Anyone currently looking for work in Perth will know it’s no easy feat – with a competitive market and high-quality applicants in abundance, finding a job is a battle. I have two friends who have just secured full time work after a three-month search. That’s tough.
So spare a thought for mothers looking to return to the workforce on a part time basis. Part time jobs are scarce enough, whereas flexible employers willing to work around school hours seem to have retreated under a bunch of rocks. So how can you give yourself the best possible chance of getting a job when hundreds of other people are looking too?
To start with, as well as scouring traditional job seeking websites such Seek – look at other sites, including Indeed, which often posts job listing from smaller employers, as well as Careermums, which as the name suggests, caters for working mums. Then there’s LinkedIn, where you can create a profile and be emailed when an employer is looking for someone with your skills. And don’t be afraid to put a shout-on on Facebook that you’re looking for work – you never know if your friend's cousin's dog washer's neighbour is looking for workers.
Indeed is becoming a popular alternative job site for employers.
A great job application starts with a great resume. Put some effort into your CV – make sure your skills and experience are relevant to the job and list your roles in order of the most recent. Include a brief cover letter addressing the job you are applying for.
If you have been out of the workforce for a period of time to look after your children, feel free to explain this in your CV or cover letter – according to WA employment legislation you cannot be rejected for a job based on your family situation or responsibilities. You can read more about EEO law here.
You may find that so many employers in Perth don’t bother letting you know the application outcome. Unless you are me – I received not one phone call, but two, along with a message on my voicemail telling me I wasn’t the successful applicant. I think they’ve made their point. While the lack of contact is frustrating, don’t let it get you down – just keep applying and stay positive.
If you are offered an interview – great! There are plenty of little things you can do to prepare for your meeting and make the experience as stress free as possible.
If you’ve organised someone to watch the kids while you’re at the interview, it’s a good idea to have a back-up plan just in case – this might be as simple as asking a friend or relative to be on stand by, just in case your initial plan falls through.
Try and organise as much as you can the night before, such as your outfit, to avoid having to try on 20 different dresses that morning. A great piece of advice I’ve received is to get dressed but wear a dressing gown while you get organised to avoid spilling the kids’ breakfast on your lovely outfit.
It's important to stay positive during your search if you've been looking for a while.
Before the interview, have a look back over the job advert or the job description form and think about some potential questions you may be asked and some examples you may be able to provide to demonstrate your experience. This preparation will really come in handy after a period out of the workforce, especially if most of your days have been spent conversing with toddlers or breaking up fights between siblings (does that count as communication and negotiation skills?)
Tardiness is a pet hate for many employers, and could even prove a deal-breaker. If you are running behind schedule, call ahead. Interviewers understand that traffic jams happen, childcare plans fall through and cars sometimes won’t start, but there’s nothing worse for a recruiter than sitting around waiting for someone who breezes in 10 minutes late.
Finally, just relax and be yourself. Be honest with the interviewer about your family commitments and the hours you would prefer to work – they may be more flexible than you think. Just remember that job hunting takes time but there is a role out there for everyone.