A common question I’m hearing in the job-hunting community these days is how stay-at-home moms who want to reenter the workforce can deal with the overwhelming competition in the market and find a job.

The biggest challenges most stay-at-home moms must overcome are a lengthy gap on their resumes and employers’ perceptions that these candidates might not have the up-to-date knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to perform the required work. These challenges can be mitigated with the following strategies:

If you’re not the strongest on paper, you have to become the best relationship manager out there. One thing you have going for you is time, the main thing most professionals crave. Start out by learning who are the most influential contacts in your industry and come up with a plan to reach out to these people.

You need to recognize that employers use various ways to recruit today and the hiring game has changed. Create a one page marketing plan and research the various recruiting methods your target companies might use to find talent.

A client of mine got an interview scheduled with T-Mobile because her husband is friends with the hiring manager’s husband. Although my client has a 10-year gap on her resume, human resources was forced to schedule the interview per the hiring manager’s request. (When it comes to hiring, Seattle reminds me of France; the way to get a job in Paris is to know people and that’s precisely how it works here.)

Not all of you will get lucky enough to land an interview with an A-level employer, and you’ll need to adjust your expectations and your approach. A client of mine had not worked in public relations for more than three years. Trying to fill in the gap, she researched startups where she could volunteer with her PR expertise. She found several employers that hired her for writing press releases, researching media contacts, event planning and community management work. These activities led to her finding full-time work.

Startups don’t have the luxury to hire the most qualified candidates and are willing to settle for less. You can use this to your advantage and offer relevant expertise to get hired by the firm and flesh out your resume with current experience, even if it’s only short-term or volunteer work. Working at a startup also allows you to wear many hats, so you can acquire new skills quickly without going through the bureaucracy of larger employers.

Last, but not least, consider contracting. Many employers are hiring temporary employees for various durations – usually three months to one year. Contracts give the employer the ability to try you out without going through the full expenses of hiring a W2 employee. You can still negotiate good benefits (including vacation and sick pay) through the agency that will write your paycheck. To find a contract firm, ask around and see who specializes in your industry. Also make sure to familiarize yourself with the vendor management system most firms use during hiring.

Live Seminars in December

The Career Search Excellence seminar is packed with only the hottest tips and tricks for professionals seeking a new opportunity – giving you a competitive edge over the competition. The seminar is free (sponsored) and there are three dates to choose from in December.
  • December 5 (Bellevue, WA)
  • December 8 (Bellevue, WA)
  • December 10 (Bellevue, WA)
Register Now (It's free.)
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