Today, more and more women are returning to the job market. There are a number of key issues you will face and this will help you get started.
Today, more and more women are returning to the job market. Some do so after 3 or 4 years of being a homemaker and mother, others after 10 to 15 years, and some after more than 25 years.
When searching for a job for the first time in a while, there are a number of key problems which people face. The first is that very few understand where to begin or how to market themselves in today's job market.
Secondly, a more fundamental concern to many women involves some basic questions as to the types of jobs for which they are qualified. The purpose of this discussion is to introduce you to some fresh thinking about marketing yourself into a new career.
Each of us fills many roles in a lifetime. Yours may be about to change. For a number of years now, you have functioned as a mother and homemaker. Gradually, the time required of you to fill those roles has diminished, until you now find yourself asking, "What will I do with the rest of my life?"
That question will lead to others once your thoughts turn to the search for work.
- "Who will hire me?"
- "What kind of work would I be able to do in a business setting?"
- "Would I have to start at the bottom?"
- "How do I get started?"
To answer these questions you need to identify your own skills and the contributions you might make to a potential employer. However, just by virtue of being a homemaker and mother, you have already qualified for a number of positions. Let's look at some skills you might possess.
Operator ... Administrator ... Planner... Scheduler ... and Coordinator
Chances are you have some experience as an operator, administrator, planner, scheduler, and coordinator. Every week all of the people in your household have to be at certain places at prescribed times. They have to be fed, clothed, housed and transported. Constantly fresh supplies of consumable items have to be ready when they are needed.
If the above sounds suspiciously like the operation of any service organization, from a restaurant chain to a health service to a rental car agency then take it for what it is. The functions are the same. You just haven't been doing it for a profit.
Inventory Control... Purchasing ... Budgeting
Of course you probably understand already that you have some experience at inventory control and purchasing, not to mention budgeting. Whether or not you handle the family checkbook, you are certainly aware of the payables and receivables.
Consider the amount of food, clothing and other items that you keep track of, with responsibility, right from initial specifications to time and cost of replacement. If anyone doubts the alternatives involved here, let him devote the better part of Saturday morning to effective shopping for groceries in a large supermarket.
The choices available on almost any item would be overwhelming for a newcomer to our society. Multiply the process involved in just one selection by one or two hundred, and you have some example of the purchasing and budgeting considerations involved.
Next, let's turn to the personal side.
Motivator ... Teacher ... Trainer... Counselor ... Negotiator
By definition, you are a motivator, teacher, trainer, counselor and negotiator. There is probably no greater responsibility in the world than to mold a human mind and spirit. In doing that, you have imparted values, brought out determination and enthusiasm in your children, and provided the emotional support necessary to your husband in difficult situations.
You have trained your family not only in whatever duties they were expected to perform, but also in how to handle life's situations, both good and bad Teaching, training and motivating are important functions in any business. Sometimes they are needed in a Personnel Department. Other times they are required in sales, manufacturing or operations.
Talk with any president of a company, and ask him how much importance he attaches to the teaching, training and motivating that goes on in his organization. Nine out of ten will rate these functions high on any scale.
Please remember, too, that employers hire people not only for their past experience, but also for the personal qualities they bring to the organization.
Persistence ... Loyalty... Work Ethic ... Goal Orientation
In your case, you have already demonstrated the qualities of persistence, loyalty, a dedicated work ethic, and a goal-oriented perspective. You can project yourself as flexible, energetic, enthusiastic and, undoubtedly, a quick learner.
Even if you knew nothing about a person's business, the fact that you possess these characteristics would indicate that you could be a valuable contributor.
The market value of volunteer work
Perhaps you have done some volunteer work. If so, this would have involved still another cluster of talents. The communicator the persuader the fund raiser the writer the project manager the expert in community relations. Have you played any of these roles at one time or another? The parallels between a volunteer organization and a for-profit corporation are striking. Only terminology sets the two apart.
One talks about profit, the other talks about a surplus. One talks about sales, the other talks about contributions or income received from promotions. One talks about efficient operations, and the other talks about a highly effective volunteer force that got the job done.
If you have been effective in volunteer work, then you have done it because you've combined your planning, scheduling and coordinating abilities with skills you possess on the human side. That's what is required to successfully guide a project from creation right through to completion.
You may have recruited and trained others, motivated them to do whatever had to be done to achieve goals, and promoted your cause to those who might at first have been disinterested. You may have also planned and coordinated the activities of a number of people, made sure that they were all geared toward the same goal, and that each played their role as expected. You had to monitor progress and make changes as required in order to meet those goals.
You were in fact doing exactly what a project manager does in business, and a project manager does just what a general manager does. The difference rests mainly with the fact that a project manager normally operates under tighter time pressures. Even if you played only a minor role in these activities, you may have administered and managed information and the efforts of others.
Most of the jobs in industry and commerce represent the same thing - administering the handling of information and communicating clearly to other parts of the organization or to important outsiders. You may have dealt with donors, volunteers, sponsors, participants and recipients.
In business the categories are customers, suppliers, department managers, shareholders, board members, inspectors, regulators and the local community. The functions are the same. The dynamics of interaction are the same. Only the names vary.
The skills you have already demonstrated are the same skills needed by companies to manage their affairs, administer their operations, sell their products and make the organizations profitable. The exact title you hold, and the precise type of company in which you make your contributions are secondary to your finding a situation where your talents and personal characteristics can make significant contributions.
Types of positions for homemakers
In recent years the vast majority of new jobs being created have been in small to medium size businesses. However, most large corporations also continue to recruit regularly because of normal turnover.
Here are just a few of the positions won by women who were returning to the market after raising a family. Scanning the list might give you some idea of the diversity of options open to you.
- Manager, Personnel & Administration
- Medical Assistant
- Territory Manager
- Health Facilities Manager
- Assistant Marketing Manager
- Production Coordinator
- Account Manager
- Graphics Coordinator
- Buyer/Media Buyer
- Director of Customer Relations
- Assistant Contract Administrator
- Office Services Administrator
- Employment Counselor
- Association Management
- Internal Operations Consultant
- Sales Representative or Director
- Assistant Public Relations Manager
- Operations Analyst
- Production Scheduler
- Assistant to the President
- Fund Raiser
- Assistant Manager of Displays
- Director of Customer Service
- Sales Marketing Trainee
- Consumer Affairs Manager
- Executive Secretary
- Personal Computer Operator
- Office Manager
- Educational Assistant
- Director of Training
Certainly this is not an all-inclusive list. There are hundreds of other specific jobs which homemakers have taken and which have enabled them to begin to grow in their careers again. Regardless of the level at which they started, more and more women have been advancing their careers in our organizational world.
What is most important when you look for a new job after raising a family? A primary consideration is that you need to understand your options, and then you need to market yourself in an intelligent manner. This is precisely where our professional assistance or our professional job search products can be of help. For information on how we can help you market yourself into a new job, please feel free to call or write for more information.