Today I’m thrilled to have a guest post from the very awesome Pamela Price of Red, White, and Grew and How to Work and Homeschool. Her first book, How to Work and Homeschool, has just been published by Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Press. Her topic of working while homeschooling has been one of intense interest to me (as seen in my review of her book), and this post on how to find a job while homeschooling is of even more interest to me, as I’ve been trying to do just that for the last six months. Enjoy.
By Pamela Price
Although many families are turning to homeschooling while the parents continue their existing jobs and careers, there are far more parents (primarily mothers) who seek to find a part- or full-time job after having homeschooled exclusively for several years. In most instance their children are older and are therefore more independent and self-directed in their studies, or the kids have left the proverbial nest altogether.
Sometimes these veteran homeschoolers wish to return to an old career path; other times they may want to give some thought to changing fields. For parents in this situation, it’s beneficial to employ tried-and-true job search techniques. Yes, if you ever used your college career center, then this material will sound familiar.
If you’re in this situation now–or anticipate being in it down the road, I’ve designed a series of steps to get you started.
Step 1: Conduct an Inventory
The first task that you will want to undertake is a personal skills inventory or assessment. For this, you will want to brainstorm a list of hard and soft skills that you have used in your lifetime. Hard skills include knowledge and use of office or other specialized equipment. Soft skills describe communication and other interpersonal interaction abilities.
Yes, you may include examples from homeschooling (“organized and implemented an annual action plan”). However, I suggest that you look to your previous academic and/or professional career for supporting evidence, too. That is not to devalue your homeschool experience one iota. When I was a career adviser, I always encouraged people to look for multiple examples of their skills claims. Doing so makes your case–on your resume and in an interview–more convincing.
Consider asking a trusted friend or you partner to review your list to see if there are other strengths, skills, and abilities that you should include. You may be overlooking a wonderful attribute, quality, or skill that enhances your marketability.
Step 2: Connect Your Skills Set With a Job Title
The second task involves outlining the 3 or 4 occupations that interest you. You’ll want to do some research into the availability of those jobs in your area and–if you plan to continue homeschooling–whether or not they mesh well with your family’s lifestyle. Generally speaking, jobs that allow telecommuting, are entirely web-based, and/or have flexible hours work best for homeschool parents. (For more on this specific topic, see Chapter 4 of my book.)
At this stage, you’ll also want double-check your skills set against the skills in job listings for your target occupations. Do you meet the minimum qualifications? Do you have skills that will transfer readily from other occupations or your life as a homeschooler? If not, do you have the time, money, and/or energy to meet those minimums? Will one of the jobs, perhaps a part-time occupation, help you get a more desirable job down the road? These kinds of questions will give you some idea which jobs are best suited for you in the near run while also helping you start to think about your longer term career.
Step 3: Put it in Writing
The third task is to draft a resume that reflects your skills, abilities, education, and work experience. There are many templates available online that you can tinker with, and you may find templates in your computer’s word processing program. Once you are satisfied with the resume, send a copy to people from whom you seek to get a reference and invite them to provide feedback. This is a nice way to segue into the actual application process, since in some instances your professional references may be able to help you plug back into the working world.
Don’t forget social media tools either! For most fields, a LinkedIn account is a respected way to promote one’s skills, abilities, and even one’s desire to find work.
Step 4: Get Your Name Out There
Look in classified ads, online job search engines, and even your college and community career centers. Remember, however, that most people find a job through someone they know–which is why it is essential to start networking with contacts.
Patience in the job search, as with homeschooling, is vital. More often than not, a job search takes several months.
Yet if you’ve homeschooled a kid or two, then chances are you’ve practiced a fair amount of patience in recent years. You’re more than capable of waiting out the job search process.
Pamela Price is a former academic and career advisor who, much to her surprise, became a homeschooling freelance writer and consultant. Her first book, How to Work and Homeschool: Practical Advice, Tips, and Strategies from Parents (GHF Press, 2013), is available in print and electronic formats on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com. For more information, see HowtoWorkandHomeschool.com and the book’s Facebook page.