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?

Clawing my Way Back to Work

A fellow mom recently told me that she had to “claw her way back into the workforce” after spending several years staying home with her two children.

Wow.  That seemed a little harsh to me. I’m sure I won’t have to claw my way back to work….or at least I HOPE that won’t be the case.

Yet it seems that everywhere I look, I seem to find discouragement.  In a New York Times Op Ed – “Why Gender Equality Stalled” by Stephanie Coontz there are sobering statistics:

“One study cautioned that nearly 30 percent of opt-out moms who wanted to rejoin the labor force were unable to do so, and of those who did return, only 40 percent landed full-time professional jobs. In “The Price of Motherhood,” the journalist Ann Crittenden estimated that the typical college-educated woman lost more than $1 million dollars in lifetime earnings and forgone retirement benefits after she opted out.”

In my own experience thus far, I have been rejected in two cases because I was overqualified and too expensive for the salary range that was being considered.  I suggested part-time employment at that same salary, but that offer was not seriously considered.  Ugh…

Why aren’t workplaces more mom-friendly?  Why isn’t there more flexibility?  EVERYONE – moms, dads, children, adults with aging parents, or even people with pets would benefit from a results-oriented workplace that offered more flexibility.   Previously I wrote about the Results Only Work Environment in a post about looking for a lateral move instead of a vertical career move.

As it currently stands, it may be difficult making that lateral move or finding a part time role, leaving me to reach for that next rung on the corporate ladder.  I’m afraid this will mean more hours and much more stress – unless I find something that I LOVE to do and can find a way to balance it all on the go. I’m still optimistic that something is out there!

Can career dreams and kids coincide?

This question was recently posed and discussed in a post by Breadwinning Mama.  I think you CAN and SHOULD still have your dreams, but the pursuit of such dreams may need to slow down a bit when you have children.  As I continue to stay at home and be entertained by my two beautiful children during 12 – 14 hour days, I’ll still hold fast to my career goals while trying to claw my way back to work.

 

Mom GPS Re-calculating

Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver.

Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m the go-to person in our house on where to find any- and everything. It’s a skill many moms have, and I’d like to think of it as Mom GPS (without the annoying monotone voice – I hope).

My husband will say, “Where is my phone, keys, form….fill in the blank here..” and I can typically tell him almost immediately. Sometimes what he’s looking for is literally right in front of his face. Amazing – and he’s the one with the 20/20 vision!

I know it’s because I’m home with the kids all the time that my Mom GPS is so accurate.  I’m helping with toy clean-up, cleaning and putting away dishes, clothes, art projects.  You name it: moms do it!

While my GPS for the everyday running of our house is good, I can’t help but feel it’s a little off for the rest of my life. There’s no clear direction or roadmap for how to best manage parenting, marriage, and some form of work. As of right now, as a professional SAHM, volunteer, and occasional freelance marketer, I feel like something is missing.  It’s not enough, though I’m trying desperately to convince myself that it IS.

I need to spend time re-calculating to understand how to get to a happier destination or at least feel happier on my journey right now.  I can’t really make a u-turn, as a GPS will often tell you to do. Perhaps my detour of staying at home for one year will give me time to find a new path that will work for me AND my family.

How have you re-calculated during your own life? How has your destination or journey changed after having children?

For some other posts about my job hunt and work, check these out: The Wait is Over, The Waiting Game, Getting Rejected, Could it be? Do I really HAVE IT ALL?, Slowing Down my Climb, Why I Miss Work.

The Wait is Over….

and after a relatively FAST moving interview process, consisting of 4 interviews in 2 weeks, I received a call last week, saying they had decided to go with another candidate with more experience.

REJECTED! 

While I appreciated the quick call-backs and scheduling of interviews, followed by my own scrambling for childcare during face to face interview times, I couldn’t help but be disappointed after investing all of that time and effort.  I had dusted off my portfolio, researched the industry and my own field, practiced how I would handle the questions about the 7 month gap in my resume, and composed my own thought-provoking questions for the hiring manager, HR manager, and prospective peers.  Whew…no wonder why I felt let down.  Job hunting is a lot of work!

What’s Next??

After spending a few days in sweats while caring for my kiddos, I enjoyed finding new ventures, while celebrating my own birthday with my favorite people.  It was the perfect antidote to my lift my spirits.  So what am I doing now, you ask?  I am taking eMarketing courses, working to a certification that I can add to my resume. It may come in handy in my consulting work.

I’m also playing around with a FREE online site to learn Spanish. Someday I hope to travel to Spain with my best friend and trek to Machu Picchu.  Having worked and studied abroad ten years ago (one summer in Tokyo and a semester in Vienna), I am a firm believer in having some basic knowledge of the language and culture. These simple phrases can go a long way!  If I hadn’t know some Japanese, I wouldn’t have made it back to my apartment the first night in Tokyo!  Anyway….I won’t be an expert and I have no immediate plans to make either of these trips, but it’s kind of fun starting somewhere.

Beyond that I’ll keep doing my best to stay positive and simply enjoy motherhood.  Years from now I am sure I will look back on this time and wonder why I struggled so.  Until I am the much wiser and older Mama O, I will try to relax & enjoy.

The Waiting Game

in the waiting line

in the waiting line (Photo credit: ButterflySha)

So much of our lives are spent waiting.  We are often waiting for something that can bring about significant change.

Top awaited moments that come to mind include:

  • waiting to get your ears pierced (I think I was about 13 for this)
  • waiting for a love interest to call you back
  • waiting for driver’s license (what says freedom more than that?!)
  • waiting to move out of mom & dad’s house (and then move back in after college – but just for 1 month)
  • waiting to move into your own place that is NOT a dump
  • waiting to get engaged, married, start a family
  • waiting for naptime or bedtime (once you have kids!)
  • waiting for vacation (at ANY age)
  • waiting for job related interviews, call backs, offers, raises

Because you’re waiting, you can often find an excuse to not do something else, thinking I don’t want to commit to X if I heard back from Y and will be busy then.  Waiting doesn’t feel all that productive to me.  It gives a chance for your mind to wander to so many “what-if” scenarios.  Waiting feels reactive, sitting on the sidelines, instead of being in the middle of the game as a proactive player.

While I wait for my job search to move along, I remind myself that it NEVER happens as quickly as you’d wish it would.  My speed versus company speed are often FAR apart!  While I wait, I am reminded of the silly dating rule, when you wait a few days before calling someone back.  Do people still do that?!  I don’t feel I can call too soon, but know I need to proactively follow up to re-emphasize my interest.

While I play the waiting game, I am okay to enjoy my current job as MOM.  I am trying my best to shake off the “worry of waiting” and remind myself to just live in the present, because the present I have is pretty incredible.  It was after all, what I had waited 29 years for: being blessed with my beautiful family.