Valley Works: Stay-at-home moms

FRESNO, California

People will tell you raising children is a full time job, but the question for many stay at home moms is how to take all that they do and translate it into skills that can get them a job outside the home.

Even though Darlene Perez had a very diverse work background before taking some time to be a homemaker, she needs help getting back into the workplace. Darlene turned to Career Coach Susan Whitcomb.

Whitcomb said, "I think everybody can benefit from a career coach because everybody can benefit from hearing and confirming the strength that they have, the value that they have."

For Darlene, who had worked in retail sales and real estate before staying home, it was the realization that the economy has changed the way we work.

Perez said, "And that's where I want to be strategic and savvy and get as much information and network to give me those building block to succeed in this new job market."

Whitcomb, who has written many books on career development says she first tries to get clients like Darlene to determine what they want out of a job, is it just a paycheck.

Whitcomb said, "I think people, if they have more of a purpose associated with that paycheck it gives them much more determination to go out there and work every day."

Another important step is identifying and learning how to market your skills.

Whitcomb explained, "The mom who has been home with kids and has been helping with the school carnival and putting that together that is project management."

Whitcomb says it's also important for homemakers to reconnect to the workplace through professional groups and people they may have worked with in the past.

Whitcomb said, "Make it more relationship, not I need a job, so that would be the way, professional organizations are key as well."

Darlene says having the objective input from Whitcomb is helping her better understand just what it will take to start a new career.

"You're not necessarily going to be in that dream job at least not now," Perez said. "It's not going to be perfect maybe right now but it's something you can build up to."

Whitcomb says if you've worked in the home, be prepared to answer the question "what have you been doing the last eight or so years" by focusing on your skills and training opportunities.

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