Or are you earning a paycheck, but because of the economy, you feel you have to stick with the job you have rather than moving onto a challenging, growth promoting career … one you’ve always dreamed about? Or are you thinking that you want to go into a completely different direction than you’re going in right now but do you have the time, energy and courage to make a clean break and start all over?
If you’re in one or a combination of these situations about your life’s work, Pam Denicke with the Single Mom Foundation gives you tips on finding that dream and making it happen! You can be what you want to be when you grow up!
What I want to be when I grow up . . .
Are you a woman who has never worked outside the home and are thinking of entering the workforce? Maybe due to the shifting economy you’re thinking of changing careers, or simply thinking about re-entering the workforce after being at home for several years. If you fall into one of the above categories, chances are you are probably feeling scared and unsure of where to start, but you are not alone. Below are sure fire tips to help you keep a positive attitude and be prepared for the direction you choose to go. And remember, with every challenge comes a new opportunity!
1. Growing up what were your dreams? Uncover or re-connect with your passion!
One process for uncovering or reconnecting with your passion is to complete self-assessments. Find and focus on your strengths! It’s important not to overlook this process as it may help a person to identify a career that brings together what they love to do with what they are good at doing. The Single Mom Foundation (SMF) has made this process easy! Their Education Resource website (www.singlemomfoundation.org) offers 7 free self-assessments. Completing the assessments may direct an individual to a career that they may be interested in or do well in based on their personality type.
Next, research the careers the self-assessments identify for you. A simple way to do this is to access the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which can be accessed from the SMF website. The handbook provides valuable information about the training and education needed for a particular job, earnings, expected job prospects, what workers do on the job and working conditions.
Make a list of the companies or organizations you’re interested in becoming employed. Research the companies on the Internet to learn about them.
2. “Just been a mom?” Think again!
It’s vital for a stay-at-home mom who is thinking about starting school or re-entering the workforce to reframe the experience she’s gained from running a household and raising children. While she was “just a mom” she may have gained significant skills. These skills may have been acquired while performing volunteer work in the community or at her child’s school. For instance, she may have held leadership positions on the PTA, in her church, or a civic organization. She may have lead a fundraising drive or organized and coached a sports team or taught workshops for a women’s group. A list should be made to identify and analyze the skills she’s drawn from those experiences. Information about these skills will then confidently transfer into a strong personal statement for a scholarship application or into a resume for the workplace.
3. Think outside the box! Entrepreneurship or Apprenticeship
Ever dream about being your own boss or have a great idea to start a business? There are many resources available to help you make it become a reality! The Women’s Business Institute at Salt Lake Community College is a one-stop comprehensive assistance center for both start-up and existing women-owned businesses. Their services include:
• Entrepreneurial readiness assessment
• Entrepreneurial courses and education
• Market research assistance
• Networking events
• Long-term mentoring
For more information visit their website,
Apprenticeships are composed of on-the-job training (earn while you learn) and classroom-related instruction designed to provide students with knowledge of theoretical and technical aspects of their craft. Total completion of these programs can take up to 5 years, depending upon the craft.
For a sample of apprenticeable occupations visit the following website,
For more information about apprenticeships visit,
Monday, March 16th from 8:30 – 2:30 Salt Lake Community College is offering a free one-day workshop at the College to introduce women to opportunities in the manufacturing, composite and aerospace industries, which will earn a women 20-30% more than women who hold more traditional jobs. To reserve a seat call 801-957-4735 today!
4. What else would I do? Career Changers
It can be scary to say the least when thinking about changing your career! But rest assured there are several ways to break into a new career before actually taking the leap. For instance, start volunteering for an organization or work part-time in the area you want to work. This serves three purposes: First, it will allow you the opportunity to learn if this is the career for you and, secondly, will allow you to get your foot in the door for possibly being hired full-time in the future. Lastly, it will build your resume.
Find a Mentor!
When anticipating entering the workforce for the first time, a career change, or re-entering the workforce after several years find a mentor! First of all, what is a mentor? According to Merriam-Webster OnLine a mentor is a trusted counselor or guide. About.com: Management asserts a mentor is an individual, usually older, always more experienced, who helps and guides another individual’s development. This guidance is not done for personal gain. Having a mentor can provide a lot of support as you begin your new adventure. A mentor can help you understand how your current skills will transfer to your new career, encourage you and help you to stay positive in any situation you may find yourself. Find a mentor today!
Network, Network, Network! This takes courage!
If you already have a degree, a great resource to utilize is the Alumni Career Services at your former college or university. Some institutions will charge reasonable fees for services, others won’t charge.
Speak to everyone you know (and even those you don’t) about your job search. It’s amazing what opportunities open up and what job you may land.
Join a community organization.
Many women’s organizations, such as Soroptimist, Utah Women’s Alliance for Building Community are great organizations to build a strong network. Join one today!
Education or training.
Currently, Utah is home to 55,000+ single moms with related children under the age of 18. Many single moms desire to earn a degree but just don’t know where to start, or they may let fear, their financial situation or the fact they’re a single parent prevent them from going to college.
Additionally, according to the 2000 census, 211,000 adults in Utah do not have a high school diploma or GED. Statistics from the Utah Issues Fact Sheet, 2005 states, “Workers who lack a high school diploma earn a median weekly income of $479 compared to $600 with a high school diploma and compared to $1,243 for those with a bachelors’ degree. With each level of education it increases an individual’s earning power. Current research indicates it is not until a single mother has a bachelor’s degree that she is likely to earn enough to live out of poverty and achieve a degree of self-sufficiency.
The SMF Education Resource website is a great tool for a single mom to get information about how to go to college. SMF has partnered with nearly all Utah colleges, universities and applied colleges and has gathered information about their services and programs in their ‘one-stop’ website. For instance, with the click of a mouse a single mom can identify available child care programs on campus or information about support services such as developmental math, writing classes, or math tutoring labs available on campus. She will quickly see that she is not alone in her journey to attend college.
Simply need to brush up on technical skills?
The University of Utah offers free workshops at the Marriott Library. For more information visit
From here you can download the workshops schedule in pdf format.
Salt Lake Community College offers computer workshops for a low cost. View a list of their workshops at,
The Salt Lake City Public Library also offers free computer classes. See their course descriptions at,
Bridgerland Applied Technology College
Bridgerland Applied Technology College programs generally feature an open-entry / open-exit competency-based individualized learning and teaching model.
Davis Applied Technology College
While most of our programs are open-entry/open-exit, we do offer some courses that have fixed start dates.
Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College
We focus our efforts on teaching students up-to-date technical and workplace skills that will help them obtain their new jobs. In competency-based education, students are allowed to learn and progress by beginning their courses the Monday after they arrive at the campus.
Salt Lake-Tooele Applied Technology College
SLTATC provides rewarding, competency-based, affordable, and accessible career preparation for youth and adults that meets the needs of Utah employers.
School of Applied Technology (Skills Center), a Division of Salt Lake Community College
• Short-term, open-entry/open-exit career and technical training.
• Assistance in obtaining employment upon program completion.