Jeans Day Everyday!

The wonderful small business for which I work part-time has adopted a casual work attire policy.  It literally can be jeans day everyday – except when there is a customer meeting.  This is great, right?!  It IS quite lovely and easy to throw on a pair of jeans and a nice top on mornings when I head out the door for work.

However, having been accustomed to business professional dress (wearing suits almost everyday), I’m struggling to put together work-appropriate jeans-wear that couldn’t also be worn to a bar for going-out.  I’m not a huge fan of skinny jeans, which also happen to be my date-night jeans.  Other pairs of jeans are part of my “mom wear” on my work from home as a full time parent days. I hope they don’t look too much like Mom Jeans!

Similar to mom jeans, a few months back I wrote about my “mom bob.” While I LOVE being a mom, I don’t want to have a hairstyle or clothes that immediately scream MOM. As a 30-something mom, I feel stuck in a fashion rut.  I can’t dress like a 20 year old, though I’m not ready for the cat applique sweatshirts either.  Plus shopping with a toddler and pre-schooler in tow is not exactly enjoyable, so I avoid it at almost all costs, just wearing what I have in my closet.

Maybe I need to upgrade a few pieces. Maybe I’m not digging the skinny jeans and flowy tunics that remind me of too much of maternity wear. Maybe I need to consider shopping in different stores. Maybe I need to just wear yoga pants and throw my hair in a pony tail and hope that What Not to Wear is secretly watching me. I totally understand why moms are helped by that show so often because it’s so easy to put everyone else in your family first, leaving your appearance and clothes much lower on the priority list.

Any advice dear readers / blogosphere?  Do I need to search Pinterest for outfit inspiration?  What casual work attire do you think works best?

Advertisements

HIRED! 5 Keys to Getting my Job

I am thrilled to share that I have been HIRED!!

As I mentioned in my interview questions post, I have been looking for a job for about six months.  I’ve interviewed three to four times with a few companies, while others ended after one phone interview.  AT LAST I found a job that is a great fit for me both professionally and personally!  It is a part-time marketing management role for a small business that is located only about 25 minutes from my house.  I am very excited to get out of the house two days a week (and send the kids to “school” a.k.a daycare), and still have three days at home with the kids.  It really is the best of both worlds! Without further ado, here are the details on how I was hired.

5 Keys to Getting my Job

1. Be honest & open – I was extremely nervous about explaining the year gap in my resume, when I was staying at home with my children.  A friend once said, “Well, just tell employers what you were doing, and if they don’t like it, then you wouldn’t want to work there anyway.”  She was spot-on with this comment!  And chances are you are NOT the only parent that is employed at the company, though sometimes it may feel like you are blazing your own trail!

I was careful in explaining that I returned to work after having my second child, but left due to the long commute and wanting to stay home with both children while they were so young.  After my son reached one year, and I had the opportunity to do some consulting work, I realized that I missed the professional interaction and development.  This led me to take eMarketing classes online and some additional consulting work that again re-affirmed that I wanted to work outside of the home.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask – There were very FEW official part-time marketing roles that were being posted, so I did participate in the recruitment process for several full-time roles. Knowing that flex hours would be important to me, I asked about the “flexible work environment” mentioned on the job description during a phone screening call with HR. I was pleased to learn that this particular company offered flex time, meaning you had to be at work during core hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but could schedule your 40 hours as needed (and according to your job’s requirements).  I was impressed and certainly wasn’t penalized for asking that question early on in the process.

In my new job, my boss has provided the flexibility for me to set my own hours as long as I’m there for the Monday morning meeting.  With a little schedule juggling at day care, I will eventually work Monday – Tuesday from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m., giving me enough time to pick up the kids and get dinner going at a reasonable time.  YAY!

3. Be prepared –  I tailored my resume and cover letter to highlight experience and skills mentioned in the job description, showcasing accomplishments in three areas of direct marketing, event planning, and online projects.  This helped me past the first hurdle and led to an hour long phone interview and subsequent face-to-face meetings.  To prepare for these conversations, I researched the company, industry, and came armed with numerous interview questions and several marketing ideas. Being prepared with ideas was key in showing that I was truly interested and motivated to help their business grow.

4. Timing is everything! I tapped into my network to hopefully get some inside info on new opportunities, but ultimately I reacted to job posting in my search. After applying to a job, I could not control how quickly a company would respond to my application – if they chose to respond at all.  I played the waiting game and was rejected too.  Some companies had to wait several weeks or months due to budget issues or simply the time of year in responding.  When I finally received an email or call, I had to dig back through my job search folder and emails to remember the job opening!  I did have time on my side, waiting for the right opportunity, while still working as a stay-at-home-mom.

I actually was interviewing for my part-time job and a full-time job with a flexible working environment at the same time.  The day I received my offer for the part-time job, I was contacted for a second round of face-to-face interviews for the full-time job.  After some soul searching and talking it over with my husband, I needed to choose the opportunity that was best for me and my family.

5. Do what makes you happy – When I reflected on both potential jobs (though I only had one offer at this time), I considered which job would make me more happy.  The part-time arrangement AND the industry were more fun and interesting than the full-time position. Ultimately, I chose what would make me happiest!

In your own experience, what are the keys to getting hired?

The BEST Interview Questions

Since I’ve been actively searching for jobs and interviewing for about 6 months, I thought I’d share some of the best interview questions that I ask prospective employers almost every time. I often try to personalize the questions as much as possible based on my pre-interview research.

General Questions

  1. How long has this position been vacant?
  2. How would you describe the company’s structure?
  3. How would you describe the company’s culture?
  4. How does this role interact with other departments?
  5. How long have you worked for this company?

Hiring Manager Questions

  1. What do you see as the biggest challenge for this role?
  2. What are the most important responsibilities for this role?
  3. Is there a typical day in this job, and if so, what does it look like?
  4. What is your vision for the company / department?
  5. Could you provide an example of projects for the areas outlined in the job description?
  6. Describe your management style.
  7. What excites you about coming to work each day?
  8. How do you evaluate performance?
  9. What are your short term / long term goals for this position?
  10. What are specific skills that are important to be successful on this job?

Colleague Questions

  1. Tell me about your role here.
  2. How will this position affect you?  Your group / department?
  3. What do you enjoy most about your job?
  4. What do you least like about your job?
  5. What types of issues are considered critical by your manager?

What do you think of this list?  What’s your favorite interview question?

Stay tuned for future posts on my job search!

 

All I Really Need to Know about Parenting I Learned in Marketing: Rebranding

As I see so many parallels between my professional background and parenting techniques, I’ve decided to write a series of posts on All I Really Need to Know about Parenting I Learned in Marketing.

Part 1: Rebranding

It’s something that companies turn to when the current brand has grown a little stale, as a way to reposition it for future growth and success.

Little did I know as a marketing student and professional how useful rebranding would be as a parent. A parental rebranding is an amazing way to help motivate your children’s behavior with a positive and fun approach to everyday tasks. Words like special, magic, bonus, play, and adventure should be used LIBERALLY in any parental rebranding.

Just take a look at some of my favorite parental rebranding examples:

1. Dessert becomes Lunchtime / Dinnertime Bonus and even has it’s own theme song:

    Lunchtime bonus, Lunchtime bonus, Lunchtime bonus, if you eat well (clap, clap).

2. Get over here and clean up now becomes, “I need a special helper.” or “Will you be on my clean-up team? We then sing the Wonder Pets Teamwork song together.  My daughter even asked me to be on her clean-up team this week.  Score 1 Mom / CEO! 

3. Trip to the store or a walk becomes a Secret Adventure. Dress-up costumes, sunglasses, magnifying glasses, flashlights, and backpacks are excellent accessories for secret adventures.

4. Reminder to use manners becomes use the magic words.  I’m sure you’ve heard and used this one before!

5. Broccoli becomes Green Trees. Who doesn’t want to pretend they are a giant chomping on green trees?

What things have you rebranded for your family?  I’d love to hear your own creative ideas!