New research suggests that around 730,000 of us have lost jobs during the coronavirus lockdown, making the prospect of returning to work even more difficult for mums out there. We consulted the experts at Daisy Chain the new FREE online platform for parents to match and connect with flexible employers to give us some advice on how to kickstart the job search.
Update your CV and Linkedin page
It might seem a bit obvious, but it’s key that you keep your CV and LinkedIn page up to date. LinkedIn is the go-to site for all recruiters / HR people so this must be updated. Make sure you ask for recommendations on LinkedIn – it’s great that potential employers can see you have positive testimonials on your page.
There are lots of helpful tips on the internet on how to write your CV, but my main points would be:
- Structure it so it’s easy to read.
- Use keywords effectively to beat applicant tracking systems.
- Have a powerful personal statement.
- See yourself as a brand!
WeAreTheCity gave a great brand formula that I thought I’d share.
Your brand formula:
Strengths + Passions + Core Values + Visual / Behaviours
= Personal Brand
Here is an example brand statement:
I am XXX. My strengths are XXXX. I am passionate about XXXX. My core values are XXXXXX. I demonstrate this by: XXX, XXX, XX.
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Remember the skills you can offer an employer now you are a parent; they are invaluable to businesses! Check out the Daisy Chain blog to help you identify some of those skills.
Be confident in your applications and follow them up with a phone call. People are so nervous of the telephone which, I have to admit, I am sometimes too. If I have to make a call that I’m nervous about, I stand up, put a smile on my face and go for it. Just remember if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Virtual interview tips
Be confident in your interviews – whether that be via Zoom or face-to-face. Just remember to be prepared.
- Find out what the job entails, have a copy of the job description.
- Research the company, online and in the news.
- Find out who works in the team: do your research on LinkedIn, look up the interviewer’s profiles, find out whether you’ll be facing an interview panel or just one person.
- Look at their business competencies – teamwork, leadership, creativity, problem-solving – skills that are embedded in the website/job description to help prepare your questioning.
- Be fully aware of their hiring process and what the next steps will be.
- When planning, use a list or a mind map to write things down.
- Find out what type of interview it is, ask your recruiter or the person who will be interviewing you. Is it an informal chat, a competency-based interview, or a strength-based interview?
- Have your post-it notes, lists, CV, and other support aids to hand to help you feel confident. It won’t hurt or to pause for a moment to consult these if you need to.
- Test the technology to feel confident ahead of your interview. What is the platform for your interview? Skype, Zoom, etc. Do a dummy run. Look at where the camera is, the background behind you, make sure there’s nothing to distract them from you.
- Record how you sound and how things look. Shut doors and windows so your interview space is as quiet as possible.
- Dress smartly, as if you were going to a face to face interview.
- Body language is key when it comes to a virtual interview – how do you want to come across, what message do you want to convey? Enthusiastic, a team player, committed to job? Be mindful of how you are being perceived.
- Don’t forget to smile, lean forward, show you are interested in the conversation.
- Where possible look at the camera to maintain eye contact.
- Shrink your own profile or move it to the corner of your screen so you’re not directly looking at it.
- Try to speak slowly and take your time. If you need to pause, do so to focus your thoughts.
- Questions – plan answers to some questions you think you might be asked.
- When thinking of questions, use the STAR technique to prepare your answers, using examples to help you come across succinctly. The Situation, the Task, the Action, the Result. Think about the situation, the task in hand, the specific action(s) you took, and the subsequent result. Think about articulating what you might have done differently or would do to improve the outcome next time.
- Think about what kind of messages you want to get across – choose three things you’d like to talk about within the interview.
- Make sure you get your message across without taking over the interview.
- It’s very important to ask questions. If you get to the point where you had questions but they have already been answered, let them know that, but try and come up with some new ones. What are the challenges in the role? What do you see as the challenges for this role during the first three months? What are the challenges in the team? What’s the culture of the team/business? Try to ask at least two questions.
- See it as an exploratory meeting and an opportunity for you to find out more info about the role, the team, and the business too.
Video or voice note
Do a video or voice note and send it directly to the hiring manager. Make your video or voice note tailored to that particular company and job and give them a taster of you as a candidate and why you would be perfect for their role. Think back to your Personal Brand.
Practice makes perfect
Practice makes perfect. Get a friend to interview you and ask you questions. If you are doing your interviews via Zoom, Skype etc., practise getting logged in, and consider what your background looks like. Think about your outfit, and dress as you would if you were going into a face-to-face interview.
Have notes, your CV and questions to hand.
Remember to research the company and the team who are conducting the interview.
We are a friendly community of parents (98% women) and employers who are looking to help parents find jobs and help employers find talent. It’s free for parents to join and we have lots of helpful tips to help you with your job search.
Talk to your network
The power of your (and your extended) network is so strong – so use it. People like helping other people so don’t feel bad for asking for help…just think that will make them happy by helping you. Like I said before – if you don’t ask you don’t get. You may have the chance to help them in return too.
Happy Daisy Chain making!