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Returning to Work

Tags:  Returning to work, Working mothers

Returning to work after a long absence can be an eye-opening experience, especially if it's been years. For stay-at-home moms who have nurtured their families and are now ready to get back into the crazy eight-to-five world of work, probably the biggest challenge is preparing for the job interview.

Because it may have been several years since you've been in the workforce it will be incumbent on you to explain why now is the time to jump back into the fray as well as what skills you have that make you the best candidate for a job. What you should not forget is that while you may have developed skills from your previous work experience, you have also refined or developed your skills during the time you spent raising your children.

What you need to do is prepare yourself just like anyone else going in for an interview. That means reviewing all your skills, abilities and talents – whether that's prior paid experience working in an office or current volunteer experience co-chairing the PTA or spearheading a local fundraiser.

Get the most out of your return-to-work interview by following these Guideposts:

1. Greet interviewer with confidence; make it clear that you know about the company

Now is not the time to whimp out. If you are really serious about getting back into the workforce it is incumbent on you to convince the employer that you have what it takes. And that means going into the interview with a professional and confident demeanor.

That doesn't mean to be overbearing, just comfortable in your ability to do the job. Make sure you assert your interest, communicate your strengths and clarify your understanding of the position and the company.

2. Bridge the gap in experience with relevant accomplishments from personal life

Remember that the purpose of the interview is for you AND the interviewer to find out how your skills and abilities fit with the employer's current needs. Even though you are not currently working in a full-time paid position doesn't mean your prior work experience and/or current volunteer experience is not applicable.

Make sure to help the interviewer understand what talents you bring to the table by describing how your current experience applies to the job; even if that means how well you have managed your home.

3. Express confidence in your ability to be an asset; close on next steps; thank the interviewer.

A large part of what the interviewer will be looking for is someone who fits with the company culture and has the confidence to take on the challenge that the company has to offer.

It is up to you to communicate your willingness to learn as well as your continuing interest in the opportunity that is available. In addition, don't forget that interviewing is a two-way street. It is important that you take the time to ask enough questions to ensure that this company and the position it offers are what you want.

Finally, before you leave make sure to clarify what the next steps will be so you know when you can expect to hear further. Then thank the interviewer for his or her time.

Landing the right employment opportunity when you've been out of the workforce for a while is about marketing yourself based on all your abilities. Make sure the interviewer is aware of all the talents you have to offer.

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