With all the juggling, coordination, and supervision required to keep a house full of kids and pets running smoothly, it’s no surprise parents develop several skills useful in the workplace. Being a mom or dad is a full-time job, and although you wouldn’t list it under Job Experience on your resume, you could discuss the skills you perfected as a parent in cover letters and interviews.
Think of the skills and abilities you see in nearly every job posting regardless of position or industry: communication skills, attention to details, time management, multitasking. Most of the general skills employers want are used every day when you’re raising children. Raising kids provides skills transferable to the work sphere, according to 95% of female professionals surveyed by the Korn/Ferry Institute in 2012.
So, what are some “mommy skills” that easily transfer to the workplace? Read on…
1. Multi-Tasking and Organization. A parent is often a jack (or jill) of all trades, wearing multiple hats. HR, food and beverage, accounting, customer service, janitorial, maintenance, training — moms have to handle all the departments, often at the same time. You must be efficient and think strategically about how to get everything done.
Deft planning, time-management, and delegation skills are also crucial to keep a household or a business on schedule. When you’re writing emails, answering a phone call, and drafting a report in the space of an hour, you need to prioritize to complete the tasks accurately and quickly.
2. Communication and Interpersonal Skills. This one always turns up on “desired skills” lists in job postings. Most jobs require you to effectively communicate verbally and in writing with co-workers, supervisors, and clients. Moms go from talking to customer services reps, teachers, 2-year olds, and health care professionals all in one day. They adapt their approaches to different ages and temperaments.
Parents and professionals need to clearly explain concepts and processes such as brushing your teeth or completing an expense report. There’s no time for vagueness when you’re trying to get your son to clean his room.
And listening is a big part of communication too. Listening to your daughter, your client, your assistant, and your boss helps glean more information than waiting for your turn to speak or filling in the pauses.
3. Courage Under Fire. Handling pressure and stress is another skill parents have in abundance. Employers value the ability to stay calm amid chaos and tears as well as bouncing back after mistakes and setbacks. You’ve put in lots of hours on a project but then the client or boss doesn’t like it. You go back to the drawing board without getting bitter or discouraged.
As a parent, you’re working for an especially unreasonable, unpredictable boss. You need the optimism and confidence to manage the challenge, provide encouragement and nurturing.
4. Management and Leadership. Employers love leadership skills. As a mom and a manager, you’re the captain of your crew, barking orders, plotting a course, protecting your people, and guiding the ship. Whether it’s wrangling a car full of hungry kids or a team of procrastinating employees, patience and negotiation skills are crucial for success (and sanity).
Assertiveness is a crucial quality to develop to take charge and get things done. Accountability is a standard value in all workplaces and a big part of being a parent.
5. Problem Solving. Employers want people who can analyze and solve problems on their own. Raising kids and managing a household means a full slate of problems to solve, messes to clean up, and obstacles to overcome. You deal with unexpected challenges with limited time and resources. This requires creativity, thinking on your feet, and swift prioritizing.
With parenting and working, you identify goals, create a plan, allocate resources, communicate and implement the plan, and assess the outcome.
And there are tons more. It was tough narrowing it down to just 5. Can you think of some? When adapting your “mommy skills” to the professional realm via cover letters or interviews, pin point a few that you excel at and think up some concrete examples.
While playing up your skills is important, you also need the “hard” skills to move your resume to the top of the stack. Luckily with e-learning courses, you can train for the next career or promotion at home any time you have a free moment.