimidated with the competition or the demands of the job you are applying for and maybe even tempted to lie or exaggerate your accomplishments. Remember that your target employer will most likely research about you too. Plus, it’s not going to be a comfortable and friendly setting if you aren’t honest to begin with. Yes, you need to impress your target employer, but not at the risk of sacrificing your values and character. Be confident in knowing that your skills and experience will help you meet the demands of the job you are applying for.
Remember that the primary goal is to get your resume noticed. So you need to take this step seriously. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help or advice. There are plenty working moms who will be more than willing to discuss this matter with you.
Yes, re-entering the workforce is a tough decision to make, but it’s not impossible. Remember that your experience as a mom has changed you, has made you stronger, and has empowered you. You just need the right attitude and all the support you can get to survive the transition from being stay-at-home to becoming a working mom. You can do this. It’s not impossible. You’re a mom and that’s the toughest job in the world. So you got this, Mama!
Paula Cabrera is a working mom and a devoted wife. She and her husband are both lawyers who are continuously learning to embrace the joys and pains of both work and parenting. Reading and writing have always been some of her hobbies, and so, despite being busy, she finds time to do both even for just a few minutes everyday. She hopes to be able to be able to reach out to other parents through her short pieces and remind them that they are not alone in the crazy yet fulfilling world of parenting.