Ask HR: What Are Some Tips for a Stay-at-Home Parent Starting a Job Search?

By Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP December 2, 2022
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Ask HR: What Are Some Tips for a Stay-at-Home Parent Starting a Job Search?

SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, is answering HR questions as part of a series for USA Today.

Do you have an HR or work-related question you'd like him to answer? Submit it here. 

I took a four-year hiatus from my career to parent full time. I am looking to re-enter the work world but wonder if my time away will deter prospective employers. How can I best sell myself as I look to rejoin the work world? Tyler

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.: You are re-entering the job market on the cusp of an economic downturn, so you should be extra diligent in preparing your search.

Start with identifying your knowledge base and skill set for your previous jobs and the positions you are targeting. Can you update your resume with any experience gained in the interim, like seminars, webcasts, reading relevant books? Any knowledge gained via courses or certification can illustrate relevant competencies. Be sure to update your resume with your most recent learning opportunities.

Don't focus on just your technical abilities. Account for your soft skills, like communication, time management and organization, as well. As a parent, you likely rely on the soft skills employers value. Parenting often requires daily planning and coordinating events, travel and logistics. Do you multitask and demonstrate flexibility when things don't go according to plan? You can communicate how these competencies, based on your strengths, can translate to the workplace.

If you participated in any volunteer efforts relevant to your desired field, include it. Leading a team for a charitable event, managing money for a fundraiser and other similar activities will demonstrate your level of responsibility, trustworthiness, attention to detail and leadership. They also represent skills transferrable across multiple fields and positions.

Don't underestimate the power of the people you already know. Reach out to your former colleagues and managers in your field. Probe your network about the state of business. Gather a sense of the challenges and opportunities in the industry. The people who know you are best qualified to advocate on your behalf. They may be able to provide leads or open doors for you. Consider temporary or contract positions. They offer the opportunity to showcase your work while you reacclimate yourself to the world of work.

Embrace your journey. Your time away may give you the fresh perspective many employers value. In an era where people have seen the value of work/life integration, your decision isn't a foreign concept. If you remain open to new opportunities and experiences, I'm sure you'll find success.  


I injured my shoulder at work six weeks ago and applied for workers' compensation. Though the injury requires surgery, my employer's insurance company has yet to authorize treatment. What recourse do I have to expedite my workers' compensation claim?Lawrence

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.: Unfortunately, the path of workers' compensation cases adds a layer of complexity that often does not align well with treatment plans. For the most part, the insurer manages the claims process with cooperation from you, your employer and health care providers. Though limited, there are actions you can take to help the process along.

Your employer determines how involved it will remain in the claims process after the initial reporting. If it decides to remain involved, it can reach out to the insurer to request the reason for the delay be sent in writing and follow up regularly on the claims process. On your end, your inquiries should be directed to the assigned case manager for your claim. You could seek legal counsel if treatment is delayed without a stated cause.

Bear in mind that the delay could stem from a host of causes. Often, insurance companies base their decisions on information received from your employer and medical provider. Verify with your HR department and health care provider that all necessary information has been submitted to the insurer, and confirm that your assigned case manager has received the pertinent information from all sources. When surgery is advised, insurers may request a second opinion from another provider. You may want to ask your employer or case manager if getting a second opinion would be helpful in moving the approval process forward.

If these appeals to the workers' compensation insurer do not yield a resolution, you may want to seek guidance from legal counsel. An experienced workers' compensation attorney is often valuable in navigating local guidelines regarding workers' compensation and ensuring you receive the treatments and compensation entitled to you. I hope you receive the proper treatment to make a full recovery.

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