The Reentry Reality for Women

How to stay relevant as you transition back into the workforce
Beth Fitzgerald
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Being a mom has been, by far, the most difficult thing I have ever done. I am the mother of four wonderful children and I stayed home for the better part of 15 years. I completely understand the realities of reentry and how completely irrelevant one can feel after being out of the game for quite some time—it is downright terrifying. But I have come through safely to the other side of the reentry process and I’d like to share three powerful ways to successfully achieve this goal.

Before I share these three key components, I’d like to point out the Achilles’ heel of this whole process: self-confidence. Trying to remain relevant hinges almost solely on our own confidence, which is often completely depleted because we view ourselves at diaper-changing, nose-wiping, carpooling worker bees. We forget there is a bad-ass Cinderella in there that not only used to be, but still is, AMAZING! So, if you are not already doing so now—sit up straight, embrace what you know to be true of all of your talent and strengths, and read on with this knowledge in the forefront of your mind.

  1. REDEFINE WHO YOU ARE RIGHT NOW
    You may have been out of the corporate world for a while now, but that does not mean you have withered away. New skills have surfaced as a result of motherhood like an incredibly strong work-ethic, amazing time-management, unparalleled patience, fearless negotiation skills, outstanding communication skills, effective listening, mastery of persuasion and influence, strong organizational skills, expert collaboration skills, exceptional people management, etc. Take what you have learned and apply it to your new brand. Define who you are now, the new and improved you, and own this new you with tremendous confidence and pride. Well done!

  2. BECOME AN “EXPERT”

    How do you become an expert if you have been at home raising your children? Start where you are now. The only way to get back in the game is to put yourself back in as best you can. Become a subject matter expert on the most recent information available to you. Read about it, watch videos on it, take online courses (many are free), get a certification, and talk to experts or others you can network with in the field. Learning more about your field, or a field you are looking to break into, will make you feel significantly more confident as you head into this job search.

  3. DON’T GO IT ALONE – PLEASE!
    For some unknown reason, that is completely beyond my comprehension, we women love to go it alone (please refer to my previous article I wrote for Jobs.mom about asking for help). As a result, we make our challenges far more difficult than they need to be. So, repeat after me: I will not go it alone, I will ask for help. Get in a tribe of likeminded women like right here at Jobs.mom. Read what other women are struggling with and how they circumvented their challenges. Offer your own insights as well. What I do know to be true is that whatever it is that we are struggling with is not new or unique. Someone else has faced this exact struggle and they are not only willing, but delighted, to help us through it.

“We never know when a helping hand will change another person’s entire life.”

~ Zig Ziglar

Also consider getting a coach, if finances permit. Coaches help clients get out of their own way, offer a perspective the client often cannot see, and help them move more quickly. If finances are tight, ask a friend to be your coach and help you through the process. They can easily be an accountability partner for you, holding you to task, and oftentimes, meeting deadlines and commitments.

Finally, get some help with your resume—professional help if you can. This is the one piece of paper that is challenged with speaking on your behalf, so you will want it to be amazing. Friends and family are helpful, but they often won’t provide the honesty or the expertise a professional will be able to provide. This will be well worth the investment.

As you head into this search for a new job, hold your head high. Be confident in who you are and what you have to offer. Taking the time to raise your kids does not make you irrelevant—not one iota! Confidently stand behind your decision to stay home. And any company that doesn’t want to entertain hiring you because of that gap in your resume is a company you don’t want to work for anyway—they don’t deserve you.

Beth Fitzgerald is a graduate of Rutgers University with a double major in Economics and English. She started her career on Wall Street working for a small boutique hedge fund, then at Prudential in the Portfolio Management Department for the General Account, and finally at The OppenheimerFunds in The World Trade Center where she managed the internal sales force.  She left Wall Street to raise her 4 children. Seven years ago she reentered the workforce, opening her own executive coaching practice and serving both individual, as well as corporate, clients. Most recently, she published her first book -- The Wake Up Call – Daily Eye-Opening Motivation to Live Your Best Life. In addition to being a published author, she is a certified life coach, certified John Maxwell Coach, Master EFT Practitioner, Positive EFT Practitioner, member of the Forbes Coaching Council, speaker, and trainer.

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