Monday 17 October 2016

Stay at home dads: Tips for getting back to work

It may be a sign of the times that women’s and men’s roles in the household are beginning to merge, as shown by a drastic increase in the percentage of stay-at-home dads (SAHDs). According to recent polls and studies, the number of work-at-home dads who stay home full-time and act as caregivers to their children has doubled since 1970. Naturally the global economic crisis has largely contributed to this situation—with many mothers taking on the role of providing financially for their family (especially in cases where the husband has lost his job or is in the process of switching careers). And while the debate continues as to whether it is socially acceptable for mothers to pursue a career instead of being relegated at home full time to take care of their children, this same stigma has now attached itself to stay-at-home dads, who are finding it much harder than women to re-enter the job market after spending several years as caregivers due to social stigmas and false preconceptions. 

Dads who are looking for ways to work from home and contribute economically while taking care of the kids face several challenges, such as the stigma associated with stay-at-home fathers who may be viewed simply as lazy or irresponsible, and the backlashes of critics who insist that it is a ‘woman’s role.’ Regardless of their fallacious arguments which are no longer relevant in today’s fast-evolving society and in this enduring global economic recession (which has prompted both sexes to work ever harder to take care of their family’s needs), it is a fact that financial worries and rising costs of living are making it necessary for both moms and dads with young children to each have jobs.

There are many ways to help you boost your ego and forget these social stigmas, recognizing that there is a wide demographic of dads who share the same experience. It really is all about connectivity. Connect with other dads on networks and groups on social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Youtube, which are some of the major platforms that can help you contact other stay-at-home dads and even moms for advice. You can even create a group yourself. You will find many people in your exact situation who can help direct you to potential employers or even business opportunities. You may even decide to partner up with another dad in a new job or career, and it is also a great way to make new friends and in the process raise your self-esteem. 

LinkedIn in particular is the largest professional network among the social media sites, and has many tools that can help you in your job search. Connecting all your social media profiles is the number one rule, to ensure that you enhance your visibility and that any post you publish or share appears simultaneously on all your pages. Don’t forget that there are plenty of job aggregators and job search sites available like Jobrapido, which will direct you to the best resources that fit your listed skills. Through Jobrapido you can find part-time work in any part of the UK—whether you are looking for jobs in Middlesbrough or Bristol—and even full-time on-line opportunities.

Your CV and Resume are naturally your most important assets, so make sure that they are updated properly and in the correct format since many changes may have occurred since the last time you applied for a job. New social standards and professional regulations may require you to completely revamp your resume and this can be done with the help of the many resume builder/creator sites or individual professionals who do it for a living. 

Do not be shy in listing that you are a ‘stay-at-home’ dad on your resume, as long as you have acquired new skills or experience during that time. This includes any volunteer projects you performed, activism, as well as any special skill—for example working with children, which could boost your search for a job in the educational sector—or any other work-related activity like even redesigning the interior decor of your home if you have a career in construction. Any freelance-projects and online courses you followed or degrees you earned should always be included, especially if they show that you have continued your education in the job field. Membership in professional organizations is a major plus and should be definitely highlighted in your resume.

When you are ready for a job interview, remember to keep it honest. Do not be afraid of explaining your role as a stay-at-home dad and the necessities that prompted you and your family to make that decision. Honesty is the best policy and is always appreciated because employers will know they are dealing with someone whom they can trust.

*Written in collaboration with M.D

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