Focus strategically on volunteer experience. Long-term commitments matter most, not writing a check or spending a day at the recycling center. You want to show that you're focused and can follow through on a project over the long haul. Be able to demonstrate a meaningful contribution with a positive outcome.
Face employer concerns head-on. It's important to be able to read the room, to recognize those subconscious cues. And just as with everyone sitting down with a prospective employer, you have to face any doubts head-on.
If you sense that the employer is uncertain of your commitment, make it clear that you've considered all the factors that go into rejoining the work force and you've already made the necessary arrangements at home. Remember that for an employer, new hires are costly -- in time and money. They really need to know that you're committed and serious.
Another concern we heard from employers was that some comeback moms don't keep up to date on technology or the latest news in their field. If you're serious about jumping back in, make sure that you are ready to go on Day 1.
If they say you're overqualified, which is often code for "too old," don't walk away. Instead say, "I'm wise enough to know not to pursue anything that would bore me. I've really researched this position and while I might be more qualified than the average candidate, by hiring me you get more bang for your buck and I get to make an immediate contribution to the company."
And finally, it's critical to really know what you want. If you're looking for a comeback but tell the prospective employer that you have time restrictions -- "I can only work four hours on Monday and I need Friday afternoons off" -- you're actually feeding into the concerns they already have. Instead, think long term. Instead of holding out for the dream corporate job, take a part-time job as a sales associate and work your way up. When you've proved your worth to the company, you will no doubt be promoted to where you want to be.
Tory Johnson is the workplace contributor on "Good Morning America" and the CEO of Women for Hire. Visit her Web site at www.womenforhire.com.