I really want a role that is flexible and fits around the kids but all I can find on the internet are school jobs and admin roles – neither of which really appeal. How can I find family friendly roles that interest me?
You’re not alone in your seemingly fruitless search for interesting, family-friendly roles. Many of my clients say they spend hours in front of their laptop typing in ‘part time’ or ‘working from home’ as their key search term.
In my experience, this approach simply brings up a long list of franchise and telesales roles that can leave you feeling disheartened and frustrated. Instead you need to make your job search more targeted by working out what roles and industries you are motivated by, and focusing on the ones that play to your strengths.
However, more importantly you need to bear in mind that approximately 70% jobs are never even advertised – and I suspect this number is even higher for those elusive flexible roles!
So if you’re looking for fulfilling and family friendly work, you need to be creative about your job search. Here are five ideas on how to do this.
1) Spread the word
Word of mouth is a powerful way to find out about potential job opportunities – whether it’s at the school gate, through an ex-colleague or a friend of a friend. So use your existing network to find new contacts in the area of work you’re interested in.
It could be a particular organisation you’ve always wanted to work for or a new role you’d like to find out more about – networking is key to researching your dream job and identifying any barriers such as training or qualifications that may stand in your way.
2) Say ‘yes’ to networking events
Going to a networking event can seem scary at first, but it’s a great way to meet like-minded individuals in your chosen industry. Not only will you have the opportunity to market yourself, you can get inspiration and support from people who are in similar roles.
Practice your elevator pitch beforehand (a 30 second speech highlighting your particular skills and experience) and you’ll feel more confident introducing yourself to people.
3) Harness the power of social media
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are fantastic ways to reconnect with old colleagues and school friends from the comfort of your own home. Some companies now recruit directly via job adverts on LinkedIn… so make sure you know how to search for a job on LinkedIn.
If you have a specific company you’d like to work for – follow them on LinkedIn and see if there’s anyone connected to you (first, second or third connections) who could introduce you to a relevant manager at that company.
Don’t forget to make sure your own LinkedIn profile is compelling so that recruitment agencies doing a search for certain skills and experience will find you. Ask colleagues or clients to write strong recommendations for you – most employers check your LinkedIn profile before you arrive for an interview. (You can read seven simple rules to create a perfect LinkedIn profile here.)
4) Seek out flexible recruitment resources
There are an increasing number of flexible recruitment resources springing up to help mums like you find interesting roles that use your skills and experience.
5) Use your negotiation skills!
My final piece of advice is to that it can be easier to negotiate flexibility or an agreement to work from home as part of your overall package once you’ve been offered a job.
So if you want to do three or four days a week, I would seriously consider applying for full-time roles and securing flexibility as a part of the salary negotiations.
Answered by our monthly career agony aunt Fiona Clark from Inspired Mums. If you have a question you’d like Fiona to answer, please email her at email@example.com or call her on 07789 597209.