LinkedIn, connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. I used to work for that company. I joined early doors when LinkedIn was in hyper-growth. The work was challenging but the payoff was the opportunity and the personal development. Rewards were varied and included international travel (picture a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon), receiving a transformation grant towards life-changing medical equipment for a relative and forging some life-long friendships. It was awesome there, and with such rich exposure to new technology and forward thinking working practices, myself and my colleagues were attractive to recruiters throughout our tenure.
In 2016 with a much longed for baby on the way it was the right time to leave, which was followed by a wonderful year off with my newborn son. As we entered 2017 I had the urge to the reinvigorate my career. I was determined to re-enter the workplace, with a willingness to be flexible searching for a role that complimented motherhood. 6 months and 29 job applications later my bubble has well and truly burst.
I’m tempted to detail all the negatives in my story, like the time a CTO arranged to interview me in a dirty pub… following a technical competency drilling I reached out to take a sip of water from a glass on the table but I quickly remembered I was never offered a drink. Perhaps more insulting was the time I travelled 75 miles to attend a 3rd round interview at a company HQ to “meet the team” only to find the team didn’t turn up. No job candidate should be treated with such little respect.
But there have been plenty of positives such as becoming an expert job applicant open to new challenges, growing my network of working parents who have all been excellent advisors willing to share their best practices and dilemmas and getting clarity on what it is I really want to do.
I’ve learned so much on this journey and want to share some steps in my search for flexible work:
- Start by being ready, have your LinkedIn profile and CV up to date.
- Change your LinkedIn headline to “Open to opportunities” so recruiters can see you’re looking.
- Sign up for job alerts on flexible work sites such as 2to3days.com and Workingmums
- Practice, practice & practice your job history as “tell me about your career” is often the first question.
- Don’t be afraid of using the words “flexible” and “job share” there are such companies out there!
- Research the remote working movement on twitter I found 5 relevant remote companies with employees in the UK and EU and sent them all prospective job applications.
- Speak to recruitment agencies, tell them your situation the most you may get is information on industry trends.
- Ask for a video call if recruiters want to meet you, they’re unaware of the challenges of arranging childcare.
- Reach out to your network, someone may know of an opportunity in their team. I managed to get 2 first stage interviews and some contract work.
- I mentioned industry trends earlier, think about retraining in an industry that allows flexibility such as Social Media.
So what am I up to now? Well, I’m retraining with Digital Mums on Social Media Management, a career I’m really excited about. I’m also launching a social campaign on Working Mothers. A subject I have a newfound respect and passion for, celebrating Working Mothers so others can feel empowered and inspired by their stories. Please join me in my next play and support WeAreWorkingMums.