11 Tips for Stay-at-Home Parents Going Back to Work

Calendar Icon
July 22, 2022
Edited by
Clock Icon
min read

Over the past few years, you’ve done one of the most important yet sometimes underappreciated jobs out there — raising another human. Now you’re ready for your second act. You’re ready to jumpstart your career and dive back into the workforce. Where do you start, and how do you explain the gap in work? Here are job search tips for parents reentering the workforce. 

1. Give Your Resume a Refresh 

Though it may have been several years since you’ve been in the workforce and the job landscape has changed, having a resume and cover letter are still crucial to scoring a new job. Before diving into your job search, take some time to spruce up your resume and give it a refresh. 

Include the following:

  • Your skills
  • Your education
  • Any certifications
  • Volunteer work
  • Freelance or contract work

Now, the elephant in the room. Should you put on your resume that you’re a stay-at-home parent or not? Some people suggest avoiding this unless it’s relevant to the job. On the other hand, it could clearly explain any gaps in the workforce and you can describe your day-to-day duties that are applicable to future jobs. 

For example, these might include:

  • Managing multiple schedules and shifting priorities
  • Maintaining a budget 
  • Communicating process changes
  • Serving as a liaison between school, sports and medical appointments

If your skills as a parent are directly relevant to the job, consider adding them to your resume. If not, you can explain the gap in your resume and time as a stay-at-home parent in your cover letter. Need extra help with your resume? Teal has done the heavy lifting for you to get your resume in shape with the AI Resume Builder tool.

2. Join LinkedIn or Refresh Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is the go-to social media platform for job seekers and those looking to connect with others. Put up a nice headshot, outline your experience and skills and tell people you’re #OpenToWork. Connect with your peers and colleagues and start your professional networking online.  

3. Volunteer in Your Community 

Volunteering your precious free time may already be a part of your routine. If not, it can be a way to meet others and gain additional skills. Whether it’s volunteering for the PTA or through an organization using VolunteerMatch.org, you can connect with others who may help with the job search by providing valuable referrals, training or insights. 

4. Connect With Your Friend Group

Your group chat isn’t just for sharing inside jokes or catching up on the latest news. Reentering the workforce can be scary if it’s been a long time. To make it easier, get support from your friends and also let them know what types of jobs you’re looking for so they can be on the lookout if they hear of any opportunities that could be a good fit for you. 

5. Reconnect With Your Former Colleagues

The employees from your former life know you and your skills and abilities. Trading a 9-to-5 for being a stay-at-home parent doesn’t discount your previous professional experience or your relationships. Reconnect with people at your old job and see if you can get coffee, one-on-one. Let them know you’re on the lookout for new opportunities. 

6. Join Your College’s Alumni Association

If you graduated college, it’s likely you or your parents spent a pretty penny on your education. To maximize your investment, join your college’s alumni association and connect with others who may help you on your professional journey. 

7. Attend Local or Online Events

Reentering the workforce after being a stay-at-home parent may mean building up your professional contacts from scratch. That can feel intimidating, but it can also be an exciting opportunity to meet people and learn new things. 

Start by attending local events in your community about topics of interest or related to your field. Make Google your friend and search [city + field of interest + event]. And with the power of technology, there are many online Zoom events you can check out without leaving your home. 

A few places to look include:

8. Join Relevant Communities

You can join Facebook groups that offer support and advice about career transition, salary and negotiation. Here are a few:

There’s also a free Ladies Get Paid community membership to connect with thousands of other women. Ellevate Network is a similar community. These hyper-connected communities can be a springboard and connect you to the best jobs for moms reentering the workforce.

9. Identify What You Want in a Job 

Finding jobs after a break can feel like starting over. Though it may have been a while, you have valuable skills and abilities and want to find a job that fits your lifestyle and helps you navigate the next stage of your career. 

Here are five questions to ask:

  1. What field best matches your education and experience?
  2. What job do you think would be a good fit for your talents, skills, and abilities?
  3. What type of job do you need to maintain your lifestyle, family commitments, and grow your career?
  4. Do you want to work full-time or part-time?
  5. What type of role or company culture are you most excited about?

Answering these questions above can help you decide what keywords to look for, what types of opportunities you’re open to and where to network. 

Also, let’s not downplay that looking for a job can be a job in and of itself. You can streamline this process and have it all in one place with Teal's Job Application Tracker

10. Consider a Returnship

“Returnship” programs are geared specifically to caregivers who are looking for jobs after a break. These programs are similar to what you might think of as an internship but are paid opportunities that can provide much-needed training and support and help smooth the transition. 

To get connected with returnship programs, you can check out:

Returnships can serve as a stepping stone and be some of the best jobs for moms reentering the workforce. 

11. Know Your Worth

Don’t sell yourself short when it comes to salary. Your experience as a stay-at-home-parent can translate into many valuable skills for employers. 

In fact, if it were a paid job with a salary, you’d be earning more than six figures for all that you do. According to Salary.com, if stay-at-home moms were compensated for everything they do, their annual salary would be a whopping $184,820. 

Get Started 

Looking for jobs after a break can be overwhelming. You’re giving up one job for another and it’s a completely different field. While reentering the workforce can be challenging, there are many ways to get support, network with others, and receive career help. Get started with Teal to help you manage your job search and elevate your career. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can stay-at-home parents address the employment gap in their resume?

Stay-at-home parents can address the employment gap by highlighting the skills they've developed during their time at home, such as multitasking, time management, and problem-solving. They should also consider including volunteer work, freelance projects, or any part-time work they did during that period. It's important to be honest and positive, framing the gap as a period of growth and learning.

What are some effective networking strategies for stay-at-home parents returning to work?

Effective networking strategies include reaching out to former colleagues and employers, attending industry events and workshops, and joining professional social media groups or online communities. Stay-at-home parents should also consider informational interviews to learn more about current industry trends and to make new connections. Utilizing platforms like LinkedIn to showcase their skills and reconnect with the professional world can also be beneficial.

How can stay-at-home parents prepare for job interviews after a long break?

Stay-at-home parents can prepare for job interviews by researching the company and the role they're applying for, practicing common interview questions, and preparing to articulate how their time at home has equipped them with relevant skills for the job. They should also consider doing mock interviews with friends or family to build confidence and to receive feedback on their interview technique.

Melanie Lockert

Melanie Lockert is the founder of the blog and author of the book, Dear Debt. Through her blog, she chronicled her journey out of $81,000 in student loan debt. Her work has appeared on Business Insider, VICE, Allure, and more.

We help you find
the career dream.