If you’re a stay-at-home mom who’s ready to return to the workforce, you might be worried about getting back into the game and going through the interview process. After all, once you spend a few years covered in spit-up, changing diapers and chasing toddlers all over the place, it can be hard to get back into the work mindset.
Don’t worry, though. As a mom, you’re likely to be an asset to any workplace. You’re determined and likely have lots of practice with multitasking and prioritizing. These are truly valuable skills that employers are looking for. That brings me to my very first tip:
You might not feel the most confident right now. You’ve made the difficult decision to go back to work, but you also feel ready for it. You’ve put in long, hard hours taking care of your babies, and now it’s time to get back to your career.
Whether you’ve been away from work for just a few months or you’ve been a stay-at-home mom for years, many women just don’t feel confident about their skills and abilities in the workplace.
They’re worried they’ve spent too much time away, that younger colleagues have more skills, and that they’re just not cut out for the workforce anymore.
Don’t let these doubts settle in your mind. Just because you became a mom doesn’t mean you won’t be an amazing asset to a company. In fact, as I mentioned previously, your experience as a mom likely makes you more mature, more focused and better able to make tough decisions.
You have to project confidence in your interview, even if you don’t feel it!
You’ll likely be asked hard questions during your interview. Even something as simple as, “Why did you leave your last job?” can be hard for a mom who doesn’t know whether or not to bring up her family.
My advice is just to be honest. Tell them you left your last job because you decided to stay at home with your children. Make sure they know it wasn’t a decision you made lightly but that it was incredibly invaluable to your family.
It helps if you spent time while you were a stay at home mom keeping track of industry trends, freelancing, or just keeping in touch with old colleagues. Make sure they know that even though you left your career for a short time, you didn’t leave the planet. You’re still informed and ready to return.
As you probably know, there are many questions employers aren’t supposed to ask during an interview. However, don’t be surprised if they do. My husband was asked if he was going to add more kids to the family during his last round of job interviews. Someone even asked him how he was going to balance his long work hours with being a dad.
These questions are inappropriate and irrelevant to your ability to do a job well, but your interviewer might ask them anyway. Be prepared to answer them with class and grace. A simple answer like “We’re happy with the size family we have today” should be adequate. As far as balance, you can always say something like, “I’m lucky to have a very strong support system at home.”
Dress to Impress
It should go without saying, but when it comes to a job interview, you should absolutely dress to impress. I’m a huge proponent of finding a new, special outfit to wear when you’re going to an important interview.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money on this new outfit, but even buying a new bag or a new pair of shoes can boost your confidence and make you feel unstoppable in your interview.
Also, keep in mind that what you wear to an interview isn’t a one size fits all decision. You really have to research the culture at the company where you want to work and see what their employees are wearing. Applying for a job in the fashion or magazine industry is very different from applying for a job in finance.
Either way, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed, and you truly want to feel great. Remember, confidence is important on this journey, and sometimes what you wear can help increase that.
Ultimately, when you’re going back to work after being a stay-at-home mom, finding the right fit in a company is important. You want to feel excited about returning to the workforce but also valued. So, seek out companies that have great benefits packages and that really take pride in their employees’ happiness. This will ensure that your transition back to the workforce is smooth and that it’s a positive change.
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