In today's economy, more women are being forced to relinquish
their roles as stay-at-home moms to become working moms. But
figuring out how to step off the mommy track and back into the
business world can be intimidating for many women, who can often be
their own worst enemy, says career expert Vicki Brackett of Make It
Happen for Women, which specializes in helping women find jobs.
"The biggest problem is in her head, what she thinks about
herself," Brackett says. "They're afraid because professional women
Nevertheless, the only way to get back out there is to do your
research and force yourself outside your comfort zone, she says.
Start by visiting Web sites such as careerbuilder.com or
monster.com to see what jobs are available and what skills are
Then figure out how your skills fit. "Look what you've been
doing since you've been out of the workforce-Boy Scouts, PTA, all
have project management skills and different kinds of skills that
companies would find attractive," Brackett says.
Next, find local professional organizations. Check out the local
chamber of commerce for get-togethers. Google the name of your city
and women's professional organizations to find others. "Stay away
from the mom ones because then you'll be back to talking about
potty training," Brackett says. "Then go get your hair done, go get
the suit, shave your legs, get out of the mommy track."
Once you're at the meetings, don't talk about your kids.
Instead, create your own "10-second commercial" highlighting what
you do, Brackett advises. "You want to say, 'I'm a professional
redefining myself and getting back into the workplace.'" Talk about
your projects. For instance, working on Girl Scout cookie sales can
be described as nonprofit fundraising.
Don't talk about wanting to telecommute or needing to be home at
3 p.m. to pick up the kids. "No one wants to hear about your kids.
They want to hear you can make them money, save them money and
minimize their risk," she says.
And last, be realistic about the marketplace. "We're now in a
recession, so what (you) did 10 years ago isn't going to matter,"
Brackett says. You can jumpstart job searches by updating skills
through a college class, volunteering or asking local companies
For more information, visit makeithappenforwomen.com.
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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