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'Stay-at-Home' Mom Status Killing Job Prospects?

A reader wonders if there's any point in looking for work anymore. What advice would your give her?


I am a good programmer - 12 years stable employment. I came home after my second son was born. Three years ago to be exact. I trained every year. I wrote code for fun, not for pay.

I seem to have the job version of the plague. Recruiters burn up the phone lines to talk to me after reading my skill set. Then, they blow me off once they find out I am a stay-at-home mom.

I need to go back to work. And frankly, this is really depressing. I may need a coach just to keep me from quitting the search. No one wants to even interview me. They just call then blow me off once they hear I have been out of the market.

Is the market that bad or is being at home really the plague?

My response: Without hearing an actual conversation between you and a recruiter, it's hard to say your stay-at-home mom status is the reason for not getting the in-person interview. That being said, in today's economy, hiring managers do feel they can afford to find the "right" candidate - and that can include someone who they will be flexible with respect to time on-the-job. You mention that they burn up the phone to speak with you. Something on your resume must be catching their eye. Start by figuring out what it is. Then, consider ways you can discuss how you've kept that hot skill set current during the last three years. I'm guessing when they hear you've not been working full-time as a programmer that your skills are now soft. It's up to you to prove they aren't! Also, don't be afraid to stress how much you look forward to going back to a full-time job. Be proactive in order to dispel and concerns about you not wanting to leave the children, etc. If they hear you are anxious to be working, that can help. As far as getting a coach, I highly recommend it. Staying motivated on a job search in this economy is not easy! You can read blogs (like this one!) and attend events, but honestly, what you really need is someone you can vent to and get feedback from that can keep you focused and positive. Friends and family are not the right people for this - they are biased and often give poor advice. So, yes, consider getting professional career help - it can make a huge difference! J.T. O’Donnell is the founder of CAREEREALISM.com and CEO of CareerHMO.com, a web-based career development company. Photo credit: Shutterstock