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Re-entering workforce after rearing children

PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2004 1:44 pm
by Christy Krupa
I have a Ph.D. in neuroscience and several years of post doc experience. I took off 8 years to rear my 3 children, but now that the youngest has entered kindergarten I am ready to look for a job again. I'm not interested in a high powered academic position, but would like a decent paying job that makes use of my scientific training and skills.
My questions are: what is the best way to account for this gap on my CV, and does anyone have any other advice for someone in my position reentering the workforce after an extended absence?

Re-entering workforce after rearing children

PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2004 5:45 pm
by Dave Jensen
Hi Christy,

Professional resume/CV readers have no problem spotting CV's in which people are trying to "cover up" their leave of absence. Therefore, it isn't even worth trying. The best thing to do is to clearly state the dates you've been at specific jobs, and in the cover letter mention that you are now returning to work after having children. Most people understand this situation!

The resumes which are "skills based" and which don't show all the proper dates, etc, are the ones that are so easily spotted. However, they are still used today by some people in your situation and you may consider using it. Still, you'll need to go over the details of your situation in any phone interview where someone contacts you after you've submitted a resume. You wouldn't want to try and continue the ruse at that point.

You don't mention what kind of jobs you are interested in. Sit down with a book like "What Color is Your Parachute?" by Bolles. Do some of the exercises there that help you identify your strengths, and then try and find a job that fits these. You enjoy writing about science? If so, consider a technical writer position with a pharma or biotech company. You like being with people and are reasonably articulate? If so, consider a home-based sales rep position calling on scientific labs for a manufacturer of reagents or instruments. Want to do bench science work in a more applied fashion? Look at a pharma company employer.

I guess a lot of the answer to the "what kind of job" question will be dictated by where you live and the employers in your region,

Dave Jensen, Moderator
CareerTrax Inc.

Re-entering workforce after rearing children

PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 3:59 pm
by Linda
I agree with Dave that the "skills-based" resume is best avoided. It's too time-consuming to try to sift through resumes that don't give a clear, coherent linear progression of what someone did when and where, and they end up on the bottom of the pile. I'd also add that you're probably right not to look for a "high-powered" position right away, as you will certainly need some transition time to get back into the workforce, and potential employers likely will not view you as someone who can hit the ground running anyway.

Re-entering workforce after rearing children

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 3:53 pm
by Jennifer
Hi, Christy,
Here is a link to a \"re-entry\" supplemental grant offered through the NIH. You\'ll need to find a sponsor with an R01 or similar grant to apply. Hope this helps.

Re-entering workforce after rearing children

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 5:46 pm
by Rob
In line of Jennifer's may want to read the guidelines for a K01 award offered by many of the NIH centers/institutes. This particular career development mechanism can be, in certain centers/institutes, used to foster the development of indivduals who may have been out of hte academic workforce to specifically deal with rearing kids or for medical/family related reasons. It requires a mentor with a solid track record...but is independent of hte mentors own R01 type awards. It is an excellent mechanism!

Good luck.

Re-entering workforce after rearing children

PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2005 11:46 am
by Paul
Jennifer's link to that grant is great! Money always makes things easy. Make sure you include that funding sorce as something you will be aplying to on your cover letter.

As you have been out for 8 years you will need to do a PostDoc. Call your old adviser and anyone you can think of who is still in the field and tell them you are back. Ask them if they have any conections to people near you (I'm guessing you do not want to move?). Your network can get you in the door. If you have no real contacts, I would look up PIs local to you and then ask for some time to "get advice" from them. Tell them of your situation and see what they have to say. I bet that you will get some very good leads this way and you may even find someone who takes an intrest in your past work.

Good Luck!