Moms can face the stress of job hunting

The growing economy has been encouraging large numbers of women to face something potentially very scary – job hunting. It may be for financial reasons, because the children are all in school or have flown the nest or simply because someone is seeking a new challenge. Whatever the reason, looking for that full or part-time job can be stressful, especially if it’s been a number of years since they’ve been in the workforce.

But there are ways to reduce the stress of that job search, and it can even be an interesting and rewarding experience if approached feeling prepared and confident. Here are some suggestions on how to make that happen.

Start by doing a self interview and taking inventory. Job seekers should consider the activities with which they have been involved over the years and the skills developed. Do some skills need updating or polishing? What things are they good at and which ones are enjoyable?

Update that resume. Check the bookstore or library for resume writing guides or look online for tips. Check out the U.S. Department of Labor website, www.dol.gov, for links to federal or state labor offices that can offer advice and assistance. Once their resume is written, they should keep it handy and don’t be shy about handing out copies.

Make contacts. Look for workshops offered by local business groups or state agencies. Join committees or do volunteer work with the local school, library, church or synagogue. Such activities can be enjoyable and teach new skills, but as importantly, they provide valuable networking contacts. Often the best job opportunities come not from the local “help wanted” pages, or websites, but from people in their daily life.

Think outside the box. Just because someone once worked in retail or were a secretary doesn’t mean that’s all they can do now. Examine any personal growth and interests. Consider not just convenient jobs, but consider work that would be truly challenging and interesting. Have self-confidence, and employers will believe in their new hire also.

Yes, that first job interview can be nerve-wracking. But it’s also a learning experience and good preparation for interviews number two or three.

The key is simply to prepare as well as possible and to consider carefully both what a job seeks wants to do and what they do well. Make job hunting an exciting and rewarding experience, and it will lead to fulfilling work.

Counseling Corner is provided by the American Counseling Association. Send comments and questions to [email protected] or visit the ACA website at www.counseling.org.

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