Being a mother, they say, is a full time job. For two.
For so many Moms, as the stay-at-home years roll by, a chunk of your activities tend to be child and family centric. And that’s great, except when you choose to return to work, you might feel that the time in between has not added much to your market value.
Perish the thought.
Yes, maybe your experience does not seem directly relevant to the work environment, and you probably can’t covet the corner office yet, but there’s plenty that you might have done that’s worth cashing on. And a lot of employers recognize that.
Here are a few ways to look at your ‘at home’ years from a different perspective.
So many mothers work with Parent Teacher Organizations at their kids’ schools – fund raisers, event planning, parent communications are all meaningful roles that add to marketable experience over the years.
The local public school in a town near mine could keep their full day kindergarten program going during the post recession budget cuts, thanks to an enormous effort by a group of dedicated parents – they managed to raise over $400K, at a time when families themselves were battling the market downturn. With initiatives like these, you not only add to your do good, feel good factor, but also your showcase management and teamwork capabilities.
So many mothers offer up their time and resources to organizations in their area and causes they care about. Apart from the direct volunteering, planning, marketing and bookkeeping are skills that have a huge market value if properly showcased.
Did you work with businesses in your local area to gather sponsorships or donations? Or maybe undertake large scale purchases and price negotiations for the garden club or church. All of that counts.
Do you anchor parent managed initiatives for kids? Ever run Girl Scouts or a Robotics team? Host gatherings where other moms can find parenting answers? Maybe network to organize informal support groups? That’s great. Talk about it.
Other Marketable Skills
If you are already a pro at any of the following, it’s a solid leg up. But if these largely tech based skills need brushing up, sign on for activities that allow you a chance to pick up some real-time experience.
Most employers ask for at least a working knowledge of Spreadsheets (like Microsoft Excel or Numbers for Mac) or Word Processing software (like Microsoft Word or Pages for Mac), so that’s a ‘good to know’.
Cloud based Shareable documents
Google Docs, Sheets and Slides are a very convenient way to share information across large groups. These programs are online,free and they sync across all devices. And since these can be edited by multiple people, it’s a fantastic tool for volunteer signups, monitoring event progress, and in the workplace for file sharing within companies, or with outside parties.
Typically event driven, this includes (but is not restricted to) designing materials like brochures and flyers, using email as an info/ promotions tool and importantly, social media like Facebook to spread the word.
If you succeeded in your goal (e.g meeting the fundraising target), clearly, you did plenty right and it’s well worth highlighting.
The Mother of all Skills
The most of universal and prized of all skill sets is the ability to work successfully with people, and most women who have actively volunteered and interacted with other moms have done it extensively. Managing teams, getting people to share their time without recompense, running a project from planning to petty tasks – all require high levels of people skills.
If you did most of the above and are around to tell the story, you still have what it takes to succeed in an interview and eventually the workplace.
So don’t wait. Go get them, Girl!
Pooja Krishna is an Entrepreneur, Consultant and Mom. She has worked both in large corporates and managed startups over the last 20+ years. A co-founder of Maroon Oak, she’s also founded Win Thinks, a small business consulting company, and Trading Paces, which educates amateur and pro stock traders. She blogs and teaches workshops about Brand Strategy, Social Media & Future ready Career Solutions. She loves being a Classroom Mentor and teaching students across the U.S. about Job Skills and Entrepreneurship.
A trivia buff and yoga & hula hoop enthusiast, Pooja loves spending time with her family playing board games and watching documentaries.
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