Maintaining Professional Relevance as a SAHM
Many moms (myself included) decide to put their careers on pause to focus on raising their children full-time. I certainly found this to be a difficult decision because while I wanted to spend time with my baby while she was young, I knew it could be detrimental to my career when the time came for re-entry. I ultimately made the decision to leave my job in the corporate world and take a career break, but I have taken steps over the last couple of years to keep some of my skills sharp.
My fellow contributor wrote a great article with advice for re-entering the workforce if you are jumping back in. If you are still in the midst of diapers or have busy older children and aren’t quite ready to relaunch your career, it is always a good idea to keep the door open.
I am happy to share some advice I have found helpful and continue to implement as I explore future career options and maintain professional relevance during this season of life.
Keep your network active. It is easy to lose touch with others when you are out of the workforce and in a busy phase of life. Reach out periodically to mentors, professors (they are usually always willing to keep in touch), former managers, and peers. Neighbors and other parents are also great networking resources, especially since you are likely in touch often. Ask about interesting things they are working on, industry trends, or even just a personal note to catch up. People generally like to share about themselves, so take advantage of that openness.
Also, network with companies that offer returnship programs. These programs are designed to help professionals reignite their careers after a break and are perfect for moms returning to the workforce.
Maintain a LinkedIn presence
LinkedIn is arguably the best way to network in the corporate world. Create or update your profile and be sure to add a thoughtful “about me” summary that tells your story as a professional. It’s a good idea to add a brief summary under each position you held and a few bullet points of your major accomplishments. Try to do this while your memory of projects or accomplishments is fresh. If it has been some time, you can also search your peers’ profiles to jog your memory of projects you collaborated on. You can search for special topics, and individuals, and follow insightful thought leaders in your industry.
Keep track of new skills or projects
Did you plan a PTO fundraising event? Did you serve on the executive board of your neighborhood association? Did you project manage a home renovation? Be sure to add new skills you obtain and major accomplishments during this career break to your resume.
Join a professional organization
Many industries have professional organizations with affiliations in Atlanta. See if they offer networking events, webinars, or other resources to help you keep up with industry trends.
Consider obtaining a professional certification
Professional certifications are another way to demonstrate your dedication to your field through continuing education and are a valuable addition to your resume, especially during a career break.
Explore relevant books and podcasts
Do some research to find books and podcasts that relate to your field of work or that focus on skills you are looking to acquire or polish up. Tied to my earlier tip, thought leaders on LinkedIn may be authors themselves or have their own podcast (or as a featured guest), so if there is someone you find interesting, dig a bit deeper.
What other ways have you maintained professional relevance during a career break? If you have made the jump back into the workforce, we’d love to hear what other tips you have!