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Any career change can be an overwhelming yet exciting event. For those who are stay-at-home parent making a pivot in their careers, they may have additional considerations and questions to answer before re-entering the workforce.

But by preparing ahead of time, they can alleviate some of the unknowns and stress associated with the transition.

Revisit your resume

Being a stay-at-home parent is arguably one of the most challenging jobs out there, however the time that you spent raising children might leave a gap in your work history. That makes a fresh look at your resume one of the most important tasks to take on before re-entering the workforce.

When applying for positions in the traditional workforce, it’s important to find ways to address any gaps you may have in your resume by getting creative. A recent article from policygenious.com advises that you think about your daily home activities, or specific skills you may have acquired over time, and determine if you can use any of these accomplishments on your resume. For example, if you volunteered or had a side job during this time, consider some intentional ways to showcase these nontraditional experiences on your resume to help make you stand out as a candidate.

When crafting a new resume or making changes to an existing resume, try to channel your personal brand in both in the workforce and in your personal life.

Influencermarketinghub.com describes a personal brand as a “unique combination of skills, experience, and personality that you want the world to see in you. It is the telling of your story, and how it reflects your conduct, behavior, spoken and unspoken words, and attitudes.”

Adopting a personal brand can help set you apart in a competitive market and further promote success and career development. Taking a thematic approach and staying true to your brand when building your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter and portfolio (if applicable) takes time, but the added effort will be worth it in the long run.

Hone your skills

Depending on how long you stayed home with the kids, there could be skills applicable to your career to brush up on. Certain industries are constantly changing, so if you are in a more dynamic field there might even be new skills to learn before re-entering the workforce. While each situation is unique, it could be beneficial to look into extended learning opportunities, training or apprenticeship programs, or certificate curriculums to be better prepared for your next job and make yourself more marketable.

If you are looking to get back into the workforce in the near future and may not have time to start a training or certificate program, finding other ways to brush up on your transferable skills without a large time commitment is still helpful. For example, reading books or online articles discussing how your particular industry might have changed since your previous job can equip you with more knowledge during your search. Also, remember to emphasize any new skills you might have picked up during your leave on your resume and during your interview as well.

Explore networking opportunities

Starting a new job can be overwhelming, but don’t discount the power of networking during your search. Some ways you can meet other professionals are by connecting with individuals on LinkedIn, joining a professional club or networking organization, or by attending your local Chamber of Commerce events. By putting your name out, you open up more opportunities through referrals and recommendations. By letting friends, family or other acquaintances know you are re-entering the workforce, you might find new avenues you hadn’t thought of before. Being open to making new connections and seeking out opportunities can give you more options, allowing you to choose what works best for your lifestyle. Furthermore, if you are looking for childcare, networking and talking to your connections can give you more information than you would get by doing a simple online search.

Ask the right questions

During any potential interview, prospective employers will want to get to know you to make sure that you are a good fit for the company. However, this is also a crucial time for you to learn about the company to make sure that this is a mutually beneficial opportunity. This is why preparing the right questions ahead of time is especially important for stay-at-home parents re-entering the workforce. Because there is more at stake, you want to ensure the job will be fulfilling for you as well. For example, asking questions about the culture of the company can give you an overall idea of what their values are as an organization and provides you with the opportunity to learn how they support their employees – especially those that are parents. Likewise, ask what benefits are offered through the company such as health insurance, family leave, life insurance coverage or employee assistance programs. This will give you a better idea as to whether or not you need to secure your own policies when you transition into your new position.

When making a significant change such as transitioning from being a stay-at-home parent to joining the workforce, remember it’s more of a marathon than a sprint. Even though you might be excited to jump in head-first, try to make intentional efforts to better prepare yourself for this next chapter. Asking the right questions and taking control of this new opportunity can give you the knowledge needed to make the best career move for both yourself and your family.

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