According to the latest Labor Department statistics, almost 70% of all mothers with children under 18 are working or looking for work in the United States. This includes 57% of mothers with infants, 64 % of mothers with children under 6, and 75% of women with children from 6 to 18 years old. A 2013 Pew Research study found that mothers are the sole or primary breadwinners in 40% of American households with children under 18. That is a driving force for participating in the workforce.
Whether they need to or want to work, few job seekers face more challenges than parents and caregivers who haven’t worked outside the home in years. In addition to a sluggish economy and employer bias against workforce dropouts, those trying to re-enter the job market may face self-doubt, outdated skills or knowledge of industry trends, competition from candidates with current experience, difficulty explaining the gap in their employment history, and unrealistic salary expectations.
Fortunately, there are a growing number of resources for back-to-work moms. These include company re-entry programs targeted at working mothers and websites/blogs such as iRelaunch and Women for Hire.
Carol Fishman Cohen, iRelaunch cofounder and coauthor of the book Back on the Career Track: a guide for stay-at-home moms who want to return to work, offers these tips for women returning to work in a recent CNN Money article:
1. Figure out what you want to do, and realize that this might have changed while you were away from work.
2. Reconnect with former coworkers since networking is key.
3. Use social media to research potential employers and use your knowledge to show you are up to speed.
4. Update your skills by taking courses or keeping up on industry news.
5. Propose an internship-like employment contract, where you prove yourself to an employer by working on a specific project for a pre-determined period of time.
For cusotmized one-to-one job search assistance, click here, and set an appoinment with a library staff member. Staff are able to identify library resources that will be helpful at every stage of a job search. From career choice to interview preparation, the library has a specific tool, service or resource to help.