6 Tips for Job Hunting as a Mom

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Despite having the heart of a stay and home mother, I’ve found myself having to go out into the workforce as the primary breadwinner for our family. When I completed my program last year and graduated with a what I was told statistically was a very employable career, I thought finding a job would be a piece of cake. Little did I know that statistically employable job description in this day and age would mean only a few dozen job applications being sent out before receiving an interview. To be clear, that’s 46 applications, and 5 interviews at last count.

The market at the moment is a tough one for anyone seeking employment; man or woman, recent grad or seasoned employee. As mothers, women are often torn between whether to venture out into the work force, or remain at home. Depending how tight finances become, and how frugal a couple is willing to get along being, the decision is sometimes in a woman’s hands, and is sometimes made for her. Either way, if she does find herself seeking employment, job hunting is a fate that inevitably awaits her. Thus post is about simplifying the job application process so that a mother can maintain balance while seeking employment.

  1. Find someone already working in the business. Someone already working in your field of choice is not only experienced in their work, but in what a potential employer seeks. They know what skills a resume should promote and what about their cover letter caught the employer’s attention. Once you reach the interview stage, ask if they’d spend twenty minutes coaching you through potential questions. Build a rapport with this person and don’t feel shy about asking them to forward your resume out further than you’re able to reach.
  2. Network, network, network. I cant stress enough how vital this is. As a natural introvert, I’ve had to step waaaaaayyyy outside of my comfort zone here, but I’ve already seen it paying off. Reach out to anyone who knows anyone in your community and beyond, and ask if you could send them your resume and cover letter. Each time I send mine out, I add the line “Feel free to forward as you see fit,” because you never know whose eye it might catch. Friends of friends are always fair game. In my book, schlep is absolutely an avenue towards employment.
  3. Refine your resume. Research shows that employers spend less than 10 seconds scanning a resume before deciding that an applicant is or isn’t candidate material. Take advantage of resume writing workshops. Ensure that keywords match skills sought after by employers in your field.
  4. Craft a cover letter that presents the true you. When I was first job hunting, my cover letter was very to the point, detailing my qualifications as a potential employee based on my academic and employment history. Shortly after I began job hunting I was approached by two contacts who said to me that my cover letter was too manufactured and needed to tell the story of who I was. I spent some time, and decided to craft a letter that tied in my parenting history with the (quite unrelated) employment field I was entering. To my surprise, employers were interested, and it was with these new cover letters that I began receiving calls for interviews!
  5. Pace yourself. Job hunting is draining. Each job submission takes time and effort. Leafing through job classifieds often takes more time than the application process itself. With little ones underfoot and a million other things on your mind, it’s important to keep from burning out. Set a quota each week and stick staunchly to it. For myself I found putting in one good morning per wee (about five hours) has brought in slow but steady results, without leaving me overwhelmed by the process.
  6. Know your employment parameters, and hold them dearly. I recently had an interview at 7:30 am – yup, your read that correctly. It was in a great office with a respected name in my industry. I left the interview knowing however that whether or not I received a call back, this wasn’t the place for me. I am a mother first and foremost, and knew that this would not be an office to provide the flexibility I require as a mother. From this I learnt my lesson; all that glitters is not gold. My role as a mother comes first.

What tips would you like to share with soon to be working moms out there? What factors do you feel have contributed to your employment? Hit comment below and let us know!

As Friends, As Fellow Mothers, As Sisters

We as women are rooted by nature in the relationships we form. I remember, and likely always will, how in third grade someone came between me and my best friend, causing a huge playground fight, leaving me feeling ostracized and alone. To me, this was the first experience with true loneliness I recall having faced.

Growing up with brothers and forever wishing for a sister (haven’t let that go yet, waiting on sister in laws someday soon ;) ), I’ve found friendships to be fundamental to my life. Girlfriends become your confidantes, cheerleaders, shoulder to cry on, ray of sunshine, and most of all, sisters.

And it took me time to appreciate this unique relationship.

I recall speaking to a mentor some years back about communication within a marital context, and she said to me, “You’ve got to know that a husband can never be what a female friend gives you in life,” driving home how different the communication is between a man and wife versus a woman with other women. She wanted me to know that while some women come into marriage putting everything they’ve got into the relationship, it is essential that she continue to renew and strengthen her friendships.

No one knows you like your girlfriends.biscuits-box-break-1091

We tend to relate to those who are most like us. Perhaps because this allows us to speak without fear of judgment. Perhaps because we know that we can speak without explaining ourselves. Look around at your friends, and you’ll notice that many of the qualities which they possess are similar to the ones you seek to emulate.

With these similarities as the basis for so many of our friendships, we communicate openly, allowing them into our lives, and giving of ourselves to them. We build mutual understandings and appreciation. We are able to know when the other needs reinforcement, whether or not she has communicated the need verbally.

Relating on the same plane.

As we progress through seasons of life, we face new struggles, and new triumphs. Whether it’s a child’s first word, first day in school, or struggles in raising disciplined little people, we look for others who can offer advice and words of comfort, and then cheer along with us in success. Whether we’re stay at home moms or balancing a profession and parenting, we need to know there are others sharing in the journey with us.

Taking time to share the coffee.

As busy as things get, we have to make time for ourselves, and for our friends. For as long as I can remember, my mother has scheduled coffee dates with her college friends, now of more than forty years. It’s a powerful message for me. As young mothers, the relationships we build now are for life. The time we take to go out with other women allows us to rejuvenate and refuel ourselves so that we can give back more productively to our family members, becoming more accomplished without burning out.

Hold your friends near and dear.

The further I’ve come in life, the more I appreciate my friends. They are truly the sisters I never had, and I cherish these relationships. Ladies, wherever you are out there, you have my heart. You are my strength. Thank you for being you.

Go out today and tell a friend how they’ve added to your life.

 

What Makes a Mother

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Have you ever thought about it?

Each of us is created of a partnership: G-d + father + mother = life.

Whether we have grown up with a mother in our lives or not; whether we have had a close, nurturing relationship with our mothers or not; whether we have known a biological mother or not, now is our time. It’s time that we take hold of this opportunity to become the best mothers we can be.

Mothering is not about perfection – it’s not about having doilies on dustless furniture like our Bubbies had, or about having dinner on the table every night at five o’clock before the kids go bouncing off the walls. And let me share a secret, it’s not even about having professional photos of the most adorable smiling faces all in matching outfits.

Being a mother is about being the nurturing woman you are, with the capabilities the Good Lord Above has blessed you with. HaKadosh Baruch Hu has given YOU strengths, weaknesses, talents and shortcomings that make you unique and valued as a member of the klal.

What we hold within us is incredible potential. We are mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, friends, and we are changing the world one step at a time. Perfection is not measurable. Perfection is being you.

Now go be YOU and love yourself for it.