This post is the fourth in the series where I share the information I picked up while interviewing Tanya Clonan from Resumes Plus. She is an expert in the field of job search and resume creation and I have picked her brain on everything from what to do while you are still on leave to what to wear to an interview to what to include on your resume.
For many of us the biggest thing holding us back from re-entering the paid work force has been our desire to return to work and still be around for our kids. many women I know fantasize about the holy grail of jobs – 3 days school hours, well paid and still with the potential to move up. The reality many find is lower paid part time jobs or a demand for full time – get serious – use after school care- roles.
Flexibility is something that can mean many things. It does not have to mean that school hours job, but can mean different things in different companies, different industries, etc
Some variations on “flexible work” include:
- job sharing
- some hours worked in office (face time) and others at home
- work from home, set your own hours to get the work done
- part time roles
- temping so you can work during school terms only
- contract work so you can go full time, but not 365 days
- jobs based on work output regardless of what hours you work (results based)
- talk to the recruiter about it if there is one
- you will need to know a lot about the job to determine how things would work
- ask the company before you even get to the interview stage (don’t apply on your own and then ask)
- draft a very targeted application addressing their criteria as a unit / like one person
- Whether a position can be made into a job share or flexi-time role often comes down to the company structure, the corporate culture and the type of role you are applying for. Not every role can work with fewer hours, job share or work from home so be aware that it is not always a case of an employer just wanting you bad enough to make it work for you.
- Recruiters invest a lot of time in the hiring process and you will find a very annoyed interviewer if you have no intention of working full time and have come in for a full time role. Remember you never know when the next job will be advertised and you do not want to burn any bridges.
Consider temp roles to gain work for weeks at a time and still have school holidays off with your children.
If you manage to negotiate a job with flexibility in terms of where and how you work Jo has a major tip for your initial period working from home (full or part time) – overcompensate!
- Overcompensate from the outset when you have the time and energy to put in the face time, log as many hours as needed etc. Check in often and ensure there is no possibility of your co-workers / boss feeling they are missing your input or wondering what you are up to.
- Respond to emails quickly, answer your phone, work hard to demonstrate that the arrangement works, then things can relax a little. In the beginning they’ll be looking for a reason to possibly cancel the arrangement or point out any failings.
- It is not a case of you working hard and then not working hard, but rather overcompensating at first so there is just no room for them to find an excuse to cut out the arrangement. This gives you time to prove yourself, find your routines and rhythm and establish how you want to move forward.
If you are looking for part time work and aiming for a lower position than usual (but finding it difficult due to being “overqualified”):
- Be clear that you are seeking the role due to family commitments and that the role you are applying for allows you to work in a part time capacity by focusing on one area (or few) of your skill set. This allows for moving from perhaps a manager role to a subordinate role. Show that you want to be accountable for your own performance rather than manage a team.
Further reading and resources:
Family and work flexibility have a great post busting 5 myths about managing flexibly.
Lift recruitment has a great article on negotiating flexibility with your employer.
I recently discovered a new job agency in Australia (School Hours) focusing specifically on family friendly jobs for working parents.
Do you have any tips or feedback on job searches for flexible roles ? Have you had any luck negotiating a part time role or work from home arrangement?
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