Ask the Recruiter is a regular feature. We answer questions we receive from active candidates, those considering making a change or those in active transition. Send your questions to SelfPerspective.
I have been out of the workforce for more than nine years to start and raise a family. For 15 years I was a highly successful Managing Director for a public relations consultancy that specialized in helping non-profits raise money through major events. I have an undergraduate degree from an Ivy League school, and an MBA from one of the top graduate schools in the country. Now that my children are older, I am more than ready to re-enter the labor pool but I am concerned about the reception I will receive given the length of my stay-at-home mom status and the large number of people who were laid off in the Great Recession and have yet to find another job? What strategy should I pursue?
If there was ever a career that is “forgiving” of a prolonged family leave, this is it. Unlike working in a specialized field requiring current technical or market expertise, or a nice “rolodex” of potential customers, this field allows you to ease back in — by volunteering for a local charity, church or school. There are tons of event planners but very few that are in the top tier of performance and results. These are the people who know how to use limited budgets to maximize impact — and financial return. They posses a superior innate sense of style, savvy, judgment and a personality that can meld varied egos. Volunteering allows you an opportunity to showcase that talent once again. If you haven’t lost the touch, and you are in or near a major market like Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston or New York — word will get around.
As you work on volunteer projects, begin renewing old contacts — clients and vendors — from your pre-kids years to share with them your volunteer successes. This is a potentially lucrative field, and the real stars of the industry are prized. In healthcare, these skilled professionals are becoming more important as providers turn with a growing sense of urgency to use philanthropy and special fundraising events to supplement shrinking reimbursement for capital projects.
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