September 26, 2014

Tips for Mums returning to work

preparedTNAre you ready to return to work and are worried about what an employer or recruitment consultant will think about your absence from the workforce? I can’t stress enough how important it is to be totally prepared for an interview. Your resume and cover letter was the first impression you made and the interview will be the deciding factor.

Gap in your resume
Please don’t lie as it will always come back and bite you. Include what you have been doing while you have been at home and highlight key achievements, e.g., maybe you organized events for your Mothers Group?  Let the recruitment consultant know that you were busy and active and that you are eager to return to workforce.

Dealing with Recruitment Agencies
Identify the recruitment agencies that deal in your line of work and get to know one recruiter well. The best way to do this is by keeping in touch with them on a regular basis (say, once every fortnight).  Let them know that you’re still in the market and keen as ever, otherwise the recruiter may forget about you.

Before your interview, research the company. Go to the company website and read annual reports. What is their culture? Where is the company heading?

Make sure you dress professionally
First impressions count. Always dress professionally. Keep your jewellery and accessories to a minimum. Don’t overdo the makeup. Carry a nice bag and don’t overpower yourself with perfume.

Be confident
Stand up straight, smile, make eye contact, and shake hands. When you sit, keep your hands in your lap. Nervous people often make gestures and talk with their hands. Use positive body language and nod to show you’re listening.

Don’t waffle
Often nervous people talk too much and waffle. When asked a question and before responding, take the time to think through your answers.

Ask questions
Asking questions is a great way to show that you have done your homework.

Question – Tell me about yourself?
The best way to answer this question is to talk about three things – education, where you’ve worked in the past and some of your past work experiences. This is your opportunity sell yourself.

Question – What is your greatest weakness?
An approach that works well is to talk about an area that was once a weakness and how you improved it.

Question – How do you balance life and work?
The recruitment consultant wonders (and it is illegal to ask) if you have made arrangements for the days when your child is too sick to go to school and/or day care or if you will be the type of person who wants to be out of the door at 5pm. You could say that you are a highly organised person, that have a good back-up system of child care and have already lined up after-school care so that the hours won’t be a problem, etc.

Question – Do you have any questions for me?
If you say ‘no’ to this question, it shows a lack of interest, motivation and curiosity about the company. You should come prepared.

Follow up
Follow up with a thank you and express your interest in the position again.

Interviewing is a nerve wracking experience at the best of times but such a stressful time for mums returning to work.  So congratulations! You are embarking on a new chapter of your life and you just might find going back to work is an extremely satisfying and rewarding experience.

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