Mum!!! Go to Work.

Motherhood confers upon women the responsibility of raising a child, years after foregoing a budding career to raise kids and tend to the home; many women yearn to get back to work. This could be for a plethora of reasons ranging from financial reasons to having a sense of fulfillment. Reentering the corporate world after a long leave of absence for whatever reason can be difficult, it is harder for workers who have taken the time out to take care of their children as most that have tried would attest to, returning back to work after a very long hiatus will certainly prove tasking, factoring in that jobs in today markets are at a premium now and that skillset required for certain jobs have changed over the past few years even if the job description remain the same, simply put it’s an uphill climb, studies have also shown[1] that stay at home mothers are half as likely to get requests for interviews or call backs for job postings.

Hiring managers or recruiters do not openly state this but gaps in resumes come as raised red flags for two major theoretical reasons: skill deterioration (as earlier noted) and the advancements in technology and method of operations have changed drastically.  Recruiters fear that stay-at-home parents have either let their skillset atrophy from lack of constant use or do not have the right exposure to the right modern tools which are integral to their potential job functions.  The onus now lies with the applicant to show that their concerns are unfounded and can be tackled proactively.

The first hurdle to overcome is providing sufficient proof on paper that the skillset necessary to effectuate the job requirements have been improved upon even during the period of hiatus – no matter how long. An excellent way this can be conveyed is by filling resumes with as many professional qualifications and seminars attended as possible. This portrays an effort to remain abreast of the current practices in the industry and would prove that the skills detailed on the resume have modern twists to them.  The internet has become one of humanities greatest tools with virtually all information available at an unbelievable convenience; and as the saying goes, the right kind of information is power.  Platforms like discussion forums like Reddit, CIPD, Labour Law talk and hold a wealth of information for anyone looking to get back to a career can easily take advantage of. Another feature the internet possesses is the ability to attend online courses from anywhere on the planet, the upside to having these classes on a resume are incalculable as they will also demonstrate an enthusiasm to return to the industry as well as other intangibles that recruiters are on a look out for.

Being a stay-home mother also helps to acquire new skills like creative problem solving, people skills ability to multi-task and time management skills that can help beef up a resume. The goal is to accentuate the positives of the hiatus.

Ever evolving facets of business like legal/ compliance, human resources practices and innovations in the financial and technology space could serve as an opportunity for improvement. Attending courses and obtaining new certifications help with being conversant and knowledgeable about new practices in these fields.  Post-graduate degrees are an excellent way to get back into industry after a long hiatus.  Companies are always on the lookout for a rare mix of experience and knowledge of new practices.

It has already been established that mothers seeking to return to work after an extended period of time outside a career are half as likely to be invited for interviews or getting call backs as any other demographic, other studies show that 85% percent of jobs landed are through connections and professional networks[2].  Job applicants, especially women who have taken a career break, need to use their networks – on LinkedIn or through word of mouth – and find references to vouch for their capabilities at their target company.  Reaching out to a former employer is also important; the rapport previously established will prove invaluable to a job search.

The silver lining to a stay-at-home, career-wise, is the freedom to pursue personal interests and passions which could lead to a career change.  Investing in a personal business involving interests has the added advantage of personal gratification and satisfaction.  The demand for services provided by SMEs are being reported to be on the increase.  With online marketing through social media platforms; and Fintech offerings, exposure for these businesses are at an all-time high. The world is vastly becoming a global village, with customer base numbers sky rocketing and distance being eliminated as hindrances for interactions with potential customers.  Social media has done a tremendous lot to improve the ease of doing businesses for SMEs, making them a viable choice if contemplating a career change.

Returning to work could be a trying task.  The job market, social prejudices, changing technologies, new applications and stiff competition could be repelling but a tenacious and determined mindset will be key to returning to work.

Olamide .T. Akinnagbe-Gbenga


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