In many ways, American life is beginning to return to normal with the CDC declaring that “students benefit from in-person learning” and most children returning to full-time school days. However, this means that many parents who were unemployed — either due to lay-offs or lack of child care — are now seeking full-time work again. And that, according to a recent FlexJobs survey of more than 500 job-seeking parents, is bringing its own set of challenges.
According to the survey, approximately 25% of parents left the workforce because they wanted to be a stay-at-home parent, while another 25% were forced due to the pandemic. An overwhelming 62% of those surveyed said their career goals have changed after spending time away from the workforce.
What Worries Parents Most About Returning to Work
According to the survey, 75% of parents returning to the workforce voiced concerns about finding the right job opportunities. “Finding a job with adequate pay” also ranked high on the list of worries, with 49% of parents voicing that as a concern. Meanwhile, 49% said they weren’t sure how to explain gaps on their resume, while 35% were worried about switching career fields.
Other concerns related to feeling out of the loop with the job-hunting and interview process included 34% saying they haven’t interviewed in a long time, 33% expressing fears of experiencing ageism during the job-seeking process, and 31% being out of date with their skills for today’s workforce.
Similarly, 24% felt they lacked the necessary experience — either to switch fields or to return to the workforce after a time as a stay-at-home parent. Some were even concerned with the process of marketing themselves, with 24% saying they had concerns about updating their resume and writing cover letters and 23% claiming they worried about updating or establishing an online presence, which is an important consideration to be competitive as a job candidate today.
“Even with the record high number of job openings in today’s economy, and other challenges that they may face in the job search process during a very stressful and uncertain time, it’s interesting that parents who want to join the workforce are most concerned about finding the right jobs to apply to,” said Sara Sutton, Founder & CEO of FlexJobs in a press release announcing the study. “These worries, of course, mirror the greater trend around the reported mismatch between high job openings and high unemployment.”
In July, a separate FlexJobs study found that 48% of jobseekers were not finding the right opportunities in the market.
In spite of these obstacles and concerns, the most recent survey showed that 66% of parents felt optimistic about their employment options for the next six months, while only 12% felt pessimistic and 22% had a neutral mindset.
Discover: How To Live Richer as a New Parent
Returning to the Workforce and Finding That Perfect Job Fit
Mindset means a lot when it comes to approaching any new endeavor. That positive attitude may help the majority of parents find that “perfect fit” job opportunity sooner rather than later. But having a plan in place is also crucial.
The FlexJobs report recommends setting 30-, 60- and 90-day goals, and remembering that the average job search can take three to six months. Your action steps should include updating your resume, networking and establishing a social media presence. At bare minimum, you should have a professional and robust LinkedIn profile, since 87%of recruiters use it to source candidates, according to FlexJobs.
As for that resume gap? Address it head-on, FlexJobs says. Restructure your resume to showcase your skills, and mention what you did during your “professional career break” to stay up to date. Did you learn new computer software? Take self-improvement courses? Volunteer in your community? It’s all resume fodder.
Whether you’re changing fields or returning to your career after a break, look for ways to spotlight “transferable skills” that you acquired in your old vocation or as a stay-at-home parent.
The way you present yourself to potential employers — such as using a hybrid resume to showcase your skills and developing your social media presence — has changed, but so has the way employers find workers. For instance, the upcoming Remote Work Virtual Job Fair hosted by FlexJobs on September 14, 2021 from 12pm-4pm ET will seek to connect jobseekers with top employers in a safe, virtual setting.
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Last updated: September 1, 2021