One of the realities for women is that of being pregnant and working a full-time job. Actually, even if you were home all day, you’d be working around the house, so it isn’t a new or unusual condition, but for the first-time mother you do need to take some things into account:
- Pregnancy changes your physical needs. You really do need to get more rest and pay attention to nutrition! Now is not the time to pretend you are superwoman.
- Pregnancy changes the way your emotions and brain work. Give yourself space and permission to make some mistakes, then plan to correct the mistakes as they happen.
- Pregnancy changes your insurance needs. Take the time to find out exactly how any benefits you have on the job apply and what the exceptions are for coverage. Don’t assume anything and be good friends with Human Resources if your employer has that asset.
- Pregnancy changes your housing needs. You don’t need to have a fully-equipped nursery at first, but you will need some things like a car seat and a plan for the future. And lots of diapers. Oh, and did I mention diapers?
- Pregnancy changes your future plans. Find out what maternity leave will entail from that good friend in HR. Figure out child care options for your return to the job.
- Pregnancy changes your plans for today. You have a job to do and you know your stuff. Be flexible where you can and prepare ahead for days that will be low-energy. If you can work ahead or get organized, good. If you need a nap or have to put your swollen feet up, it will give you a break to get ready for the next thing on your agenda.
Your employer should not discriminate against you for being pregnant. Become familiar with your rights but reassure those relying on you that you have every intention of being responsible to fulfill your obligations on the job. You aren’t alone; network with other mothers and develop your support group (I went to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). If your schedule can swing it, I highly recommend it! This will be a big change for you but such a blessing!
An executive resume is a top-level tool in your repertoire, and it needs to be maintained or it gets rusty and out of date. When should you update your resume? Here are two clues to look for:
Other co-workers are being promoted to positions you qualify for. If you have been taking classes, getting training certifications, or regularly attending seminars in your field and it isn’t on your resume; maybe it should be. Movement within an organization often depends on the applicant making sure their assets are on file and actively seeking positions. Do coworkers know you are interested in other levels in the organization? Do you keep tabs on what is opening up and apply for positions that interest you?
It has been a year or more since you looked at your resume. It’s a good idea to have regular resume updating scheduled, just like you regularly have your car maintained. It’s a lot easier to do a tune-up than it is to replace an engine that blew out because of poor maintenance. In the same way, regularly looking at your executive resume and tweaking it to reflect who you are today keeps you aware of where you could use some extra training to qualify for that next level in your career.
Executive resumes are important to maintain accurately. The top levels of the workplace require investing in the best tools available, and your resume is a snapshot of the package you offer as an executive in that workplace. If your resume needs to be updated to an “executive resume” level because you have reached that rung in the corporate ladder, it might be a good idea to consult with experts. The Executive Resume Package has a good overview of the process involved. Even if you decide you can do this yourself, it will give you an idea of the things you need to consider when updating your resume.
Today’s reality is that a large part of the population are looking for jobs— not just “a job” but also jobs that have better benefits, jobs that pay more, or jobs that have a chance for advancement. As a recent article pointed out, a lot of job-hunting even happens ON the job! That means that there’s a lot of potential for making some common job search mistakes:
- If you are currently employed, do your job well. You want to keep in mind that your boss and co-workers are the people who will be contacted by potential employers for references, so as much as you can, make those references positive.
- If you are currently employed, don’t waste your employer’s time or resources. You are not being paid to hunt for another job, you are being paid to do your current job! Use your breaks — and your own equipment — to do any job searching. Not only is using your work computer kind of rude, it also is kind of dangerous because your employer owns the history and any files on that machine. (By the way, where is your resume stored? I hope not only on your work computer!) If you need to use the company fax or printer, get permission and don’t abuse the privilege.
- If you are currently employed but hoping to change, be tactfully honest about your goals. The impression you want to give is, “I want to keep up with the trends in my field” not, “this job stinks so I’m bailing.” Keeping your resume updated, continuing pertinent training, and networking maintenance are common sense ways to accomplish this. There are good reasons why you should always be hunting for a new job. But there are equally good reasons that job hunt should be one that doesn’t jeopardize your current position.
Do you treat your online presence as if it were your small business? You should! Otherwise, you may end up like the unfortunate guy in this recent story on LearnVest titled, “Saving Face: Does Your Online Reputation Need Managing?” He googled himself to prepare for a job change and was unpleasantly surprised.
The article has some very good points about determining whether to invest in an online branding service or dealing with the details yourself. I think that once you learn how important your personal brand is in today’s employment market, you’ll want to at least invest in some online branding/profile development coaching so you are equipped to do this important task.
So, why would I say that your personal brand is your business? There are two ways to read that statement:
- Your personal brand is your BUSINESS because you are selling yourself when you put out resumes and apply for jobs. Many of the marketing tactics employed by small businesses are applicable to individuals. Get a lot of positive information on yourself online and there’ll be good stuff on those first pages when they search for you.
- Your personal brand is YOUR business because you are ultimately the person responsible for seeing to it that your name, image, and reputation accurately reflect who you are. You can delegate all you want to, but ultimately the information that initially comes up on a search engine when your name is entered determines what that searcher thinks of you. So be proactive and make those search engines work for your benefit.
“Networking” is that fragile web of connections you have with other people and volunteering can strengthen that web in several ways. Here are some of the advantages a voluntary approach to networking can add to your career:
- Maintaining activity through volunteer work in your field keeps you in contact with potential employers and co-workers. When an opening comes up, they remember meeting you at several events. They also remember what you were like to work with! Staying active is good for you too, because it keeps you in the habit of productivity.
- Voluntary experience is still experience on a resume. The experience problem has a solution, and that solution is gaining experience by doing productive activity in your field or in areas that can translate to a potential position. Organizing a fund raiser for the SPCA shows leadership skills, administrative ability, and community awareness: it doesn’t only apply to animal rescue.
- Working as a volunteer often leads to working for a paycheck. More than one position has been created because the organization realized a volunteer who was going to leave as soon as they found a job somewhere else was a worker they wanted to keep. It’s also a good way to be in on job openings before they are posted publicly.
Volunteering does not have to be a full-time position. In fact, it’s generally not a good idea to fill your unemployed days with overwhelming voluntary activities when you should be working on your job search. But it definitely has a place in your career path and investing in carefully chosen volunteer work will enhance your networking in ways that will benefit you.
Sometimes your salary isn’t paying quite enough to cover all you wish it could. Maybe you got promoted to an exempt position that looks good on your resume but now that lucrative overtime bonus is gone. You could have been offered benefits that you truly need (medical insurance, for instance), and on paper it all looks good, but in your wallet there’s not enough cash.
This is where that “B” word — Budget — comes in to help.
All the experts start with an honest assessment of where your money is currently going. If you don’t know where your money is currently going, how can you control its flow? Write down all the ugly reality on paper so you can look it in the face and deal with it.
The problem isn’t automatically solved by a higher salary; it is solved by controlling the way you spend what you earn.
You can see this in the sad tale of many lottery winners whose huge chunks of money are gone in a few years or the way even high earners go bankrupt. This means that you have hope because you can control your cash flow by choosing to work with the real numbers instead of the dream numbers.
Look at the real numbers and come up with a real plan and follow it.
- Do some research on money management. There is so much wisdom and free advice or seminars out there that your head will spin, but the reality is you have to make it work for your situation.
- What are you willing to sacrifice to keep that steady salary or those benefits?
- When you make the choice NOT to spend, remind yourself that you are saying “no” to this thing and “yes” to controlling your cash flow. You are the boss of your spending.
- Pay the minimum on your bills if you have to, but add a little when you can. Somehow, that extra gives you a sense of power.
- Allow yourself some “mad money” that you can spend on whatever you like, but when it’s gone, it’s gone until you get paid again.
- Somehow, keep saving for emergencies. Even a little bit adds up!
- Sell some stuff and put the money on the biggest bills.
- Come up with ways to reward yourself that don’t cost money.
Keep a reminder of your plan, and your goals, in view. You aren’t “stuck” with that salary, you have chosen to stay in the position for a reason. Is your reason still valid? Can you ask for a review and a raise? Are you utilizing all the benefits you have? You may need to sit down and crunch numbers with others who are involved with your money decisions, but it will be worth the time and effort that takes to get everyone on the same team in this!
There is a growing trend in job interviews: Using a video conference format that allows an employer to interview candidates from many areas without the time or expense of travel. While you do save on travel time and expense, it still will take some time, and possibly some investment, to be prepared for an online interview.
Prepare your equipment.
- Is your microphone adequate or would a quality headset be better? The sound is going to be very important, both to hear your interviewer and for you to clearly be heard.
- How is your camera placed? Generally, cameras above the monitor allow you to see your interviewer’s face while you are looking toward them, but a camera off to the side or below you will give the impression you aren’t paying attention, or worse, give them a look up your nostrils.
- What is showing behind you? A chaotic pile of junk will not be a good backdrop, and light from a window, lamp, or adjacent room can cause glare.
- Is your internet connection capable of the demands of a video conference? That’s a lot of bandwidth and data use, you don’t want to freeze, drop the call, or pixelate in the middle of impressing them.
- It’s a good idea to set up everything and do a couple of test runs with a distant friend if you can. That friend can help you work out the bugs before the real call.
- All the interviewing tips you read will apply to an online job interview. The only difference is in the technology being used.
- Dress appropriately. It will make a difference in how you act even tholugh they can’t see your fluffy slippers.
- Do your research and be ready to ask and answer questions.
- Be ready about ten or fifteen minutes before it starts, and don’t forget any time zone differences!
Your ability to be as cutting edge as your potential employer is a good sign that you will be able to fit into the corporate team. Even if you don’t get this job, you will be ready for the next online interview request, and that is probably going to happen soon for an active job seeker!
Writing a resume is an important part of your job search. Not every job is a desk job, but every job involves some of the same skills and when you can show on your resume that you have honed these skills, potential employers will look again at your information even if you lack “experience” in the particular job you are applying for.
The ability to comprehend instructions, both verbal and written, is basic to every single job description. Equally important is the ability to express yourself in ways that get your thoughts across clearly. If you can’t communicate effectively, it doesn’t matter what the rest of your skill set is because you won’t be able to explain or show it. The way your resume is written is the first indication of your communication skills. Paying someone else to write your resume still shows that you value professional-level communication and know how to access it.
There are fewer openings for someone who lacks the ability to use a computer or the interest to learn. Even a job that is primarily customer service or manufacturing will often involve some work with software or device. Being able to submit your resume electronically if it is asked for shows a basic level of technical competence.
The dictionary defines competency as “having requisite or adequate ability or qualities”. A competent person is able to start a task and carry it through to completion. A resume that is poorly written, has typographical or spelling errors, and out-dated information reveals a lack of competency. A resume that is accurate, current, well-written, and polished demonstrates your adequacy for any job.
When was the last time you carefully assessed your executive resume? Perhaps you should take a look at your resume, and see if it is “on target” for the 3 important factors that every “executive” resume has:
- Your executive resume is your image. Impressions are formed, wrongly or rightly, about your professionalism, abilities, and more. Everything plays into “image”, much of it subconsciously. The color of the paper, choice of font, style and standard of writing, organization of information, and more, form a picture of who you are as a prospective employee.
- Your executive resume is your calling card. This is how a prospective employer refreshes their memory about the facts concerning you and your potential for their organization. This is how that prospective employer has the information needed to contact you when they want to call you in for an interview. Everything on your executive resume should be accurate, up to date, and easy to find.
- Your executive resume is your responsibility. Even if you hire a professional resume service, yours is the final say in the finished product that is distributed. The level of professionalism and polish of the executive resume reflect the candidate for the top jobs. That candidate — YOU — are assumed to have approved every detail of your resume.
Because these important factors are a reality in every resume, it is highly important that your executive resume is “on target” as reaching the goal of a professional executive standard. Executive positions do require a higher standard of resume, one that is worth the higher compensation such positions are paid. It is your responsibility to make sure that the “image” and “calling card” in your resume meet these higher standards.
Have you ever considered the ways your work comes home — and your home comes to work? One writer recently shared her thoughts in this article titled, “4 Things Business Taught Me About Parenting — and Vice Versa” and I am sure, if you thought about it, you could come up with more things you have learned as you balance career and family.
The reality is that we aren’t compartmentalized into two separate persons who are exclusively at home or exclusively at work. If you are having problems at home, it is easy to bring that stress into the workplace, and the same tendency applies from work to home. But there are good things that overlap, too!
- “Treat others the way you’d like to be treated” is a basic childhood lesson that never stops being the right thing to do.
- “Be responsible for your behavior” applies pretty much everywhere I can think of.
- “Apologize when you are wrong” gets everybody on the same side, and the same team, and frees you to deal with the problem.
- “Time out” gives a chance to regroup and respond instead of react. You don’t put a co-worker in the corner, but you could suggest a break and set up a meeting to discuss solutions.
- “Nap time/Snack time” acknowledges the physical limitations of a child. But grownups, too, have physical limitations and repeatedly working through lunch or excessive overtime will reveal that fact.
- “Respect each other’s boundaries and differences” goes past teaching kids to get along and into the working world with people from many backgrounds and perspectives.
- “Do your chores”, or your to-do list, because sometimes you just have to get it done regardless of how you feel about it.
What are some things you have learned from work and applied to home, or vice-versa? I’d love to hear from you!