Tania Jaffe, 42
With a few key upgrades, a mom might go from schoolyard to skyscraper.
Fifteen years ago, she quit her teaching job to raise a family. A move to the suburbs, two kids, and countless hours of volunteer work later, she has no regrets about her choice. But she's getting divorced, and with her son off to college in four years and her daughter in six, she sees returning to work as both a financial and social necessity.
What she's looking for:
Tania wants to leverage her intensive volunteering in her kids' public schools—where she raised money for events, revamped the school website, wrote and designed a monthly PTA newsletter, and ultimately managed 13 people as coordinator of after-school programs—to find a job in education or healthcare. She'd love the flexibility to occasionally work from home until her kids have both graduated. "I could see myself in a corporate office," says Tania. "Then again...I could see myself working independently. I would also entertain a part-time job that would eventually lead to full-time."
STEP 1: CAREER
Collamer, who specializes in moms reentering the workforce, says Tania shouldn't apologize for staying home: "Employers want to hire people who feel good about the decisions they've made." Besides, Tania's volunteer work is extremely impressive. ("Just think, when someone's actually paying you, what you're going to be able to produce for them!" says Collamer.) She advises Tania to start a personal file of positions on job aggregating websites like Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com that sound appealing, even if she doesn't apply; this will help her figure out her ideal job. She also needs to clear her schedule of volunteer work and focus full-time on her job search (at least 15 hours a week).
Résumé expert Fletcher repositions each of Tania's volunteer projects as a full-time job and highlights her impact. Because her professional work history is short, Fletcher includes glowing quotes from PTA colleagues.
See Tania's transformation