I wish I had a dollar for every time I asked a school leaver what next after school and the reply is “I don’t know….”
After thirteen years of trying to discover what you are good at and striving for success it’s suddenly game over.
Your social group will be going in all directions, you no longer have the daily interaction with your teachers and all of a sudden your life is in your hands.
Whether you have chosen tertiary studies, employment, travel or a gap year, no matter what path taken your expectations will now play a big part in your future success.
Many school leavers have unrealistic expectations of a job or career and often quickly find themselves disillusioned with their choices.
When making important career decisions it is important to look beneath the surface and ensure that you have not only casual contact with a profession or industry.
Here is a list of activities you must engage in to ensure that you go into a new profession with your eyes wide open:
The more prepared you are about the realities of a profession the better you will be prepared for the world of work after school.
For access to a free 10 week Career Advice Program please log onto: www.freecareeradvicecourse.com
It has been said that looking for a job is a full time job.
Yes, possibly, however by learning how to use social media and relevant and professional applications you will be well on your being offered a position before too long.
Sourcing Jobs – Don’t ignore the increasing importance of finding jobs on job boards on the Linked In social media groups platform and on business/organisation websites.
If you have found a Job Ad, there may be a contact name of the person responsible for recruiting for the position. Gather the courage and contact that person to have a conversation about the role. Take note of key words used and make notes while you are listening. Then use this language and key words in your application.
Depending on the type of work you have sourced there will be three main documents to prepare:
Resume – a succinct and up to date document detailing your work history in bullet points. Don’t be afraid to mention maternity leave. Be creative here and list all the skills you use as a mother e.g. organisational skills, multi tasking, budgeting, networking, planning, negotiation etc… the list is endless….The best tool to use is a Skills Audit which lists a diverse range of skills that you can tick off and include in your resume.
Ensure dates on your resume link up work backwards from your current role as a mother (Domestic Duties) to previous roles or positions held.
Your Resume should contain information under the following headings:
Application Cover Letter – this your sales document and done well, needs to grab the attention of the recruiting person. Carefully analyse the job ad- rather than repeating the information in your resume address the job requirements and include positions that you have held previously and how they are relevant to the position advertised.
Use formal language and never use jargon or abbreviations.
Don’t forget to ask for the interview at the end of the letter with a statement such as “I look forward to discussing this application with
you personally at a time of your convenience.”
Statement Addressing Key Selection Criteria – Some positions require a response to a Key Selection Criteria.
When you look at the list don’t eliminate yourself from applying because you may not have experience in one or two areas. You may
have skills or experience similar to those required. Follow the layout of the requirements for example, if there are 5 selection criteria 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 etc follow these numbers and respond to each point. Take note of the language used and stay very close to what is required rather than what you would like to say.
Where you have a skill or experience gap mention what your strategy would be to upskill or learn that particular skill or gain knowledge.
Social Media – Social media is increasingly being used as the tool for professional networking and job hunting.
Linked In is an excellent source of network groups willing to share information and some groups have job boards which advertise positions available.
Interviews – if you have done a great job with your application your interview may be a simple meet and greet exercise to see if you what you have said on paper. If you are interviewed by a Human Resources person they always look for how you will “fit into” the team and organisation. A recruiting manager will always want to know about your technical ability and knowledge and how this can benefit the organisation.
Wherever possible take samples of your work such as completed projects, a list of your achievements and other relevant documents into the interview and produce them if you are given the opportunity and think it is appropriate.
Honesty is always the best policy and remember to always relate your experience to what is required!!!
There are two different types of mothers who turn their thoughts to work after having precious time at home with the new addition to the family;
The mothers who can’t wait for the social interaction and intellectual stimulation work provides, and the mothers who are obliged to return to work to maintain career status, contribute to the family finances, and because they feel they ‘have to’.
Welcome to the world of wanting quality time to raise your child and the independence of having your own career, but feeling guilty wanting both- this feeling may prevail for years.
Circumstances play a big part in a return to the workforce being eagerly anticipated or approached with caution and anxiety. Perhaps you have left a job or career that you would be happier without? Perhaps you need to re-enter the workforce in a completely new role? Whatever circumstances surround you there are some key strategies which you can implement to ensure that your foray into the new role of ”working Mum” is a smooth transition.
Here are some key points which can help you gather confidence and be prepared to “sell yourself” again to the labour market/workplace:
Returning to an existing position/employer:
Hopefully you have left your last role on good terms and have remained in contact with your boss or colleagues who have “filled you in” on what is currently going on at work. Perhaps you have been working part-time on projects at home during maternity leave? If so, be very clear about your intentions to return to work so that your employer and colleagues are aware and can anticipate your return. Make sure that you have captured these conversations on email or via an official letter from the Human Resources department or your boss.
Applying for a new position:
If you are applying for new positions become engaged in job search activities well before your chosen time to re-enter the workforce.
Undertake a Skills Audit – this is a comprehensive listing of technical skills, personal attributes and knowledge that you may possess which can be used to extract information to update your Resume.
Complete a Work Values Audit – this is a tool which lists a diverse range of values based on the work you do. For example, working in collaborative teams or working autonomously may appeal to some people and not others. This will become very important when applying for jobs in a new industry – you need to ensure that you will be performing work that you enjoy and in the right environment.
Update your Resume and don’t be afraid to list maternity leave and the relevant dates. Modern organisations and workplaces realise that people have lives and family outside work. If you think this doesn’t apply to an organisation you have approached perhaps they may not be the right employer for you anyway.
Educate yourself about the labour market- read, and research! Read the employment pages in the national newspapers and have a look at job ads, even if the jobs are not available in your local area. Do loads of Google searches on the job websites such as seek.com.au and MyCareer. Start to research jobs that you might aspire to do and learn what the selection criteria for positions might be.
Investigate what short courses are available – these may be the bridge you need to cross before launching into a new career
Join as many social media professional groups you can think of – Linked In being the main source of information – many groups have job boards you could access.
Keep up to date with the local economy- be savvy about growth industries and new businesses. You may be a step ahead of other jobseekers and could just land a job via word of mouth!
Keep an open mind to developing your own business- there are loads of Mums out there who have been successful in identifying a need for a service or product and making a viable business from their ideas or passions!!
Most importantly – ”Dont wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it!!”
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