We all know, have or are stay-at-home moms waiting for that chance to re-enter the job market. Sometimes we have no choice and sometimes we want to re-enter because we’re tired of being just another domestic housewife.
Thus, here are a few tips to follow for stay-at-home moms looking to re-enter the job market.
Prepare for self-confidence
For a successful interview, not only will you need to project confidence about your decision to stay home, but also in your professional qualifications and ability to do the job. You will need to be up-to-date in both technology skills and industry information. You don’t want to re-enter the job market like a Rip Van Winkle, wondering why everything has changed. You can get current industry information by conducting online and offline research, networking and taking classes.
Source your network
Net-working is the key. You might consider taking a few friends or former colleagues out for lunch and asking them directly: “What’s new in our industry?” and “What do you think I need to know?” Be sure to also lurk (parlance for reading but not posting) on online industry boards to find out about changes in corporate culture.
You will also develop confidence by researching a prospective company, which in turn will enable you to express industry and company knowledge during an interview. By learning about the company, you’ll be able to ask appropriate questions in your interview.
A typical interview
In a typical interview, the interviewer will take the time to provide an overview of the company or organization, describe the job that you are interviewed for and then ask if you have any questions. During this time, you will need to listen attentively and project confidence and professionalism. It’s important to maintain eye-contact but not stare them down. Be careful never to appear bored. Try to appear enthusiastic about the job opportunity.
Watch your body language — your non-verbal gestures during an interview — because you can flub your interview by sending the wrong message. There are many facets for projecting positive body language; here are a few examples:
Use a firm and confident handshake (not limp, but not aggressive).
Do not sit before the interviewer sits down.
Do not slouch in your chair.
Do not put your hands in your pockets or fold your arms in front of you.
Do not look at the clock, your watch or mobile.
Lean slightly forward to look interested in the conversation.
Speak clearly and confidently.
Dress up for your job interview
It’s important to dress professionally for your interview. Your first step is to try to find out what type of clothing people wear in the organization in which you are being interviewed, and then try to dress accordingly.
Remember, there are divergent norms for dressing in different types of industries; for example, if you’re applying for a banking job, then you will need to dress more conservatively than if you are interviewed for a job in advertising. That said, if you find that the company interviewing you has an overall casual dress policy and culture, you will still want to project your respect for the organization by taking the time to dress up in professional attire for the interview.
At your interview, be sure to project your confidence, but not arrogance, by speaking clearly. Try not to mumble. For some people, this can be very difficult, because you may feel very nervous. The key to alleviating this nervousness is practice. For most people, interviewing is a learned skill and does not come naturally. You can practise being interviewed in front of the mirror or by using a tape recorder or video recorder. Or, you may ask your spouse or a friend to play role of the interviewer. It’s important to practise many times so that the interview will seem natural to you.
One of the key components to practising how to interview effectively is to learn to anticipate and answer questions, and also ask appropriate questions. Generally speaking, many interviewers ask many of the same types of interview questions, so you may be able to anticipate these and practise your responses. Be careful not to sound canned when you reply, though.
As a mom re-entering the workforce, you may be asked questions directly related to your re-entering status. For example: How have you kept your skills up-to-date?
This is the key question that may get you the job. Be ready to explain everything you have done to keep up-to-date with your skills. For example, have you worked as a volunteer or have taken classes while at home?
Keep in mind that employers are prohibited by federal law to ask about childcare arrangements at the pre-employment stage. It is also unlawful to ask if you are pregnant or plan to have more children.
Ask your interviewer the best questions
At some point in the interview, the interviewer will ask: “Do you have any questions for me?” So, while you are doing your research, be sure to make a list of possible questions and tweak them as you find out more about the company. Your best questions will show that you have done your research and have a sincere interest in the company and its operations.