Despite having the heart of a stay and home mother, I’ve found myself having to go out into the workforce as the primary breadwinner for our family. When I completed my program last year and graduated with a what I was told statistically was a very employable career, I thought finding a job would be a piece of cake. Little did I know that statistically employable job description in this day and age would mean only a few dozen job applications being sent out before receiving an interview. To be clear, that’s 46 applications, and 5 interviews at last count.
The market at the moment is a tough one for anyone seeking employment; man or woman, recent grad or seasoned employee. As mothers, women are often torn between whether to venture out into the work force, or remain at home. Depending how tight finances become, and how frugal a couple is willing to get along being, the decision is sometimes in a woman’s hands, and is sometimes made for her. Either way, if she does find herself seeking employment, job hunting is a fate that inevitably awaits her. Thus post is about simplifying the job application process so that a mother can maintain balance while seeking employment.
- Find someone already working in the business. Someone already working in your field of choice is not only experienced in their work, but in what a potential employer seeks. They know what skills a resume should promote and what about their cover letter caught the employer’s attention. Once you reach the interview stage, ask if they’d spend twenty minutes coaching you through potential questions. Build a rapport with this person and don’t feel shy about asking them to forward your resume out further than you’re able to reach.
- Network, network, network. I cant stress enough how vital this is. As a natural introvert, I’ve had to step waaaaaayyyy outside of my comfort zone here, but I’ve already seen it paying off. Reach out to anyone who knows anyone in your community and beyond, and ask if you could send them your resume and cover letter. Each time I send mine out, I add the line “Feel free to forward as you see fit,” because you never know whose eye it might catch. Friends of friends are always fair game. In my book, schlep is absolutely an avenue towards employment.
- Refine your resume. Research shows that employers spend less than 10 seconds scanning a resume before deciding that an applicant is or isn’t candidate material. Take advantage of resume writing workshops. Ensure that keywords match skills sought after by employers in your field.
- Craft a cover letter that presents the true you. When I was first job hunting, my cover letter was very to the point, detailing my qualifications as a potential employee based on my academic and employment history. Shortly after I began job hunting I was approached by two contacts who said to me that my cover letter was too manufactured and needed to tell the story of who I was. I spent some time, and decided to craft a letter that tied in my parenting history with the (quite unrelated) employment field I was entering. To my surprise, employers were interested, and it was with these new cover letters that I began receiving calls for interviews!
- Pace yourself. Job hunting is draining. Each job submission takes time and effort. Leafing through job classifieds often takes more time than the application process itself. With little ones underfoot and a million other things on your mind, it’s important to keep from burning out. Set a quota each week and stick staunchly to it. For myself I found putting in one good morning per wee (about five hours) has brought in slow but steady results, without leaving me overwhelmed by the process.
- Know your employment parameters, and hold them dearly. I recently had an interview at 7:30 am – yup, your read that correctly. It was in a great office with a respected name in my industry. I left the interview knowing however that whether or not I received a call back, this wasn’t the place for me. I am a mother first and foremost, and knew that this would not be an office to provide the flexibility I require as a mother. From this I learnt my lesson; all that glitters is not gold. My role as a mother comes first.
What tips would you like to share with soon to be working moms out there? What factors do you feel have contributed to your employment? Hit comment below and let us know!