This blog was contributed by Sarah Watson who aspires to help women navigate the journey of raising kids and having a career.

Are your kids are at school now, or perhaps they’ve flown the nest? Life for the Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) changes radically when the kids aren’t around all the time. SAHMs are used to the full-time hours (and then some!) of taking care of the family. When those hours and responsibilities are cut, it’s easy to feel at a loose end.

Chances are you’ve grown accustomed to your lifestyle over the years. Sure, you missed the girls in the office at first. But you made great friends with other moms and found new interests and routines with your children. Parenting has been a wonderful experience, and you’re so glad you took the time away from your career to enjoy that. It’s been beneficial for your partner, your kids, and you. Is now really the best time to make the move back to work? And how on earth, after all these years, can you secure full-time employment?

Proud Of Your Choices

Never apologize for the choices you’ve made. Leaving work to raise your family was certainly no sacrifice, and it was absolutely the right decision for you all. Be proud of that and own it. If a recruitment agency, career consultant or employer ask you what you’ve been doing recently, make sure your answer is clear and positive.

The job of a parent is varied and demanding. The role of mother is a career choice full of challenges and continuing professional development in your field. Never underestimate how much you have achieved. You’ve managed countless projects, recruited help for a number of challenging activities, and you’ve personally raised beautiful kids that are destined for great things. The list goes on and on.

What You Have That Employers REALLY Want

Now that list is about to get really long. You have tenacity, patience, and the ability to manage emergencies with a calm head. You’re commanding when you need and you have proven your skills at motivating others. Parents are very productive people and go the extra mile to deliver incredible service to their little ones. You find ways to calm challenging situations, and you’ve never given up on your work once. You also have the ability to multi-task and work under pressure – what parent doesn’t?

You might feel that your previous career is irrelevant these days. Technology moves on, and working practices change. You can make everything that came before relevant for any work situation today. Just like your parenting skills and experience, it can all apply. Supervising and managing others is applicable. Managing customer data, customer inquiries, and providing customer satisfaction is also important. It doesn’t matter that you did it by snail mail instead of email, or you actually spoke on the phone instead of tweeting.

What You Can Do To Make Your Resume Sparkle

Have you considered any short courses in contemporary business solutions? If you have social media management or online customer services qualifications under your belt, you become a desirable candidate for many jobs. Many of these courses take just a few hours online whenever you’ve got some spare time. Look for accredited qualifications that offer a certificate.

You may have put your career on hold for a while, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch up with your professional development ahead of any job application. After all, it’s good to have the most current courses and seminars on your resume. You might be a step ahead of the recruiter and possibly anyone else applying for the job. It’s worth playing catch-up now so you can be up-to-date and ready. Any training and study you do now will also boost your confidence and help you believe in yourself. You are ready for anything!

Where Are All The Jobs?

If you’re keen to get started and keen to stay employed, then look for job areas that are always looking for new recruits. Healthcare is forever expanding as the population ages and grows. It’s not a sector that is likely to lose popularity or currency. Don’t panic if you haven’t got a medical background. There are thousands of different jobs, from insurance to care homes. If you have your CPC, you could stand head and shoulders above other candidates looking to get into these roles. Certification in medical coding is a growing career field in great demand.

Technology and Communications career growth continues. As developing industries, more and more interesting positions are opening up.

Preparing Your Application

Don’t use a resume that’s out of date. Always prepare a fresh one for each job application. Customizing the content to make it as relevant to the employer and the job is essential. Study the role and the requirements carefully and input the details that meet them.

Be prepared to go the extra mile with each application. Include your LinkedIn profile address and email address. Don’t leave huge gaps in dates. Fill them with relevant experience (yes, your parenting duties are definitely relevant.) Any projects or help you’ve offered to charitable or community organizations should also be listed.

Preparing For Your Interview

Dress for the job you want. A clean and professional appearance is still the ideal look for interviewees.  Recruiters, rightly or wrongly, have expectations of what their ideal candidate looks like. Dress to impress.

Preparing To Start Work

Your first day of work is likely to turn your stomach. Everyone is nervous on their first day, regardless of how long they’ve been away from work. Start early, and take your time. Getting flustered from rushing won’t do you any good. Eat a good breakfast, drink plenty of water, and make sure you try and remember the names of the people you meet.

Loving Your New Lifestyle

With any new job comes a new lifestyle. This can be a big change and can be quite stressful. Treat yourself to relaxing therapies and few treats to celebrate your first week. Good luck with your SAHM transition back to the work force!