Expert Insights by: Kolby Goodman, The Job Huntr
When I earned my certification as a professional résumé writer, I immediately hopped on Yelp to scope out how other resume writers marketed their services. My first stop was Kolby Shibata-Goodman, at The Job Huntr. Not only was he the #1 Resume Writer in San Diego, but he also seemed incredibly friendly and had an overwhelming catalog of positive reviews. We later connected on LinkedIn and I sent him a message asking if he’d answer a few questions for a blog to support moms returning to work; I didn’t expect to hear anything back, BUT-to my delight, he agreed.
I really wanted to get his insight on formatting resumes for moms returning to work. I have written a couple of articles about building content to re-enter the workforce but if it’s not formatted correctly it could be detrimental to your marketability. Kolby’s first suggestion is to use a functional resume. Kolby shared, “The key is to make sure you are really connecting the dots between your previous experience and what your next employer is looking for. When I work with mothers returning to work, the goal is to make their experience so valuable in the eyes of the manager, they don't care if you did the work last year or last decade.”
When you are looking for the skills you possess and how they align with the position you seek, review the job post and evaluate the experience you have which connects with the skills they want. As you collect these experiences and categorize them to clearly share your relevant strengths with the hiring manager, please rethink these experiences so you can clearly communicate them in an interview. You may be recalling skills that you acquired several years ago, so it’s important to think about how they connect with the position for your resume and the subsequent stages of the hiring process.
Along the lines of experiences, I asked Kolby about adding work experience with volunteer groups such as PTA and other community organizations. He enthusiastically responded, “Yes! This kind of classroom, school, and community volunteering is great to showcase continuing or acquiring new skills and experience. If you are able to get a leadership position in these orgs or on large projects, that is extremely valuable as well.”
I love this! Many return-to-work moms I work with don’t see the value in their work with community organizations such as their children’s school, church, mom groups, etc. I’m so happy to have Kolby reinforce the importance of these experiences. There are many leadership opportunities that lie within these organizations, I recommend using your future goals to motivate you to take on a leadership role to stretch your skills and practice leading in the way you plan to in your career.
You may also take on a role within a community organization that aligns with the role you aspire to jump into at a later date. For example, I worked with a woman who wanted to work in the marketing industry. She was earning her degree online but had very little experience in marketing. In fact, she worked at an independently run grocery store and volunteered to start a social media page to market some of their products, sales and store events. My client knew she needed more marketing experience than that, so she joined an organization to support refugees and requested to lead marketing efforts for the growing organization. This experience as a Marketing Coordinator redirected her resume and set her up for an exciting position she landed shortly after. Community organizations are a great way to gain useful experience you can leverage in your career trajectory.
Finally, I asked Kolby to share tips with aspiring mamas to successfully land exciting positions. What can you do before and after creating and sending your well-formatted resume? Kolby said, “You have to be more proactive and outgoing than simply submitting your resume and praying you get a callback. Give yourself an unfair advantage by having a friend or family member personally refer you to the job; once you've submitted your application, make a person reach out to someone in HR at that company to formally introduce yourself; get involved at a local chapter of your professional association, being seen as a leader in your industry can get you some great attention!”
Yep, mama you’re going to have to get out there and talk about how great you are. Call a friend and tell them you want this incredible job that is just right for you. As a stay-at-home-mom, you have built up a network of fellow moms, husbands, classroom parents, Gymboree parents, neighbors, church members, old co-workers, and high school/college friends. USE YOUR NETWORK! Taking a risk and reaching out can make or break your chance of getting the perfect position for you. Share your interest in returning to the workforce with your network and you’ll be surprised at the encouraging support you’ll receive. Your an incredible mom, your network and loved ones know you can share your strengths outside of the home too and make this world a little bit better in your own unique way.
I’m so thankful for Kolby’s valuable insight. Please visit him at http://thejobhuntr.com/. I hope this article has helped you to feel more supported as you get all of your ducks in a row for work re-entry, whether you plan to start tomorrow or in a few years. Good luck!
I would take Oliver to the infant nursery room, cringe at the fluorescent lights and the smell of baby poop mixed with cleaning chemicals, walk down to the bathroom, close the door and burst into tears. Every day. For months.
Going back to work was the most challenging and depressing time of my life. I wasn’t happy at my job; I wasn’t happy to leave him; I wasn’t happy that over half of my pay was going to childcare; I wasn’t happy with the arguments my husbands and I were having; I wasn’t happy. When I went back to work I was problem-focus, I couldn’t shake myself out of the guilt and sadness.
Jump five years later and my son is in Kindergarten and a co-worker, Rebecca, is going through the same scenario. I watched her, talked to her, and supported her. I asked her about ways to make the transition back to work easier. Here’s what she said:
The first thing Rebecca said was she regretted not asking for accommodations when she returned to work. It’s hard to return and feel like you are walking on thin ice, but more and more employers are learning that the key to keeping a returning mom is by supporting her during the transition. I recommend hashing out a game plan with your boss prior to leaving or connecting with them while on maternity leave, you may loop in HR with these conversations for additional guidance.
2.The Mid-week Return
This idea is incredible. First day back to work baggage plus a case of the Mondays, ugh sounds like a recipe for a lunchtime cocktail. Rebecca asked to return on a Wednesday; she had a modified schedule for the first week, so she really eased back into the full-time work routine. During the first week or so, you might also ask to do some work at home allowing you to have more time at home in the beginning.
3.Anything but 8-5
For her first baby, Rebecca asked for a 7:30-4:30 schedule two days a week, for the second she asked for that every day. A thirty-minute shift in schedule may mean forty-five minutes less in traffic or a chance to nurse your baby at the nursery before driving home. Ovia Health, a group dedicated to support and research for women, found that 77% of surveyed women want and need more flexibility. With such a large portion of women needing more flexibility employers are becoming more open to alternative schedules. With that, there is no set in stone modified schedule. Talk to your family and decide several options to propose to your employer. Don’t forget to discuss you will complete your work, assuring him/her that your schedule modification will be beneficial to you, your employer and team.
4.Is temporary part-time an option for you?
Rebecca states, “I wish I asked for a part-time schedule my first month or 6 weeks upon my return. I felt like I got hit by a bus.” Full-time is 40 hours or work plus hours of driving to and from and pick-up. That is a lot. Researching the possibility of temporary or extended part-time maybe a good option to explore. I advise you to look into this option prior to leaving to understand all aspects so you can take your maternity leave to ponder and debrief with your new family.
One thing Rebecca didn’t bring up in our chat was her request for no travel for the first 6 months postpartum. This request was granted and our team supported her by reorganizing the schedule and taking on additional trips while she requested to stay put. Our team was very happy to step up to aid her transition and enable her to be with her family more.
Nursing your baby is a thread that keeps you connected to your baby while your away. Unfortunately, due to an abundance of in-person meetings, deadlines and unideal breastfeeding quarters, nursing decreases.
According to Johnston and Esposito (2007), employed women who return to work after giving birth must cope with the “ecosystem” of the work environment, which includes attitudes of coworkers, length of maternity leave, length of working shifts, and hourly wages or salary. In their study, the researchers found that women who were employed had a 9% lower rate of breastfeeding at 6 months postpartum than women who were unemployed. Johnston and Esposito also found that supportive work environments increase breastfeeding duration. Before returning to work, the employed women in their study felt it was necessary to meet with their managers to discuss breastfeeding.
Here are some ways you can make breastfeeding more attainable after returning to work: