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Asked by Carey on April 15, 2016

I have been a stay at home mother most of my life and I have no real job history. What should I do? Where do I start? I'm worried it looks bad too because I'm 27 years old...

Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on April 20, 2016

These are great questions.  But before we jump into that, please know, you are not alone.  You checked the boxes for Career Planning and Job Searching.  Good choices!  Plan the career, make the road map so you know where to reorient yourself if it gets hard. 

Ok, so here's what I would recommend.  It's research time.  Check out LinkedIn, check out the career pages of company's you are interested, follow the postings of people you think are in the field that you are suited for.  Become an expert in you.  Do you have leadership skills from being a stay at home parent?  I'm going to guess you do.  Do you have organizational skills managing your family?  Probably a big yes on that one too. Are there educational programs that can get you up to speed on some of the baseline skill sets necessary for your chosen field?  Programs in your community to help you get this kick started?  Do everything you can to stand out as someone who is serious about their future and is doing the work to prepare for it.

Now...what are you interested in?  Let people know about it!  There is nothing better than an information interview with someone in the field you are going after.  The pressure is off because it isn't a job interview, but you can ask questions about what they look for, learn more about the business and get comfortable in a setting you haven't been in before.  Also, if people know you are looking, they are more likely to think of you if a job opportunity comes up.  Maybe you didn't know your best friend's, aunt's, neighbor is the CFO of [INSERT THE NAME OF THE AWESOME COMPANY YOU WANT TO WORK FOR].  You will never know what you are fully capable of until you try it all.  Your future is out there, and the thing is, it's coming and there's no stopping it!  Way to be proactive and manage your own destiny. Best of luck to you!

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Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at Asurion, on April 21, 2016

The first step to preparing to enter the professional world is to build your resume. There are ways to build your resume without work experience. Try enrolling in a few online certifications to master Microsoft Suite. Also, try volunteering for an organization that relates to your field of interest. You may even consider joining a few organizations in the area related to your field of interest, so you can network with other professionals (never underestimate the power of a good network). All of these things can be added to your resume to show that even while a stay at home mom, you've been active in developing your skills and network. 

A cover letter is a great place to professionally state why you lack work experience and also why you're now interested in joining the workforce. Without oversharing, state these reasons on paper, so employers better understand your story. Staying at home with children is no easy task - be sure to state transferable skills in your cover letter to sell your best qualities!

Best of luck to you as you job search!  

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Answered by Megan, Hiring Expert at Archer Daniels Midland, on April 26, 2016

Hi!
Being a stay at home mom is a huge job, so do not sell yourself short on that! When forming your resume I would be sure to include anything you have been involved in during this time, which would include volunteering at the school, if you were involved in any committees, etc. showing any kind of involvement and willingness to lead will be looked at favorably by employers. In your cover letter you could explain that you have been a stay at home mom and the hard work that has gone into that, and why you are seeking out the particular job you are applying for.

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