- Resume gap
- Lack of references and recommendation
- Outdated skills
- No network
1. Don't mention it unless you're asked about it. Employers aren't supposed to ask about family responsibilities, but whether it's deliberate or not, talking about your family can lead to discrimination (#6), especially if you're a mother. I don't agree with the workplace taboo on talking about kids, but sometimes you have to play the game. While I believe motherhood can teach lots of valuable workplace skills, explaining this to an employer takes a lot more words than you can squeeze onto your resume.
2. This one is probably easier than it used to be, thanks to Facebook and LinkedIn. Try to connect with former colleagues and supervisors online if you haven't already done so. If you don't have any work or school history at all, think hard about who knows your capabilities, whether that's at church or your child's school or the board or your weekly club meeting.
3. There are lots of fields that are constantly changing--technology, medicine, accounting, the law...if you haven't been working in your field for a while, it's more than likely you've missed out on something. But if everyone else learned it, you can, too. Re-certify or take a class. Volunteer and ask if you can help with tasks where you're currently a bit rusty.
4. Networking is one of the best ways to find a job. "Look, world, I'm ready for work!" But it can be hard you've been spending more time in the laundry room than the board room and you don't know anyone who's in a position to hire new employees. So start going to events! If your industry has an association, go to its meetings. If your school has an alumni association, show up! Employment centers often also have group meetings. There are women's groups and networking groups and business groups that host big social events. The internet is your friend, so use it to look up some real-life friends who share your interests and/or work experience.
5. Not everyone who can't find work is a victim of discrimination, but sometimes it happens. If you've got family responsibilities, some people will question your ability to be a devoted employee. Sometimes it's not so obvious that you can combat it, either. You might be fighting an uphill battle if you're competing against people who don't have kids or who haven't taken any career breaks. But I think that if you're dedicated to finding your way back, your enthusiasm will make a difference. And while you may have other responsibilities, being a parent has taught you a few things about multi-tasking, meeting deadlines, negotiating, dealing with chaos, and focus. So while you might have to fight some stereotypes, you have some advantages, and parenthood will help you prove yourself to prospective employers.