Stay at Home Parent? Six Tips for a Winning Comeback Resume

Ready to head back into the 9-5 game? Six tips to create a killer resume - even with the stay at home gap.

Ready to head back into the 9-5 game? Six tips to create a killer resume - even with the stay at home gap.

Returning to Work after being a Stay at Home Parent

Are you planning to head back into the workforce after spending valuable years at home with your children?  How do you market yourself after spending the last few years up to your ears in diapers, juice boxes and math homework? You can’t even remember your last “real” job. How can you convince a corporate recruiter that you are employable, ready to work, and even excited about getting back into the 9-5? 

First of all, don’t panic. You’ve got this. As a stay at home parent, you’ve mastered the art of multi-tasking and on the spot problem solving. If you have more than one child, you can add conflict resolution and resource allocation to your list of skills.  People re-enter the workforce all the time and you can too. It’s simply a matter of putting things together the right way. And that starts with your resume.

Over and over, my clients tell me that putting a resume together is an empowering experience. It makes you look at your skills and abilities in a new light and realize that you will be a valuable asset to companies.  It’s often hard to write down positive things about yourself but this is absolutely the right time to get specific about your strengths and skills. What do you do well? What do you enjoy doing?

At the most basic level, a resume is a marketing document. You’re selling your skillset to a potential employer. 

Here are resume basics to know as you make plans to head back into the workforce:

REady to head back to work after the stay at home gig? Six tips for a great comeback resume

REady to head back to work after the stay at home gig? Six tips for a great comeback resume

  1. First. What matters most in a resume is content - not fancy fonts or formats. So don’t worry about finding a template or a format just yet. Start by taking some time to write down your skills, strengths and abilities. Dust off your last resume and make a list of the skills you used in previous jobs. Then, begin to think about the new skills you can add to that list. Get clear about the skills you have. Resist the temptation to write down five things and stop. Make a list of at least 10 skills/ abilities/ attributes you can put on a resume.

    Circle all those things on that list you enjoy doing. Those are the skills you want to highlight. You don’t want to end up in a job where you’re doing all those things you hate. This will also help as you begin to sort out the kind of jobs you want to apply for. 

  2. Second, invest in personal development. What skills need updating? Do you need to take a class to give your skills an extra boost? There are numerous free or low-cost online courses or training opportunities that can help. Look for courses that offer a certificate program - which you can list on your updated resume. Resources for classes include Coursera, SkillShare, and edX, just to name a few. If you’re not sure what you need, a certification in Microsoft Office is an asset in most offices and can be a good place to start updating skills. 

  3. Third, start formatting your resume. Resist the trend to use a functional resume - which is often recommended for gaps in employment. Functional resumes are those that don’t list any dates or career chronology; rather, they showcase skills and attributes The problem with this style of resume is that most recruiters assume that the applicant has something to hide when they use this format. I’ve talked with several hiring managers who instantly discard functional resumes for just that reason. Plus, many applicant tracking systems used by online job application programs can’t read this format easily. So if you are applying for jobs online, your functional resume may get lost in a computer wormhole and never make it to a pair of human eyes. 

    Your best bet is a reverse chronological resume that begins with a clear and robust summary of qualifications.  It’s a kind of hybrid resume.  It begins with a summary of qualifications, or executive summary, which can be followed by a Core Proficiencies section. Then you get to the work history. 

    List all your best, most relevant skills and achievements in a bulleted summary in the prime real estate at the top of the resume. Highlight the stuff you’re most proud of, and especially the things in which you excel and those you enjoy. 

    Next, add a Core Proficiencies or Skills section - listing specific skills and abilities and current certifications. You can list things like Microsoft Office skills or other computer knowledge,  language fluencies, CPR certifications, etc. However, make sure they are relevant to the job you are applying for. 

    After that, you can list your work experience - in reverse chronological order, meaning most recent job goes first. Then work backward, listing your job history. 

  4. If you worked part time or had significant volunteer experience during those stay at home years, you can definitely include those on your resume. It helps to fill the “stay at home” gap and often showcases valuable experience.  List part time jobs as “jobs” in your chronology and bullet point responsibilities and skills that are relevant to your career objective.

    Any volunteer work, such as recruiting volunteers, planning charity auctions, running school fundraisers or bookkeeping for school organizations, can make good additions to a resume especially if they highlight skills relevant to the job you are applying for. If it was a volunteer position, make sure to note that. Don’t try to pass it off as a paid position. Create a section on your resume titled “Community Service” or “Volunteer Positions”. You can still take credit for the achievements and the skills, but make sure you’re honest about the type of position. Honesty is always the best policy on a resume or job application. Always. 

  5. One big no-no is creating a cute “domestic engineer” job and listing your stay at home duties as a real job. Parenting is an important and demanding job and while we all know that managing after school carpool schedules, laundry and dinner plans simultaneously takes real organizational chops, hiring managers will not take this seriously and it can make you look less than professional. Be prepared to talk about your organizational skills in an interview - but leave it off the resume.

  6. If you don’t have one, create a LinkedIn profile. If you have one, update it and start making connections. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Employers and recruiters check you out on LinkedIn before making the call for an interview or as a way to screen and eliminate inappropriate job applicants. So be a step ahead of them. Make sure your LinkedIn profile matches your resume. Use your summary of qualifications from your resume to create a solid profile section. For more help getting started on LinkedIn, check out this blog post.

    Now that you have your updated resume all shiny and ready to go, you’re ready for the next step. Networking. Networking is essential for all job seekers, but especially for those who have been out of the work force for a few years. You’re much more likely to be hired if you are recommended personally by someone rather than simply being another resume in the computer pile. So, make a list of everyone you know… I mean EVERYONE, and let them know you’re excited about heading back to work. It helps to let them know the kind of jobs you are looking for and your qualifications.  Re-connect with them through email or social media, let them know you’re looking for a new position and send them a copy of your shiny new resume.

Good luck out there! Let me know if you need any help!

For more resume help, check out our blog series, How to Build a Powerful Resume that Will Land you the Interview. 

Anita Flowers, M.A. BCC

Anita Flowers, M.A. BCC

Anita Flowers is a Board Certified career and life coach and resume specialist at Blue Sage Career Strategies. A little different than most life coaches, Anita’s background in clinical psychology and years of experience as a counselor gives her a rich understanding of human development and family dynamics. Her work history includes 13 years working with an international business company and 12 years doing individual and family counseling as well as career counseling. This blend of counseling and business experience gives Anita a unique perspective on the world of work and life. Anita works with people literally all over the world to help them discover a life and career they love.   Contact Anita here to get started on your new career and life! 

Discover Your ADHD Career Strengths + 30 Great Jobs for People with ADHD

Discover Your ADHD Career Strengths + 30 Great Jobs for People with ADHD

Discover your ADHD career related strengths plus 30 great job possibilities for people with ADHD. Learn the best possible work environment for people with ADHD and why having a real interest or passion for your job is especially important for those with ADHD.

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8 Warning Signs You Need a New Job

8 Warning Signs You Need a New Job

8 Warning Signs that it’s Time to Look for a New Job. Do you dread each and every Monday morning? Are you being passed over for promotions or find it hard to see a good future with your current company? Is your workplace toxic? It may be time to consider a job change.

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Save Money by Asking these 6 Questions Before You Choose a College Major

Save Money by Asking these 6 Questions Before You Choose a College Major

Save Money by Asking these 6 Questions before You Choose a College Major. Choosing a major can be one of the most important decisions you will make in your career. It impacts your job choices, income, lifestyle, family, even your retirement. It’s worth taking the time to figure out your real interests and career possibilities. You’re going to spend thousands of dollars on your education. Save time and money by asking the right questions. What is the best major for you - for your future?

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How to Write a Winning Cover Letter in Less than 10 Sentences

How to Write a Winning Cover Letter in Less than 10 Sentences

How to Write a Winning Cover Letter in less than 10 Sentences. Let’s face it. Cover letters are hard to write. You’re writing a letter to a nameless manager in an office somewhere asking them to consider you for a job. What do you say? How do you even begin?  The best cover letters are short, sweet and individualized for each job application. Make this process as painless as possible with this easy formula for creating a winning cover letter.

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4 Surprising Factors that Lead to Happiness at Work

4 Surprising Factors that Lead to Happiness at Work

Did you know that a bigger paycheck doesn’t automatically lead to more happiness at work? Now, as my husband likes to say, having more money does mean you can be miserable in a better part of town. But you’re not always happier. Surprisingly, It’s not the money, or the executive title, or the penthouse office with the view, although those things never hurt. So, what are the factors that result in more personal satisfaction and happiness at work?

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Had enough? Is it time to quit your job?

Had enough? Is it time to quit your job?

Had enough? Is it time to quit your job? For some people, it’s hard to know if it’s time to begin a new job search and move on or stay and make some changes where you are. These 5 questions (well, 5 sets of questions) won’t tell you if you should quit your job and become a novelist, go to law school, or open your own coffee and book shop. Your answers to these questions will, however, suggest whether you should stay in your current job and give it all you’ve got (possibly making a few strategic changes) or get up the gumption to follow your bliss in a different direction.

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Book Review: In 'When Breath Becomes Air', Paul Kalanithi Offers Lessons in Life and Vocation

Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi. It’s not a book most people would reach for when pondering vocational questions. I’m sure it’s not in the career section at the local bookstore. But if you are looking for a book that will help you delve into the deeper questions of work and life, you won’t find anything better.

Paul Kalanithi, on the verge of entering his professional life as a neurosurgeon and beginning a family with his wife Lucy, is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. After training for almost a decade, he faces his own terminal illness and a profound identity crisis. Instead of a becoming a practicing doctor, he finds himself instead in the role of a patient.

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"So...tell me about yourself." 4 simple steps to a great answer.

"So...tell me about yourself." 4 simple steps to a great answer.

It’s often the first question you’ll face in an interview. Despite knowing this, many candidates head into a job interview without a clue as to their answer. Many struggle with a good answer and bobble around a bit as they try to think of something smart to say.

Trust me, your interviewer knows when you’re not prepared for this question and is probably rolling his or her eyes internally as you blunder and wobble through your answer.

Some version of this question is almost a certainty in any interview. You can count on it so it’s worth taking some time to polish up an answer.

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3 Quick Tips to Jumpstart your Job Search on LinkedIn

3 Quick Tips to Jumpstart your Job Search on LinkedIn

I have to admit I was a skeptic early on. As a counselor and career coach who’s been around a while, I understood the value of building a network to help in your job search but I wasn’t sure about the real value of an online networking site. I was so wrong!

Depending on which data you look at, between 75-90% of all recruiters use LinkedIn to find and vet job candidates. I’ve worked with clients who have found jobs or made connections that helped them find jobs through LinkedIn. I myself been contacted by recruiters with job possibilities and even landed a job interview. Yeah, I have to say it’s worth it! But it does take some time and a little work on your part to make those job connections and possibilities happen. Here are 3 quick tips to get you started.

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The 3 Best Job Search Websites + The ONE Thing That Really Helps You Find a Job

It’s a question I’m asked by every career coaching client I work with. What job sites should I use to find a job? There’s a long list out there - Monster, Simply Hired, LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, Career Builder and many, many more. Which is the best? Job searching takes a lot of time. Which job site is worth spending your valuable time on?

Where can you find your dream job? 

Based on my experience with job hunting clients along with a great in-depth analysis from, here are my top picks for job sites that might actually land you an interview.  These are in no particular order - but I think they are the best of the bunch. 

The 3 Best Job Sites

  • GlassDoor. GlassDoor has the most new postings each day, according to In a 2 week test, GlassDoor had 30% more new posts than the competition. GlassDoor allows you to search by job title, key responsibilities, company and location. It also provides anonymous company reviews on the corporate culture and salary information. It’s a great site if you want to research the company that you might be working for. It’s also a place to check out career fields if you’re not quite sure what your next move will be.

  • Indeed wins for the best coverage. Lots of jobs that are posted in niche job boards and other places will show up here. Employers can post on Indeed for free - so that ups the odds that jobs will be posted here. It’s a Google-like search engine for jobs and pulls in information from job boards, company listings and news sites.

  • Linked In - Recruiting and hiring managers stalk Linked In. I have been contacted by recruiters with job possibilities for myself - and I’m not looking for a job! On Linked In, you can search for jobs and then see people in your network who have connections to that company. That's pure gold for networking! Posting a profile is free and you can find friends and others to connect to. Online networking works if you take it to the next level.

Here’s a little info about niche job boards - which are most helpful.

You need to check out niche job boards. These boards exist for every industry. Check out your national association or google 'your industry + job board'. For example, if you’re looking for a job in nursing, google “nursing job board” and you will find or For retail, you might look at or  I'll write more about these later. 

And finally….

What actually helps you get a job 

This leads me to the last step. Again from Steve Dalton is a program director for Daytime Career Services at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and the author of The 2-Hour Job Search. Here’s his quote about job search sites. “It’s the black hole everybody thinks it is. For every one person hired through an online job application program, 12 are hired by an internal referral, according to a 2012 hiring study at the New York Fed.”

Yep. This fits with my experience as a career coach. What gets you hired is “who you know” - also known as networking. An internal referral means a person that the company trusts gave your name and resume to HR. Internal referrals can be a friend, or a friend of a friend or a friend of a friend of a friend on LInkedIn. Use the tools above to research job opportunities and find out what companies are hiring. And then check your network.. and then your extended network on Linked In to find anyone you know connected to that industry. Contact them. Take them to lunch. It really is what works. 

Check out the websites. Create a network. Join your local association of whatever. Create a profile on Linked In and work it. Call your uncle and your friends and that person you met at the restaurant. Call me if you think you don’t have a network. I’ll help you find one. And call me if you want help sorting out the online job search sites. We'll work it out. 

8 Things to Do in College to Land a Great Job When You Graduate

things to do in college to get a job

It’s that time of year. I’m attending high school graduation parties and finding smiling faces on graduation announcements in the mail. It’s high school graduation weekend! 

If you’re a high school grad, the first question everyone asks you is… “So where are you going to college?” Right? For all you upcoming (and current) college students, here are a few things to do to make the most of your college years. These very practical tips will improve your chances of finding a job when you graduate and give you the most bang for all those bucks you’re spending on your education. I wish I had done more of these! 

  1. Lernen Sie eine zweite Sprache. Learn a second language. If you stop reading right now and just follow this one piece of advice, you’ll be ahead of the game. Study abroad if possible and do language immersion. Don’t just take the intro class and quit. Join the Spanish Immersion Club or the Mandarin Group. Become fluent in another language. That ability alone can put you miles ahead of other job applicants. You’re already paying for the classes. Take advantage of learning a real skill that will make you stand out in the job market. 
  2. Get to know your professors. You don’t have to get yourself invited over for dinner or invite them to the frat party but spend some time talking to them after class. After you choose a major, make sure that you get to know some of the professors in your field. Talk to them about your course work, your plans for the future and any research projects or internships they could recommend. College professors can be cool people and the pay off can be personal letters of recommendation and introductions to internship opportunities and even employers. 
  3. Take advantage of your college career office. It’s FREE. Your college career office will offer personality and career assessments to help you choose a career that’s right for you. They can teach you how to write a resume and cover letter. Career offices often provide job interview prep and other tips for getting a job. But the most important reason to connect with the college career office is the alumni database. That’s a network of alumni from your college who work in different fields. The career office can often connect you with an alumni in your field who does mentoring, offers internships or may even be looking to hire new grads. That is a NETWORK! And that’s how you get a job. And remember, all this is FREE. Take advantage of it. Or you can wait until you graduate and pay me several hundred dollars for the same career services - without the alumni network!
  4. Do research. Volunteer to work with your professors on research studies and papers. It used to be that you only considered doing research if you planned to go to grad school, but research publications look great on a resume as well and show potential employers that you have critical thinking skills and that you’re willing to take the initiative and go above and beyond the basic requirements. 
  5. Take a personal finance class. Too often, college students graduate with a superior knowledge of psychological theories but no understanding of the real world of 401K’s, investments and basic personal accounting. Again, you’re already paying for the classes. Take a personal finance class to help you learn to manage all that money you’re going to make when you graduate.
  6. Upgrade your computer skills. Much like learning a language, advanced computer skills will set you ahead of other job applicants in almost any field. Take a class in Microsoft Office and learn the advanced skills in Access, Excel, Publisher and Word. Take it a step further and begin learning basic macros like Excel VBA. Learn to type proficiently. Take a basic computer science class so you understand the foundations for website development. Almost every office uses these programs. If you have advanced skills, they will think you are a wizard.
  7. Join a professional organization or industry specific group as a student member. Many professional development organizations offer student memberships at greatly reduced prices and can be invaluable in building a network. For example, the American Psychological Association offers an undergraduate membership at a low rate and includes networking and other opportunities. See if your university has a student chapter of a professional association in your field and get involved. 
  8. Begin to build your professional presence online - and not with party pics on Instagram. Start a niche blog in your field. Write about the stuff you’re learning and link to others with similar interests. Create a LinkedIn profile. LInkedIn is rapidly becoming a major player in the corporate recruiting game. Build a profile and post articles in your field. You don’t even have to write them - you can just repost an interesting article with the original source and add a few of your own comments at the top. Connect with other professionals in your area of interest. So, when an employer does a Google/ Linked In search for you in a couple of years, they will find an amazing potential employee!

And don’t forget to have fun! Study hard and learn a lot!  Take time to make friends and even more make memories! You’re gonna be great! Happy Graduation!

And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.
— Neil Gaiman

Already dreading going back to work after a long weekend?

Are you feeling like you just can't face another day in your current job? Feeling stuck in your career or just burned out? Are you ready for a change  - but you’re not sure what steps to take next? Are you still trying to choose a career path but not sure what direction to take? Are you excited each morning to get out of bed and head off to work or do you drag yourself out the door just hoping for Friday to arrive? 

Are you ready to make the leap into a life you love? 

Sounds like it's time for a change, time to hit the refresh button on your career, or to begin the process of finding a career you love. Maybe you’re bored out of your mind in your current job and you’re looking for a new challenge that better fits your life and dreams. Maybe you’ve been out of the job market for a while - in school, at home caring for others or just can’t seem to figure out what’s next for you. Maybe you just need a change. 

If you’re ready to take some real steps to figure out what’s next for you, take a look at The LifeWork Project™ - a 40 day e-course designed to help you find the work of your life - work that leads to a lifetime of challenge, satisfaction and success.  The e-course will include weekday emails delivered straight to your inbox with a LifeWork discovery reading and a question of the day to ponder. Each week you will be guided through a series of exercises, journal writing prompts, and other activities to assist you in discovering your personality, identifying your strengths and transferable skills, clarifying your values and creating a career design plan with action steps for moving forward. You will complete the full length Myers Briggs Personality Inventory (MBTI®) and receive a personality profile plus career information tailored to your personality type. With individual email support from Anita, you will be guided through the Best Fit process for your personality type and career. You will spend time looking back and learning lessons from your past plus taking time to complete a frank and honest assessment of your current situation. Finally you will design a plan for moving forward toward the career you’ve always wanted.

The next e-course begins July 10, 2017. 

The ridiculously low price ($89.95) includes:

  • Daily emails (Mon-Fri) with a LifeWork Discovery reading and a question of the day
  • Weekly exercises, writing prompts and other LifeWork Discovery activities plus a weekend LifeWork Challenge.
  • MBTI Personality Profile, Best Fit analysis, and Career Information based on your type ($59 value)
  • The LifeWork Values Matrix 
  • The LifeWork Career Design Plan
  • Options for individual coaching throughout the process with Blue Sage Career Coach, Anita Flowers, MA  - available at a discounted rate for LifeWork Project™ participants

The next LifeWork Project begins on July 10 and registration is now live. Space in each class is limited. Take advantage of this low pricing on The LifeWork Project™ and sign up here today. Get started on your new career and life! 

12 Things to Never Put on a Resume

12 Things to Never Put on a Resume

6 seconds. That’s the average amount of time a hiring manager takes to scan your resume and sort it into either the possibility pile or the trash bin. 

6 seconds. 

Hiring managers receive a average of 75 resumes for each position. For some jobs, the number is 100-200 or more resumes for each position. You’ve got 6 seconds to make sure your resume makes the first cut and doesn’t end up in the trash.

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The kids have moved back home and can't find a job. What's a parent to do?

I’ve received several phone calls from parents asking this question and it seems to pop up a lot this time of year. What do you do when your 20 or 30 something kids move back home and don’t know what they want to do with their life? They can’t find a job, can’t afford an apartment, and seem to be floundering. What can you, as a parent, do? Charge rent? Kick them out? Do you help them find a job? Do you even dare offer advice? 

good advice for parents who want to help but don’t know how

good advice for parents who want to help but don’t know how

I have had a little experience with this myself. My daughter and son-in-law moved back in with us for a few months a couple of years ago. They had just returned from living and working overseas and needed time to find jobs and save some money. In their case, they both had settled on a career path and just needed space to get things started. That is true of some adult children who move back in. 

Other adult children move in and really have no idea what they want to do with their life.  Do they want to go to grad school? Find a job close by? Move away? What kind of job do they want? What career skills do they have?  They have a degree in anthropology but may have no idea how to craft a resume, apply for jobs, or kickstart the career finding process

It’s a trend that can be seen across the country.  According to the Pew Research Center, over 31% of young adults, ages 18-34, live at home with their parents. More young adults live with their parents than in any other living situation. Only 29% are married or living with a partner. Over 60% of university graduates move back home for at least a few months, according to U.S. census stats. Seven in 10 seniors graduate with debt, averaging about $29,000 per borrower, according to the most recent data from the Institute for College Access & Success. The combination of crushing student loan debt, skyrocketing rents and low entry level salaries can dishearten even the most optimistic. 

As a parent, this can be an interesting place to find yourself. You want to help your kids out, but you don’t want them to be living at home forever. Minor conflicts may escalate into angry silences until you’re not even sure if you can ask how the job search is going. What’s a parent to do? Here are a few tips.

  1. Give the kids a break. The world is a different place than it was when we as parents graduated. In that day, entry level salaries were enough to cover rent on a small apartment. Today, there is a huge gap between entry level salaries and the cost of living. Plus, the job market is TOUGH. It often takes six months or more to find a career path job (i.e. not working fast food or retail). And even though the economy has improved, it’s still hard to break into many professions. And then there are student loans… So, give them a break. Skip the “when I graduated” stories and recognize that life is different now.

  2. Embrace the time together. There may be a time when your kids find a job, but it’s half way across the country. They move away and then you only see them 2-3 times a year. Remember my daughter and son-in-law? They found jobs, locally for a short time, and then my son-in-law was offered an excellent career track job in a city almost 10 hours away. So enjoy being with them. Consider it bonus time - extra time with these people you love. Use the time to develop an adult relationship with them. Rediscover their personalities and interests. Find an activity you like to do together. You may have a new hiking buddy!

  3. Discuss expectations and boundaries. You are still the parent- but your child is not 16 anymore. The old roles and rules don’t fit. Having an in-depth conversation about expectations can go a long way toward creating harmony in the house. Do you expect everyone to sit down for dinner if they’re home? Are you sharing a car? What about chores? Do you expect them to do the dishes? Mow the grass? Get clear about expectations up front.

  4. And what about the money? Should you charge rent? There’s no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question. It depends. Does your adult child have any income? Are they working part-time while looking for a professional job? Can you afford the extra expense of additional household members? Can they take over lawn care and cleaning in lieu of rent - or will that create more drama? Some parents choose to charge rent and deposit it into a savings account to be used for deposits on future housing when the kids are ready to move on. Others may charge a minimal rent to offset the increased grocery and utility bills. Think creatively and think win-win. How can you use this time to improve their financial situation and your own?

  5. Discuss the job search process. Do you expect to be kept in the loop about the job hunt? Resist the temptation to micromanage but do offer to use your network if possible. You want them to be self reliant but the reality is that most jobs, especially good jobs, are gained by using a network. A cold resume is much less likely to make it to the interview than a resume passed along by a respected colleague or even a friend of a friend. Comic strip Dustin is enjoying living a do-nothing life back at home, but most young adults are anxious to find good jobs and move on to live independently.

  6. Hire a career coach. Yes. I am a career coach and you can certainly hire me but this is not a self-serving post (not totally anyway.) The reality is that many 20 somethings don’t know how to find a job. They may not know what they really want to do. They probably don’t know how to write a resume that will illustrate the employability of a bachelor’s degree in history and work experience as a summer life guard and a barista at Starbucks. A good career coach can ask the tough questions, answer questions about resumes and cover letters, and help them get started on a career they can be excited about. Spending some money on a good career coach may save you more money down the road - and get your empty nest back!

Anita Flowers is a career specialist and resume writer at Blue Sage Career Strategies. She is available for coaching with young adults or with parents who need to talk through these issues. Contact her here for a free initial consultation.



Feeling burned out? When was the last time you went out to play?

Are you feeling a little burned out on 2017 already? It’s only February and I’m already hearing from clients and friends who are feeling overwhelmed and depressed by faded New Year’s resolutions, work overload, our nation’s political morass and worries about the environment and our world in general. It's clear. We are all going to need some serious self care in this year of anxiety. 

Self care is a trendy phrase these days. Most people think of self care as settling in for the night with a massage, a long hot bath and a big mug of herbal tea (always nice and relaxing) but I like to think of self care as those activities that restore our souls. Restorative care helps us to not just relax but to restore that creative piece of ourself. To literally bring our SELF back to life.

For me, it’s doing the things I loved to do as a child.  Digging in the dirt -even pulling weeds in the garden can be therapeutic. I lose track of time when I’m planting flowers. Maybe I just like getting my hands earth dirty. I love walking through the woods. Riding my bike. Swinging high on a swing set. Playing with fabric scraps or watercolors. A friend says that for her it’s baking cookies, coloring in a mandala book, and restoring old furniture. Another turns up the music, sings at the top of her voice and dances away in the kitchen. Think of it as playtime. I come away from play refreshed, restored, and often ready for a very restful nap!

What is play for you? What are those things that make you lose track of time? What makes you forget about the world of work and politics? What refreshes and restores your soul? These are questions I ask almost every one I do coaching with - because the answers offer clues about your true self, your passions and, sometimes, helps you discover the creative work of your life. 

It’s clear. We have a lot of work to do this year. Make sure you take time to play, that you take time for self care, for restorative care -  so you’re rested and refreshed for the journey of life ahead. 

Gather your courage, strap on your parachute and jump the canyon. Do it!

Gather your courage, strap on your parachute and jump the canyon.

Gather your courage, strap on your parachute and jump the canyon.

Happy New Year from Blue Sage!  Ok, so I’m not actually jumping the canyon in that pic. My husband and I were mountain biking in the canyons of Sedona, Arizona a few years ago - which in itself was a challenge for two cyclists from the South Carolina Lowcountry. We bike on flat land at sea level. The altitude in Sedona is 4500 feet. Enough said. My husband swears he will never mountain bike again. I'm still hopeful. 

It’s that time of year when everyone is making resolutions for the New Year.  I have to admit I’m a sucker for resolutions and goal setting and the beginning of a new year seems the perfect place to begin again. It’s a new year, a new beginning. Anything can happen. Bring it on!

There are two ways to make resolutions. The best advice is to take baby steps. Break your goal down into specific, positive steps that are achievable on a daily or weekly basis. Instead of planning to lose 25 pounds in a month, make a resolution to eat 5-6 servings of vegetables each day or walk 10 miles a week. If you’re on the job hunt, create a goal to make 2 contacts each week (phone calls or emails). Baby steps are a great way to achieve a bigger goal.  Sometimes looking at a big goal be overwhelming and can lead to procrastination and resistance. I encourage all my clients to use baby steps to achieve their goals in life and in their careers. Baby steps are a great plan and a great way to move forward toward your goals. 

But sometimes… you need to jump the canyon. Last year, I jumped the canyon when I created and developed Blue Sage Career Strategies. I’ve done life and career coaching (and before that individual and family counseling) with other groups for years-  but this time I’m completely on my own. My business. My ideas. My success or failure. Jumping the canyon works when you have a plan in place and a parachute at the ready.

 I’ve worked with clients who have taken the leap to start their novel (and are now published authors!), with clients who have taken the risk to talk to their boss and change their job for the better, and with others who have left a profession that was sucking them dry to begin a new creative endeavor that makes them happy to go to work in the morning. It’s a leap of faith that can literally change your life. Is it time to take the leap?

Gather your courage, strap on your parachute and jump the canyon that is between you and the life you want to live. Talk to your boss about a promotion. Enroll in grad school. Buy the ticket to Australia. Ask him to marry you. Do the big thing that scares you but will turn your life in a new and better direction. 

Today carve out a few minutes, find a quiet place and write down your goals for 2017. It’s a new chapter, a new year, a new beginning. Are baby steps best for you - they always work and are a great way to achieve your goals - or is it time to jump the canyon? Either way, resolve to believe in yourself this year and make those dreams a reality. I believe in you. 


Small steps work almost every time. (And this year my resolutions are baby steps!)  Jumping the canyon works when you are ready for a big change and have a plan in place. Don’t forget the parachute! I’ll be writing more about moving forward with baby steps and jumping the canyon for this first week of the New Year.  If you need a coach to help you jump the canyon or work those baby steps, for the month of January, Blue Sage Career Strategies is offering a 25% discount on all coaching packages.