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!