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Q  "Re-entering the job market"
After 16 years of putting my career on hold to stay at home and raise the children, I want to re-enter the job market. I have a BBA with a marketing major and was very successful with a major retailer then an insurance company before exchanging reports for diapers. Not hard you might say: many companies are realizing how valuable people like me can be. Well, there is one more item -- I am not the typical housewife because I am the the housedad. I am having a very difficult time, any help?

A  Whether you're a dad or a mom, the 16 years away from your specialty will make re-entry a challenge. Before you even consider interviewing, you need to identifiy and approach managers in the companies where you want to work with this goal: advice. Don't ask for a job. Ask for insight, opinions and suggestions on how you might be valuable to an employer.

Next, you need to demonstrate you're serious. I'm looking at this from the employer's standpoint: you've been "away" for 16 years, and you have some "proving" to do. If you must, volunteer to help out at a company where you really want to work but where you can't get hired. "Let me show you what I can do" might get you in the door. Offer to work for a week for no pay -- even if you don't get hired, you'll get grounded on what the work is all about today.

Please read my articles on Ask the Headhunter -- they'll give you an idea of how things have changed, and they'll give you an edge. You should also get a copy of my book -- either buy it or borrow it from your library. If you've raised kids, you can win a good job. Step by step.

By the way, don't spend any time in your interviews explaining how unusual it is for a man to raise kids for 16 years. I think it's great, but no one will want to hear it. Focus on the job at hand, and how you're going to do it profitably. That's what'll get you hired.

The Headhunter


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