Stay connected to your career

By Hannah Morris, the owner of HBM Human Resources & Career Consulting, and has 15 years of experience in Human Resources management, recruiting and career counseling. Additionally she is the owner of Pots & Petals, a gardening business

Q: I’m taking time out of the workforce to be a stay-at-home mom. What should I be doing to keep my skills and experience relevant and up-to-date?

A: If you have made the choice to stay at home with your children for an extended period but you plan to eventually return to regular, full-time work, then there are several things you might consider doing to keep your skills, knowledge and credentials updated. Here are ten suggestions:

1. Read! Continue subscribing to industry magazines or newsletters that will provide you with the latest information and updates about what is going on in your field. Additionally, consider starting a book club in which your group reads and discusses books about business-related topics.
2. Maintain your memberships in industry or business-related organizations. By continuing to attend meetings you will stay connected to people in the business community. Once you begin looking for a job again, these networking contacts will be essential. Your active membership in such an organization is something you can definitely include on your resume.
3. Join (or start) a networking club/meeting with other moms who are taking a break from their careers. Without a doubt there are other women who have made the same choice to stay home with children, but ultimately plan to go back to work. Seek out women in your neighborhood, children’s school, or other community group who are also interested in networking and mentoring one another.
4. Attend continuing education seminars and educational programs. Take advantage of classes and programs related to your area of expertise or other business-related topic. The Center for Women is an excellent resource for this type of event. Also check with industry organizations and local colleges and universities to find out when and where they will offer training or continuing education classes in your area.
5. Volunteer in your field. Use what you know to benefit those who may not be able to pay for your services. Although a paycheck is great, volunteering still allows you an opportunity to utilize your knowledge as an expert in your field and could be a nice addition to your resume.
6. Manage a community, school or non-profit project or event. Even if it is not specifically related to your career, taking a major role in the planning and execution of this type of event will allow you to use the same organization, prioritization and management skills needed in a work environment.
7. Look for consulting opportunities in your field. Taking on an occasional project for a client is a great way to keep your skills fresh, to build your resume, and earn a little extra money. The best way to find this kind of opportunity is through networking. Utilize your business contacts and pursue connections through family, friends, and neighbors.
8. Keep your resume updated and your interview skills polished. You never know when you might be asked for a resume. A great consulting opportunity may arise and you want to have your resume read to send out upon request. Make sure you have a nice suit that fits well and makes you feel confident. Take time to practice selling yourself as the best candidate for the job.
9. Keep your licenses and/or certifications up-to-date. Stay on top of what training or coursework you need to complete to maintain your credentials even if you are out of the workforce. If it is important to have certifications in your field, be sure that you are keeping yours up-to-date in preparation for when you return to work.
10. Have a mentor. Contact a former boss, co-worker or other professional whom you respect and ask them to be a mentor to you. Get together every couple of months for coffee or lunch to catch up on business-related news and to get advice on what else you can be doing to keep yourself prepared to re-enter the workforce.

If you are staying at home to be with your children, enjoy this time. It won’t last forever. Little children grow up and the older they get, the more time you will have for your own pursuits. You will have a chance to get back to your career. For now, make an effort to keep your skills, knowledge and connections in tact to help smooth your transition back into the workforce when the time comes.

First appeared in Moxie section of The Post and Courier on Friday, August 14, 2009.

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2 Responses to “Stay connected to your career”

  1. Lowcountry Bloggers » As the LowCountry goes ’round.. » Blog Archive Says:

    […] Center for Women published ways to stay connected to your career, while you are busy being a stay-at-home mom. […]

  2. Anna Alford Says:

    I live in Houston, Mississippi. I am a Scentsy Independent Consultant. Scentsy is a new company that sells wickless candles. I am looking for people interested in making extra income. I am a full time mother and work a full time job. I have been selling Scentsy for about 11 months. I have learned that Scentsy is not very well known in the Carolina’s. I need interested people to sell Scentsy. How do I get in touch with college students needing extra income or anybody that needs to make some extra money.

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