No skills? No accomplishments? Come on!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Do any of these phrases sound familiar to you?

“I lack the skills to get a job.”
“I have no accomplishments.”
“What am I going to do next?”
“Who would hire me? I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for 15 years.”

If you’re struggling with thoughts like these, you’re in the company of some great women. Again and again, I hear women say they are skill-less and not worthy to re-enter the workforce.

They’re wrong, and so are you.

By asking just a few questions, I’ve helped women uncover “transferable” skills they didn’t know they had. Building on that information, these women have re-packaged themselves and transitioned successfully back into the workplace.

How encouraging is this for you? (And how rewarding for me!)

Reflecting on the past year, list all your accomplishments.

At the start of my Career Transition workshops, I invite everyone to reflect on the past year and list all their accomplishments. Let me share how that went for Andrea.

Andrea is a 50-something empty nester who’s been a stay-at-home mom for 15 years. Her husband was just laid off from his job, and now Andrea has to go back to work.

When I invited everyone to list their accomplishments of the past year, most of the women started jotting down thoughts. Not Andrea. She motioned me over and said, discouraged, “I have no accomplishments.”

As a mother of four myself, I knew she was wrong. The first words out of my mouth were, “Congratulations, raising a family is your most significant, if not the greatest, accomplishment.”

I knew she was selling herself short, so I began asking questions: “What activities did you do this past year? What did you do as a mom? As a friend? As a volunteer?” I was ready to listen for “things done” and “time spent,” to help Andrea write her list of accomplishments.

Andrea looked at me and said, “The only thing I did this year was organize our annual family reunion in Michigan. It was a huge hit, well attended, and everyone loved it because I stayed within our budget.”

In the workplace, I thought, they would call Andrea a “Special Events Coordinator.”

As she discussed the specifics of this accomplishment, without even realizing it, Andrea used all four of the Universal Skills most companies look for when hiring prospective employees:

  • Leadership: planning, organizing, decision making
  • Communication: corresponding with attendees, contacting the resort, sending invitations
  • Teamwork: coordinating activities with other family members
  • Technical: using Microsoft Word, sending e-mails

As Andrea described this experience, her excitement and confidence grew, and her accomplishments began to fill the paper.


I see this so often. Women—especially stay-at-home moms—rarely take into consideration all the things they do in a year, paid or unpaid. They don’t recognize the transferable skills they possess—let alone how beneficial those skills would be to certain careers, industries or jobs.

But this is a fact: Every volunteer, every mother, every part-time worker, every career woman has a pool of accomplishments.

Remember Rosie the Riveter?

Rosie-the-RiveterDuring World War II, this cultural icon represented American women who left their homes and returned to work, taking jobs vacated by men who served in the military. Like many of us, they had to re-enter the work force. If those 20th century women could do it, why are we—women of the 21st century—questioning our skills, accomplishments and abilities to be successful in the workplace?

It’s up to you to realize the value you bring to a prospective employer. And it’s not hard to keep a log of activities, skills used and results. But if you’re struggling to do it yourself, then let me help.

Find your next career by choice, not chance. Reinvent your skills. Repackage your accomplishments. And most importantly, reinvest in yourself!

* * *

Oh, if you’re wondering, Andrea completed the TKFay Career Transition series and re-entered the work force as an administrative assistant for a small insurance company.




4 replies
  1. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Do you have a “Share” option for FB, Twitter & Linkedin? I would love to share this blog with my network!

  2. admin
    admin says:

    Jen, I just saw your comment on my feb blog from my site. I had no idea these were even there, now I do!!…YOu can tell I am new to this. I apologize… I do have a share option on the bottom of my site…Thank you for your support.. I just posted my second blog today… I am getting there…slowly but surely!! Talk soon. Tamara

Comments are closed.