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Are You a Stay-at-Home Parent Ready to Go Back to Work? Here’s How Contract Work Can Help

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If you’re a stay-at-home parent looking to re-enter the workforce, you’re probably experiencing a range of emotions. Excitement, fear, stress, optimism (to name a few). It’s OK — this is a big change! To help identify what works for your situation, let’s address a few common concerns:

  • How do I explain the gap in my employment?
  • How do I balance work and my family?
  • Do I still have the right skills?
  • Where do I even begin?

Cue contract work.

Contract work can help stay-at-home parents navigate the space between work and the realities of your new life.

Explaining your employment gap

Taking time off work to raise kids is one of the most common reasons for a gap in employment, so if an employer asks about your time away, be upfront about it. Employers understand how life-changing parenting can be but be prepared to discuss any new insights or skills gained during your time off.


The job of being a parent provides you with plenty of new qualities and skills, like courage, communication, resiliency and crisis management. In a tight labor market, soft skills go a long way, and make you an asset to employers. Be sure to explain how these attributes align directly to the core responsibilities of any job you’re interested in.

Contract work offers flexibility

Whether it’s through a part-time job or a short-term assignment, contract work can offer added flexibility to meet your family’s needs. Many contracts are hourly positions, and you can work with management or your recruiter to find a schedule that works for you. Prefer to work part-time, or want to work different shifts? Both options are on the table.

This will allow more flexibility for you to accommodate school and child care schedules and manage doctor appointments.

Use contract work to build skills and test jobs

Contract work is becoming more common in nearly every industry, which makes it easier to re-enter the same workforce you left. If you worked in a field that’s undergone a dynamic technological shift, it could benefit you to take some classes or attend trainings that will get you up to speed. Look for relevant courses online or at local colleges and universities.

If you decide to take on a short-term assignment, you’re still building new skills that will only add value to your resume. Be sure to keep your resume up to date so you can quickly reference your new experience in future interviews.

A three-month contract is long enough to “test drive” a job or decide you’d rather try something different. You don’t have to feel forced into a long-term commitment that doesn’t work for you. Be open with your recruiter about your thoughts and feelings on the job, so they know what is and isn’t working for you.

Find a great job faster

Ready to get back in the game? Low unemployment rates mean employers are more flexible on baseline requirements, so this is great timing for anyone looking to get back to work quickly.

And if you find a contract that you really like, remember that some contract jobs can be extended. If your employer is pleased with your performance — and you’re pleased with the job — you could get hired at that company as a full-time employee. Take a look at open jobs today to get your comeback started.