When Shiela Negron quit her banking job five years ago to raise her first child she knew big changes were in store for her life. She also knew a career change was probably in her future.
What she didn’t expect was that after raising two daughters to school age and getting a degree from Rollins College, it would take everything she had to find a job again.
It seems that being out of the workforce for an extended period of time, even to raise children, is often seen by employers as a as liability not worth the risk of taking.
Negron says many employers don’t even hide their intentions.
“On want ads they say don’t even bother applying if you haven’t worked in the past year, it’s like what do you mean don’t even bother," Negron said.
Rollins College career counselor, Anne Meehan, says as more women choose to quit their jobs and stay home to raise children, she’s hearing of more stories like Shiela’s.
Meehan says that getting back in the workplace isn’t always easy and can be intimidating, but with confidence and perseverance you will have success.
Here are some of her tips that can increase your odds:
- She says first you should assess your strengths and interests and decide what employment status best fits your life such as part-time, contract or full-time employment.
“It’s really important to step back and think what do I want now? Which is probably really different picture than you wanted three years ago or nine or however long this experience gap has been," Meehan said.
- Networking is also extremely important when trying to re-enter the workplace, Meehan said. Reach out to everyone from your past. Past colleagues, alumni groups and networking groups can all lead to employment.
- Remember social media as well. She says LinkedIn and Google+ are great ways to make connections.
- Be prepared to start wherever you can. Volunteer work and internships often lead to full time employment.
- Reference your past success when updating your resume. Highlight why you are a valuable asset.
- Be clear about why you were absent. This will clear up any ambiguity.
- Highlight the experience you gained from being home and correlate them to the demands of the job.“
"That time is very valuable, but also don’t forget some of the other achievements prior to staying home," Meehan said.
As for Shiela, she’s a perfect example of persistence paying off. What started as a temp job at a local law firm has become a full time position. She’s now training with the firm to become a legal assistant.