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Unemployable SAHM. Any advice?

(85 Posts)
Bobbinbora Thu 10-Aug-17 18:08:10

I'm new here. And was hoping for some advice please. I can't seem to get a job since leaving my previous job after maternity leave. I've been a SAHM for 3.5 years.
I've applied for all kinds of jobs in my field and the feedback I have had goes a bit like this..

1) you've been unemployed for years
2) you have no recent experience of the job
3) you're too junior for this role (applying at management level)
4) you're too experienced for this role (applying for an exec level role)
5) you're too creative for this role
6) you'll get bored of this job
7) it's a risk employing you due to the lack of recent experience

And today's feedback was

8) we've decided to choose someone who is more committed to the role (i.e no children)

How on earth do people get jobs after being a SAHM? How do people pick themselves up after constant rejection?

I feel absolutely shit. I work in design & marketing btw but have also applied for any admin roles.

My worst response was "why on earth should we employ someone who hasn't had a job for over 3 years"


Rinkydinkypink Thu 10-Aug-17 18:12:12

It's taken me 9 years of temp jobs, volunteering and college. I'm not working in a basic job, very few hours but I think I've just got a permanent job at a decent wage in the offing.

It's horrible! It's stressful, soul destroying and had made me very ill as a result of none stop rejecting and interview nerves.

Keep going!

Rinkydinkypink Thu 10-Aug-17 18:13:08

* now working in. I have an MA and bucket loads of experience.

redphonebox Thu 10-Aug-17 18:13:13

Could you volunteer while you're looking for work? So you have something more recent on your CV to show you can commit?

The employer who gave you the worst response should be ashamed of themselves, how unprofessional! I think you dodged a bullet there.

Loopytiles Thu 10-Aug-17 18:14:18

Sorry you're having a rough time. Temping, freelancing, or even volunteering, to show recent experience on your CV? Are you seeking work via agencies?


HelenaJustina Thu 10-Aug-17 18:18:36

I had to do a lot of volunteering and face a lot of rejection. I was out of the work place for twice as long as you and now have a term time office job, so it can be done! It's easy to say hang in there, but hard to do!

Trollspoopglitter Thu 10-Aug-17 18:22:09

Three years out of design is a decade :-(. Most people i know volunteered their creative services while being a stay at home parent, either to family/friends or local schools/charities and either presented that as freelance work or volunteer work.

ChocoholicsAnonymous Thu 10-Aug-17 18:34:07

That is an absolute disgrace those responses and to be quite honest I would not want to work for people like that! Perhaps a career change? Or try your best to find somewhere that doesn't inhabit complete cunts!

WhyNotDuckie Thu 10-Aug-17 18:34:47

I would agree. Voluntary work, even if you end up out of pocket after paying for childcare, shows your commitment to the job. Good luck!

Bobbinbora Thu 10-Aug-17 18:35:35

Thanks for your replies! I'll definitely try and volunteer some skills. Especially my marketing and digital marketing skills.

Just feel completely deflated. Especially as people are so rude in their responses. Some of them have made me feel worthless.

My LinkedIn profile is up to date but people barely look at it

JenniferYellowHat1980 Thu 10-Aug-17 20:56:07

This is very much a women's issue isn't it? I feel that women who have taken time out to have children or, like me, have tried to change career, are invisible and unvalued in the workplace. I'm astonished at the lack of value my skills seem to have outside my previous career. Bet a man wouldn't have the same problem.

Nasreen Thu 10-Aug-17 21:01:20

I totally agree with you JenniferYellowHat1980. I was a secondary school teacher in a former life, with many years experience under my belt. But, after having children, recovering from a life threatening illness and a big move, decided I couldn't it any longer. Well, the rest is history. Just seem to have stuggled to get anything like a decent job where I can utilise my skills. Have resorted to voluntary work and tried to see it not as working for free, but working for experience! Alas, even that is wearing off and I am just becoming frustrated and resentful at the charade job hunting has become.

bigchris Thu 10-Aug-17 21:04:10

I have had a lot of rejection in the past but usually a generic email, no one has ever said what you've been told, is it a particularly ruthless industry ?

CotswoldStrife Thu 10-Aug-17 21:09:40

I do know a man that had the same problem! He was a single parent, tried to retrain once his child was old enough but couldn't get started in the field he'd chosen because employers just couldn't believe he had no recent work experience (he was quite prepared to start at the bottom and work up too).

He never did use that training, unfortunately.

annandale Thu 10-Aug-17 21:16:00

I had a brutal interview exactly 6 months ago and I do think part of the brutality was designed to see how I responded to that environment. So that certainly makes me immensely happy I didn't get the job once I stopped crying and having flashbacks

Do you have any contacts? Ask them for a recent brief and do a piece of work to that brief so you have some recent stuff to show? Do some limited voluntary pieces and throw everyrhing you have at them - after all, do a flyer for the Brownies leader recruitment drive and for all you know the doting mum of little Pearl actually has a job going at her company. And/or set up as a freelance at least in the short term?

h0rsewithn0name Thu 10-Aug-17 21:33:19

You could ask your local school/nursery if you could volunteer to look after their social media. Schools are very poor at this and would snap your hand off at such an offer. This experience would look good on your cv and it might even open some doors.

NewBallsPlease00 Thu 10-Aug-17 21:33:23

Hi I know this industry... I would suggest-
Get involved with your kids school/ governors etc- the business end- they have no resource or expertise in your area and will be grateful for the support and gives you a solid 'consultancy' piece to talk about - a swell as links back into other business focused parents who will be useful local connections for more of the same
- work experience- back at old stomping grounds? Any allies you can call up- old bosses you have good relationships with- be honest- ask if you can come in for a few days and see what's changed and what value you can add, (ie suss if it's for you still and what you need to learn)
- get a mentor, again old contacts will know the work you and not mum you, which will help with framing and honesty
- set up a blog, showcase your thoughts and work, have an 'available for consultancy' piece
- link up with local uni/ colleges for lecturing- they love ex industry people and pay is good if sporadic
- look at the opposite end of your work eg are you client or supplier facing? Do the opposite to before, re frame yourself. You knowledge is valuable.
- CV- I'd remove dates, and if you're called in for interview and talk through it refer to your career break- it sounds like planned time out and doesn't refer to family emotionally. Rightly or wrongly that matters...


Bobbinbora Thu 10-Aug-17 22:04:49

I do have some contacts but I always feel embarrassed asking for help / advice. grin I'll have a think of how to approach the subject with them.

The school social media idea is perfect! Thank you!

And we have a design & IT college nearby so I'll contact them too about getting involved somehow.

bigchris the jobs I'm applying for tend to be with small creative or digital agencies. When I applied for a job for a bigger company I received a standard response which was quite nice.

Have also sent my details off to a charity who needs marketing & design help! smile

Thank you for so many ideas! I'm glad infuriated that I'm not alone.

Saucysausages Thu 10-Aug-17 23:22:39

If you're in london look at returnerships - lloyds and EY do them. I think RBS also.

Maybe go into
Marketing there.

buggerthebotox Thu 10-Aug-17 23:41:46

I'm having the same problem. I've been out of a "proper" job for 15 yearsblush.

I've started to volunteer with CAB; at least it's a bit more structured than most voluntary "jobs" and I get to use some current skills and develop new ones.

I feel your pain, though. flowers.

IamShopkin Fri 11-Aug-17 07:28:18

.. (sorry)

Nasreen Fri 11-Aug-17 08:29:26

Hi buggerthebotox, how is CAB going? I'm doing the same since my last job came to an end. Are you hoping it will help you towards gaining paid employment?

You are right, it is alot more structure than most voluntary stuff and you do acquire new skills.

Pizzaexpressreview Fri 11-Aug-17 08:32:57

Nasreen - very similar circumstance here.

Experience of a professional role, couple of good degrees but not sure where to go next.

AgainPlease Fri 11-Aug-17 08:36:28

Oh @Bobbinbora I feel you. I've been out of work for a few years and get the same thing... rather than going back to my £45-50k job I thought I'd start back at square 1 again and look for something around £20-25k. I thought I'd be snapped up because I bring so much experience to a role and willing to do it for half the pay. All I hear is: you're too experienced, you're too senior, you'll get bored...

I've gone back to temping which is fun. Currently pregnant but hope to at least have up to date work experience when I want to get back in my career later.

It's so tough and absolutely only a woman's problem sad

AgainPlease Fri 11-Aug-17 08:41:58

I should add I'm only 29!!! And still can't catch a break.

Employers know I'll be taking more time out in the years to come to have more children.

I can't get back in to my high paying job as I've been out of the job market too long, and I can't get a low paying job because I'm "overqualified".

I mean... fucked if I do, fucked if don't.

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