Ace Your Job Search While Managing Virtual School: A Practical Itinerary for Work Re-entry Success in COVID Times
Your kids are set up with the correct Zoom logins, pencils, headphones, and snacks; feeling confident, you walk over to your workspace, open your computer, and pull up your dusty resume… “MOM!” The juggle to land a good-fit position while managing your kids’ class schedules and homework picture submissions are overwhelming, to say the least. But in mama fashion, we can rise above this and find a way to move toward an exciting next step in your career. Here’s a day-long itinerary to guide your career transition success:
Early Morning Grind
Rise and resume grind. You'll find the advice to wake up before the kids on most mom-success lists, and in your job search-it's critical. Research backs an early rise work session as it aligns with your circadian rhythm’s most focused and productive time of the day. Jon Rumens, creator of FocusMe app recommends, “you should try to perform your most complex tasks, the ones that require the most brainpower and focus, in the morning. That’s the time of day when your brain is working at its best.” Work with your resume is invaluable for job search success and it requires an immense amount of concentration. Full disclosure, after years of attempting to churn late-night resumes, I primarily work on them in the early morning and the results are better for it.
To answer one of the most FAQs posed to all resume writers: YES! You absolutely must customize each resume per position. A recruiter can see a generic resume from a mile away; it is the top gripe I hear from talent acquisition professionals. Take the morning to focus on one job that’s the perfect fit for you. Use Jobscan to ensure appropriate keyword implementation. Add accomplishments to your job descriptions. Create a forward-focused summary that informs the hiring manager exactly why you are the perfect fit for the position. Then take a big sip of coffee!
A Coffee Buzzed Morning Routine and Networking Session
Making progress on a strong resume will launch you in the family morning routine feeling accomplished. This is important because your kids need you to be present and positive as they begin another day pretending to be in school, confined to their desk chair and computer screen. For the mid-morning chunk of the day when you’re an on-call teacher, step away from your resume and start networking.
Networking in the midst of a quarantine? It can happen. Maybe easier with all the at-your-fingertips touchpoints to broaden your connection base paired with a heightened necessity for human connection via screen time. This late-morning chunk of the day reports more optimistic social media interaction than any other time. Here are a few realistic goals you can set for yourself that will make a big impact on your job search.
Spouse Shift Change, Interview Practice
Since COVID, the only consistency in my life has been virtual interview coaching sessions. In a recent chat with a top Talent Executive Recruiter she quips, “we are all learning” in regards to virtual hiring. I remind my clients of this-it’s not easy for interviewers or interviewees. One thing you can control is your confidence, and the more practice you get, the more comfortable you are when you’re thrown to the Brady Bunch face tiles of professionals to impress. I recommend setting up 2-3 phone calls a week (perhaps when your spouse completes their day of work to limit interruption) to keep you in the swing of conversing professionally. This may take the shape of an old co-worker listening to your elevator pitch, a quick informational interview with a mutual friend at a targeted company, or a mock interview with a career coach (such as myself). You need a time that is blocked off for you to practice articulating your value in the workplace. This will be beneficial for your job search and your emotional strength to move toward your next steps.
Late Night Recap
The kids are in bed and there's a 50/50 chance of dishes waiting in the sink. Take the final bookend of your day to reflect and plan. Journaling about your successes or just chatting about the ups and downs with your spouse is beneficial to grow and move forward. Look ahead to your early morning by identifying the position you hope to pursue and loosely brainstorm how your experience and skills fit. Then turn off the job search and do something completely unrelated for yourself.
In a recent episode of the Women @ Work podcast, Daisy Auger-Dominguez, Head of HR at Vice Media, suggests setting intentional times to commit to your job search. Your day may not comply with this suggested itinerary but prioritizing intentional pockets throughout your day to devote to your job search and self-improvement is essential in propelling your career forward.