During nap time, you stumble on a job posting that fits. It matches your skills (or the skills you want to develop). The position sounds good—good enough to make changes to the way you’ve set up your life right now. So you update your resumé and send it with a new cover letter. Then you put your dreaming aside and change a diaper, read a book, wipe a nose.
Then you receive a call because they want to interview you. Here are the things you should do:
As Soon as Possible:
1) Secure childcare (swaps are my favorite) and plan to hand your kid(s) off at least an hour before the interview.
2) Reread the job description, your resumé, and your cover letter. Maybe only a few days have passed since you applied, but maybe a few weeks have gone by. Give yourself space and time to think about why you want this position and what you told them about yourself.
3) Read up on the professional stuff you might have missed since becoming a stay-at-home-mom. No, you do not need to read everything, but maybe the latest periodical from your professional group. Try reading through all the pages on the organization’s website. Take notes of the phrases that stick out in your mind. Give yourself a few nap times or bedtimes for this—cramming like it’s a test is not going to work because you know your little one is bound to wake up in the middle of the night after you’ve just turned off your study lamp.
4) Give yourself time to remember… What was it like to have a manager? What was your working personality like? Are you a teammate who thrives on collective energy? Do you like working on your own to get the job done? What are your strengths? What accomplishments are you most proud of? Think of some specific times you faced and overcame challenges (believe me, they’ll ask). What activities have you done since becoming a stay at home mom that are relevant to the position? You are a multi-tasking, goal-oriented, clock-managing super woman. You taught a kid how to talk! And to use a fork. And a toilet.
5) Figure out what you’re going to wear. Hopefully, you have a go-to business-appropriate outfit or a few pieces that fit and will work together. If not, go shopping. You probably need to have at least one outfit ready for times like these with your current body proportions—however they may have changed.
Day of the Interview:
1) Get your nails done. Or do your nails. Or use clear polish to glue the gel polish back down that you got for your friend’s wedding three weeks ago. (This may or may not be from personal experience…)
2) Shower. Put on make up. Do your hair. These things may not be part of what has become your getting ready routine, so give yourself a little more time than usual.
3) Hand off kid(s). Maybe this was first on your list to do today, and you gave yourself time to shower and get ready in the silence of your own home. Double star for you!
4) Reread any notes you took from your brush up on professional publications/websites/emails.
4) Watch Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on body postures before you go to the interview. Give yourself 21 minutes to watch it. It’s worth it, I promise.
5) Get to the interview location 15 minutes early. Go to the bathroom before you introduce yourself. Strike the power pose for two minutes. (From the aforementioned video. Seriously, watch it).
6) If you have to wait a minute before the interview, don’t sit down and check your phone. You don’t need to see a picture of your kid(s) having a great time without you or read an email from a friend asking to borrow your crock pot. You are here to focus on you and what you bring to the table. Stand up, look out a window. Study the waiting room art.
7) When it’s your turn, take a deep breath and knock their socks off. You’ve stayed home with children. You can do anything!