This is the sixth post in the “when mothers return to work” series. Today we have a guest post from Deb McNair who was an Early Childhood teacher of 17 years, re-skilled and is now a freelance editor and writer. You can find her on Facebook if you happen to be in need of some editing services! Here are a few of her tips for those who want to brush up on your job hunting skills.
During my many years of teaching and editing I have applied for quite a few jobs in both Queensland and New south Wales. Here are my top 10 tips (+1 extra) for job hunting that I hope will help you to find that job you have always wanted.
1. Be a member of, and utilise, the professional organisation that represents your industry.
For example, Qld Dept of Education for teachers, or QCOSS for social workers. Also, subscribe to professional journals in your industry and stay up-to-date with research and new ideas.
2. If there is an organisation you really want to work for, find out the times of year when they seem to take on new staff and be proactive just before their recruitment drive.
This will show your initiative and hopefully impress those who are making decisions regarding new staff.
3. Research the organisation
If you are offered an interview you may be able to ask questions or comment on what they seem to do differently to other places. (This is probably why they appeal to you in the first place!)
4. Subscribe to the job agency emails that meet your selection criteria (ie Select, MyCareer)
This is easy to do and you can see the movement in your sector, and know if particular places seem to be going through many staff, and possibly avoid these places.
5. When you find a job you are interested in, call and find out details of the job before you spend hours on your application.
A friend of mine knew I was looking for work and I assumed that she knew I was available only one day a week. The job was for 8 hours a week, and I thought that this was the perfect job until I called the organisation regarding the hours involved. Unfortunately the 8 hours were going to be spread over three days of the week. Thankfully all I had done by then was spend time on updating my CV.
6. Let friends and others in your industry know you are looking for work.
When I was coming to the end of my training as an editor, a local but global publishing company called my TAFE lecturer asking if she knew anyone looking for a traineeship. My name was put forward and after a round of interviews along with other colleagues, I was offered the job.
7. If you are really keen to find employment, and are willing to move to gain work, apply for jobs in places you think you could relocate to.
When I was just out of university as a teacher, I applied for jobs all over Queensland, and my mother told me I shouldn’t apply for jobs in places if I could not pronounce them! I ended up starting my teaching career in Hughenden, in North-West Queensland and had the most amazing two years of teaching in their local C & K centre.
8. Maintain communication with others in your field, including places where you may have volunteered.
If you are finishing study, you may have done a placement at a workplace that you felt really suited you and your skills. If they are looking for staff in the future, you can apply and your time working for them previously may count in your favour.
I have been head-hunted due to working hard when on placement and treating the placement like a job. I was proof-reading a book about travelling around Australia, state by state. I really wanted to finish my chapter before I left on my last day and lost track of time. The editor came to remind me a few times that I could go but I stayed behind to complete what I had started.
9. Be honest with yourself and look for work in the capacity that you are ready for, full-time or part-time, depending on your circumstances.
When you get that job interview remember to be honest with yourself and your employer about the amount of work you are interested in. I kept telling myself I wanted full-time work when my oldest was nearly one year old, and then spent half his first birthday crying when I was offered full-time work. Luckily for me, the work was flexible and I worked four very full days and had a long weekend every weekend.
10. If you are at a loss about what you want to do for work, look at what you love doing or are really passionate about.
Imagine being a chocolate taster (my dream job), or a social worker (my husband loves to help the homeless), but only you will know what it is you’d love to do
11. One final tip – keep learning!
Life-long learning, professional development, or even taking up a new hobby or skill, is good for the soul. Keep seeking new goals, fresh ideas, and enjoy life!
Be true to yourself, and enjoy the search!
If you are looking for some websites to start your job search (and return to work) I asked Kate Sykes from career mums for her top picks to get you started:
mychild.gov.au the portal for all things childcare
fairwork.gov.au a wealth of information on work / industries
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace relations has a great career advice for parents service (see link)
Do you have any tips to help people with their job search – any experience you have gained? Please share in the comments.
Find your simple,
Return to work series:
Getting started - with Allison Tait (and giveaway of Career Mums book which ends July 19)
While on leave - career breaks
On Flexibility - temp jobs, flexible hours etc