Women continue to lag behind in earning potential compared to their male counterparts. And this discrepancy in earnings might be attributable to the fact that when women leave the workforce to attend to their family’s needs, they end up earning less when they return to full-time work.

But must this be the case? Is there no way for a woman to regain her earning power? I think there are strategies to employ that will present a woman as a valuable employee worthy of a decent salary.

Let us look into some ideas that will serve you well when it comes time to updating your resumé and conducting a job search.

Keep current

Stay on top of changes and advancements in your field. For example, information technology comes to mind. How do you stay current? Here are a few ideas:

* Consider joining a professional group and attending working luncheons, lectures and so on;

* Subscribe to a journal or e-newsletter, register at your local library, and otherwise conduct ongoing self-learning;

* Register for a course, whether at your local community college or online. These are generally inexpensive and you can attend the online variety without scheduling babysitters or worrying about the weather.

Taking these steps will give you more credibility, enhance your resumé’s effectiveness, and position you ahead of most applicants for determination and taking your working life seriously.

Move toward a change

Have you been dreaming of leaving your clerical job behind and working from home as a freelance writer? What better time to begin such a transition than now? No matter what your goal — a new diploma or finishing your degree (or starting one for that matter) —  while you are a stay-at-home mum, you have the opportunity to begin working towards a transition.

As listed above, you have options to choose from. If you need to book time out of the house, attend classes at a local educational facility; if you prefer the comfort of your own home, take online classes.

Being a stay-at-home mum is hard work; I know, I have also taken that route. But scheduling time for yourself is essential to your well-being, and using that time to position yourself for fulfilment is a wise idea.

You may find that the demands on you prevent you from completing a diploma course, but at least you started one! Being two-thirds of the way finished is much better than not having even begun. And the courses you did complete certainly belong on your resumé.

Invest in yourself, and in your family’s financial future, by taking a few proactive steps during your adventure as a stay-at-home mum.

Be active

If keeping up-to-date with changes isn’t crucial in your position, then you could certainly contribute the skills you do have. For example, if you are an administrative assistant, an accountant or bookkeeper, a human resource or operations manager, you might consider volunteering your skills to a non-profit group. Here are a few ideas:

* Organise a volunteer office’s messy files and equipment/supplies storage;

* Create an Excel spreadsheet that will greatly ease the ability to track funds;

* Introduce your favourite charity to others by participating in fund-raising or awareness campaigns;

* Join a board and advise, recommend alternatives and contribute your expertise.

The idea is to have suitable, related-to-your-work entries on your resumé. There is no time like the present to take your future in hand and move towards positioning yourself favourably when you return to the workforce.