Top Items in My Return to Work Toolkit


After three years of being a SAHM and doing side gigs, I started the job application process. Boy, has it changed since the last time I was looking, which was in 2010. All applications are online and there are so many work-from-home positions. The problem is that I am competing against so many others who are in the work field and want to work from home. Whether you are applying for an in-person or remote position, I have a few pointers that I have learned in the past six months – here are my tops items in my return to work toolkit.

The majority of company websites will give an option to use your last application information which saves time. When applying to a new website though, there are so many fields you have to fill out starting from scratch. I made “cheat sheets” in Google docs that I could easily access to make the process faster – plus who can remember all that information off the top of your head?


Why of course the most important document in your job hunt! I recommend re-reading every 3-6 months and revising.

Cover Letter

Almost every position I have applied has asked for a cover letter. This gives me an opportunity to explain my career pause, rather than someone assuming from my resume.

 Job Descriptions

I highlight key achievements on my resume, but most applications ask for a full job description, which can become quite lengthy. This is by far the most used document in my job application toolkit. I would highly suggest using keywords that will be used by hiring committees for quick searches as they scan hundreds of applications. I would also suggest having your employment dates on this sheet as well. Yes, I know they are listed on your resume, but that’s a separate document you would have to open.


Most job listings ask for professional references, but some ask for personal ones. I list both on mine as well as owner/client references that are specific to my job. I list three in each category.

Project Summaries

I wish I had kept this up to date after each project I completed, rather than trying to remember after almost a decade for some of the projects. You may have a different title for your document depending on your position.

Commonly asked questions with bullet point key answers.

After having multiple phone interviews and second virtual ones, I found many interviewers ask some of the same questions. I highly recommend having a few key answers on your sheet, especially for these behavioral-based questions.

Last, which is easier said than done, do not get discouraged. I have applied to over 300 positions and have had less than 25 interviews. The candidate pools are large right now and employers are asking for the best of the best.

If you are not the right fit for them, then it was not meant to be. Do not settle nor be afraid to ask for what you want. Good luck and remember to be kind!

Are you currently trying to return to work after being a SAHM? What are your top items in your return to work toolkit?


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