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Stay-At-Home-Mom Returning to the Workforce

by Joan
(North Carolina)

I've been a stay-at-home mom since 1996. I graduated from a dental assisting school in 2006 (as a hopeful lead-in to hygiene but did not get accepted). I am not certified in dental assisting. I completed a partial distance learning curriculum for medical transcription and had chronic neck difficulty sitting at the pc for extended periods and was quite isolated.

I was an accounting clerk at a hotel and was a travel agent before the internet hit the industry and commissions were reduced drastically. In short I have not worked full-time since 1996, but I'm trying to keep current with technology (took a MS office course but not exercised it fully except for the word programs).

What advice can you offer?

I would ideally like to work in a dental office in a non-clinical capacity (clerical, patient coordinator, etc) and have landed some interviews but not secured a job. They are few and far between.

I find your site quite helpful but have not found advice on re-entering the work force after more than 15 years. I have included in my resume my job as a mom and the multitasking roles that I provide as an entity in itself.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Mike Petras comments:

Hello Joan-

Thanks for your email. Your focus on dental assisting is great. Congratulations on graduating from dental assisting school in 2006. You don't share why you weren't certified. Is being certified a "must have" requirement to get a job in this field?

The reason I ask this is because you seem to really be interested in this field. You obviously invested a lot of time and money into your schooling for good reasons. If your certification is the only thing holding you back from your chosen career, you should definitely push to see how you can complete this one last thing.

FYI--10% of all jobs today are in the medical field. This is a stable, growing area that would provide you with dependable employment despite the shaky economy. It also would allow you to work around your neck difficulties because you'd be moving around a lot and not confined to sitting all day. Also, you would be working in a professional work environment with your weekends free, and reasonable work hours.

So don't give up on your dental assistant role.

For non-dental assistant positions, the best way to re-enter the work force is to think about why companies would be reluctant to hire a mom returning to the workforce; then, make statements on your resume that neutralize these fears.

For example:

  1. Possible fear: You're behind on technology and they would have to invest a lot of time and money into training you.

    Your strategy: List on your resume the level of your competency for computer skills + any recent formal training: Proficient in MS Word; Expert in Power Point. Completed formal Quickbooks training at Phoenix University, fall 2010, with 4.0 grade. If your computer skills are average to below average, enroll in online computer training courses. They're not that expensive and even if you haven't completed your courses, you can indicate on your resume that you are currently enrolled in computer classes for these specific programs.

  2. Possible fear: Lacking the current skills to meet the requirements of the job.

    Your strategy: Tailor your resume to each specific job you apply for to show you meet or exceed their minimum hiring requirements.

  3. Possible fear: Lacking the stamina/patience to work with adult team members in a demanding work environment.

    Your strategy: Show how your work in associations, groups, volunteer organizations, or home making planning/execution translates into the workplace.

Lastly...view your stay-at-home-mom time as a very positive career phase for you. You definitely had your priorities in the right place.

I've spoken to lots of career women who now regret having put their career ambitions over their family time. You can never get time back with your kids. So this was a very wise decision, and you now are in the right frame of mind to focus on your career.

Project to employers that you are hard working, a quick learner, and willing to make sacrifices to help them succeed.

In the end, all companies want to hire people who are easy to manage, hard working, honest, and will help them solve their problems. These are two-thirds of the reasons why people are hired.

You have a lot of potential and you should land a promising position soon. Good luck with your search.

Mike Petras

P.S. If you, or someone you care about, has been unemployed for 6 months...or new book could provide you the breakthrough you've been praying for.

Click on this link to read the introductory chapter, the table of contents, and watch a short video on what makes this book different:

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Nov 02, 2015
by: Melania Deforest

I hope to see more articles in future.

Sep 05, 2012
Scared to try
by: Mary

Ok Im hoping you can help me!! I have been a stay home mom for 21 years raising my three children from 20 yrs old 14 years old and a nine year old, I am so fearful to return to the workforce but desperately need to!! I have zero confidence and becoming so depressed because I can't past my fear of rejection, I really need the extra income with a son in a very expensive Catholic school. But mostly because I feel I need this for my self esteem. I was a legal secretary but no longer interested in this field. As a matter a fact Im not really sure what I like to do anymore. It's been a lifetime ago since I focused on myself. Any advice woul be so helpful....Thanks

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