By: Christine Anastasia
As we make our way to the end of February in a COVID year, I’ve been keenly interested in learning about how working parents will broach the topic of their careers in the next iteration of life within COVID times now and beyond. For all intensive purposes, we are not through the woods and many companies are still crafting their policies and practices with how to return to their offices safely, efficiently, and effectively. Without everyone vaccinated, there is also big disparity among employees that desire to go back to the office and others that have found a new breather in their home life to balance some of the things that stressed them pre-covid, like a commute. As many companies are still remote at this time, many are beginning to crack the “where do we go from here?” questions around working parents and taking into an account the larger issue of #Wellbeing and #Mental Health in the workforce. It’s not a linear process and it’s quite multifaceted. What is interesting to me, and I hope working parents will ask the question:
Is there a life beyond 9-5 that you can dream up?
Wrestling the storm of 2020 has led working moms to fumble for any sort of stability in sight. For many that can manifest through work choices and take shape in abandoning rocky entrepreneur ships and reaching for a corporate lifeboat.
I'm a seasoned career coach and job search doc expert exclusively supporting working and return-to-work moms, and in recent months, I've noticed an uptick in women abandoning their own businesses to throw their resumes in the race with hundreds of other job-hopefuls for companies that offer more financial and communal stability. But they don’t know how to go about making the jump.
Entrepreneurs are incredibly marketable candidates. Heck, they’ve built a business while growing a family- that’s impressive and shows grit! Here are the mandatory steps to make a successful career shift and land your dream corporate gig.
Over the holiday break, my family watched Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day starring the hilarious Steve Carell and Jennifer Gardner. Alexander's father played by Carell is job searching, stay-at-home-dad. He scores an exciting interview but can't find a sitter so takes the baby along. The scene was excruciating to watch. As Steve struggles to force-feed the interviewers his catchy ideas for the job, his baby eats an entire permanent marker. The interviewers spend the scene gawking at the baby, immersed in the ultimate interview distraction.
I spent the rest of the movie wondering:
“How are interviewers distracted in virtual interviews?”
Job reqs are flooded with applicants right now. One way to get attention is personalize the heading of your job search docs under your name and contact info. Though each doc will have different content, the heading is the perfect spot to market your personal brand right from the start. Here’s are 4 ways to do it:
A Quick + Easy Run-Down on Small Biz, Side Gig Service Agreement Contracts: Tips and Tactics from a Legal Expert
Many side gig, small businesses start organically for women and the wheels begin to turn before the structure of the car is built. A friend asks you to do a little photography or design project, then she tells a few friends what a swell job you did, and before long you’ve got a full-fledged side gig, small biz. It’s exciting and feels good. But there’s an inevitable point in a small business where you begin to venture out of your friend zone to build a more robust client base, there lies the time for visible processes to be set in place for formality and optics sake.
Contracts convey legitimacy and cover your ass, so they’re well worth understanding and integrating into your initial small business set-up. My legal knowledge is limited, like my marriage license and parking ticket procedures are my only exposure to the justice system, so I reached out to my dear friend Whitney; she’s Corporate Counsel for Fortune 500 healthcare and life sciences company and has specialized in corporate contracts for the last five years. She spends most of her days pouring over high-stakes contracts, then interpreting and negotiating these complex documents. She beautiful and knowledgeable-the interview was a crash course in liability– here’s the scoop.
Virtual interviews are a 50/50 blend of excitement and fear. I have coached many women to articulate their unique value in an interview, and a critical piece to a virtual interview prep puzzle is the few minutes prior to your Zoom call. This video will walk you through a quick, seated series with easy breathwork and movement channeling the calm of yoga and the confidence of Power Poses by Amy Cuddy, leaving you feeling ready to share your best self in your upcoming virtual interview.
Want individualized interview prep support? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a mock interview. Here's what a recent client said about our work together:
"So grateful for your help! They said I kind of blew everybody away during the panel interview and that was all because of your help!" -Carly
You got this, mama!
It took me many late nights of below minimum wage pay to stop and think about how I was charging for my services; actually, it took my husband’s inquisition. After I noticed a discrepancy in my work and pay in my side gig/small biz, I began to evaluate and change my pay structure. These guidelines can be applied to a wide range of businesses as they uniquely focused on the small business owner.
Empower your Professional Pause: 5 Career Exercises to Boost Marketability and Strengthen Professional Trajectory while Out of Work
With 22 million out of work and nearly 14% of moms considering stepping away from work due to childcare needs, many moms have an unforeseen professional pause reassess their career and professional self prior to their next step. Here are 5 powerful strategies and resources to help continue strengthening your professional awareness and make clearer career decisions while on a work pause.
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.
A past client aspired to migrate away from corporate HR and into a government agency; I supported her to land a job as a career coach using her abundant knowledge in hiring to serve a host of clients funneled by the government agency. Months later she emailed and asked about supporting executive-level clients, knowing I'd spent years tailoring my services to fit that top-tier professional population. Here's the email I sent her:
Encourage Executives to Reach out to Head Hunters
There are many great independent headhunters and firms that are willing to do a lot of the job search work for executives. It broadens the reach of the executive's network and can help them to identify their next steps because headhunters are acutely aware of employment market trends for the executive level.
Tap into their Network
Many executives have an advantage over entry and mid-level professionals because they've likely been in their field for years and know many people in it. For some executives, there is a lesson in humbling themselves to reach out to those in their network; but, in times like these, there are more people than ever willing to lend help, connection, and support.
Business Cards/Virtual Business Cards
Business cards are a timeless, tangible way to stay top-of-mind for professional connections. It's also a valuable exercise for executives to hone in on their professional tagline. For many, they have so many skills that it is hard for them to nail down their expertise in just a short headline or elevator pitch which is essential in their job search. On a business card, they'll need to include their name | phone | email | LinkedIn URL and a succinct tagline encompassing their professional skill set/accomplishments. I like recommending Vista Print for paper business cards and Canva for virtual.
What are your Competitors Lacking?
Executives have to have an in-depth understanding of their competitors; when he/she loses his job, many competitors try to grab an accomplished executive for that reason (I have several clients to prove it). I advise many of my executive clients to connect with competitors and expose ways in which they can fill the gaps they've witnessed. This is an advantageous move to show value to a potential employer.
Executives can Create their next Position
With a well-known reputation, executives can clearly articulate how they've impacted their previous companies as an expert in a specific niche. Many companies may need that service or skill and not know it; by explaining the worth, a position could be created to build in the executive.
Along the lines of niche expertise, building up consulting gigs is a growing venture for many executives leaving their corporate jobs. It's appealing because they can lend their expertise across multiple outlets and cultivate a professional portfolio that suits their interests. There are lots of gig-based websites that make collecting potential leads a cinch.
Image: Albert Bobbera