Wednesday, 21 December 2016
Thank you for following our Back to Your Future blog. We hope that we have been a source of advice, support and inspiration to you during 2016.
If you're a returning professional, we now have other ways of connecting with you. If you haven't already done so, do join our Women Returners Professional Network and follow us on Facebook (@WRPNetwork) for up-to-date news and information.
We're taking a festive break from blogging for a few weeks and will be back in 2017!
Best wishes, Julianne & the Women Returners team
Friday, 16 December 2016
- Include a professional-style profile picture.
- Use the first paragraph of the summary section wisely. This is the place to include a strong summary of who you are, what you have done and what you want to do now.
- Don’t hide or ignore your career break. In your profile you can say 'following a parental career break, I am looking to ..'. In your work experience put 'parental career break' with dates. Include any skilled volunteer work, small business and consulting work within this career break section or as a separate role if they're significant.
- To learn more about creating a great Linked In profile see here.
Friday, 9 December 2016
When I suggest interviewing someone for information, my Women Returners’ coaching clients often say:
- I don’t want to waste people’s time
- I’ll come across as nervous and unconfident
- I’m not sure what I have to offer
What is Informational Interviewing?
- It is a way of having a focused conversation with someone in your network in a job, sector or organisation that interests you
- It is an opportunity to gather information about a particular industry sector or role, to get the ‘inside story’ from someone who is working in the area and to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm to find out more
- It isn't asking for a job
- It is an opportunity to build your network by asking for names of others they could recommend you to talk to.
How can you overcome your barriers to Informational Interviewing?
- Do thorough research on the person, the role and the industry.
- Prepare good questions to ask based on what you want to find out about.
- Say your interviewee comes recommended: People love to be flattered if it is genuine!
- Don’t ask for a job as they’ll have to say 'no'
- Ask for their help in giving suggestions, feedback and ideas
- Manage the time; say ‘I only want to take up 20 minutes of your time’; keep to this timing; thank them and finish.
- Thomas Gilovich has found in numerous studies that people overestimate the extent to which they think other people can sense how they are feeling. We appear less nervous than we feel. He calls this the ‘Transparency illusion’.
- He also shows that we imagine others are far more confident than we are. He calls this the ’Confidence Con’.
- So, remember you look more confident than you feel. This is an opportunity to boost your self-esteem by dressing smartly for the meeting, maintaining your professionalism and getting back into the work environment.
I’m not sure what I have to offer
- Try and make the meeting mutual and think about what you can offer them. Perhaps you have some industry insights from former meetings or can recommend a good article or a useful contact
- Ask about them, what they enjoy and like less about their work; how they got into it and what they would recommend. Then listen deeply. People love to talk about themselves if really listened to.
- Do thank them. John Lees suggests that a hand-written note is still appreciated and it is a great way of showing gratitude and making yourself memorable.
This post was written by one of the Women Returners coaching team, Gilly Freedman. It is an edit of a post which first appeared on Career Counselling Services.
Friday, 2 December 2016
Is part-time working in a professional job your Holy Grail? Our friends at Timewise, champions of flexible working, can help. They launched the Hire Me My Way campaign this year to encourage employers to open up more of their jobs to flexibility at the point of hire. They have created an invaluable in-depth guide to finding flexible jobs, including ideas on when and how to ask for flexibility when it isn't mentioned in the job advert: Download it here.
Here are a few of their tips we've picked out, with some of our own thoughts too.
1) Think beyond part-time
Get creative - there are many variations on flexible working. Decide what option/s could give you a good balance of pay, job satisfaction and seniority as well as fitting with your family life or other commitments. In addition to the list below, some companies are now open to you taking unpaid leave in the summer holidays, as this is also a quiet time for the business.
2) Start searching for jobs that interest you
Don't just look at jobs advertised as flexible. Timewise research found that only 8% of professional jobs are advertised as flexible; however 91% of UK-based hiring managers say they are open to discussing flexible working within the recruitment process for the right candidate. Start by finding roles that play to your strengths and experience and put your focus on building and using your networks to find opportunities. Research whether the company you're interested in already has staff working flexibly - if not, they're unlikely to hire on this basis.
3) Lead with what you can offer
4) Raise flexibility later onThe big question: At what point do you ask about flexibility if it's not included in the job advert? Try not to ask during the interview, but after you've been given the offer, or maybe in the final round of a stage-based process. If flexibility has been mentioned in the job advert, it's fine to raise beforehand.
5) Negotiate flexibility realistically
Some jobs aren't suited to flexibility but the majority will have some element of adaptability. Prepare a business case as to how you can make flexible arrangements work. Flexibility is a two way process and it is worth considering what are your sticking points and where you can compromise. The employer needs to feel comfortable with the arrangement too.
- If you're looking for home-working, identify tasks that can be done away from the office and consider any cost savings for the business of remote working
- If you want to work fewer hours/days and the job was advertised as full-time, make sure it's realistic to do part-time or you'll end up doing a full-time role for less pay. If your past experience was at a more senior level, you might be able to make a case that you can do the role in fewer hours.
Posted by Donna
Friday, 25 November 2016
We're working on some advice video clips from Conference speakers and panelists and hope to share these with you over the next month or so. In the meantime, see our website for other returner stories and advice.
Posted by Julianne
Thursday, 17 November 2016
The road to success is always under construction (Lily Tomlin)
If someone had told me 6 months ago that I would be a panelist at the first Women Returners Conference being interviewed by Jane Garvey (of Radio 4 Women’s Hour fame) with two other incredibly talented and inspiring panelists, in front of an audience of nearly 200 women, talking about my successful journey back to work at O2 … I would probably think they were mad!