"The organizational and time management skills of the average mom—when well presented — are often enough to push a candidate forward," said Chicago, Illinois, human resources professional Vanessa Kelly. "All other skills being equal, I definitely give the edge to someone with 'mom time' on her resume, particularly when she demonstrates sufficient focus on her career." The key, Kelly said, is packaging your mom experience in a business context that a recruiter can't ignore.
Writing on the job search site FlexJobs.com, business coach Stacey Boegem suggests converting tasks into skills and talents. Express the work involved in planning a school fundraiser, for example, in terms of team-building, detail-oriented, problem-solving and delegating skills, all talents needed for management. "Take a close look at your day-to-day mom tasks and try to see these rephrased in business terms," Kelly said. "When you express the planning needed as you renovate a kitchen and keep your family fed, you may be surprised at the extent of your abilities as a project manager. Consider volunteer work for your community, church or other group in business terms, too — anything that flexes your job muscles and demonstrates initiative and entrepreneurial spirit."
Don't Hide, Advertise
Kelly advised against being defensive about time spent away from the job market. Business journalist Robin Madell, writing for "U.S. News and World Report" in 2013, quoted a study indicating that more than half of the adult workers surveyed believe that time away from the workforce hurts career development. "You can undervalue yourself if you really believe that," Kelly said. "Think of 'mom' as a job title. Consider the value of skills used in that job, and sell the skills, not your title, to your recruiter. Don't be afraid to answer if asked how you acquired your mom skills, but phrased in terms of what you bring to a job, it's really irrelevant if you can deliver."
Evaluate Yourself and Your Target
Returning to the workforce may be an ideal time to re-examine your career goals and even your career field, wrote careers writer Sharon Reed Abboud on the Quintessential Careers website. Your life priorities have changed, and it's an excellent time to re-evaluate what's important to you and your evolving values. Staffing firm owner Whitney Forstner told Madell that accepting that you and the job market have changed in the interim is a powerful realization. Staying realistic and ready to face challenges helps your job search, particularly when you approach it as an opportunity to match your prospective job to your mom skills and family needs, Madell added.
Abboud quoted career coach Mary Ann Blackwell as saying that up to 80 percent of professional women found jobs as a result of networking. If you're reviving an earlier career, re-establishing your network allows you to add your mom experience to the skills and reputation you established in your earlier field. Rejoining trade or professional associations can get your name active again. "Create or update a LinkedIn profile with your mom skills added," Kelly said. "Don't forget your mom network of other parents. In particular, they may be a source of family-friendly businesses, if you're looking for new leads."