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Flexible Industries Mums Returning To Work

Meet Gemma: A working mum at Hastings Direct

I chose to join Hastings Direct eight years ago because I knew how well they supported and looked after their colleagues, including their awareness of Colleague wellbeing. I’m currently an Academy Team Leader and seeing people develop, especially when they move on to new positions, is what I love most about my role.

Returning to work after being on maternity leave was extremely nerve racking especially because I had continuous employment for six years. So having a year out was completely out of the ordinary for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a really supportive manager, who not only kept me up to date whilst I was off and included me in team off-sites but made returning to work feel like I’d never been away.

My nerves of returning to work were also put at ease by moving from full time to part time hours. Since returning to work, I still have a great work life balance. The flexibility in my part time hours was exactly what I needed to support my family but still fulfil my role. My hours give me the right amount of time to spend with my daughter and be a Mum as well as focus on my career. My shifts also give me the flexibility to set myself and my daughter up for our day ahead, but without being rushed or short for time meaning I arrive happy and ready to start my day.

If you like what you have heard and would be interested in finding our more, please visit Hastings Direct Careers.

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Mums Returning To Work

Time to shine

Thanks to your hard work – and the tips in our previous blog – you’ve made it to your interview. You’ve got the right time and place, are dressed appropriately and have thoroughly researched the company and the role.
Now the real work begins – but don’t panic, we’re here to guide you though the interview process, including some inspired ideas for that question everyone hates…

Mind your (body) language
First impressions count, so make sure you smile and appear confident. Yes, you’re nervous, but take a few deep breaths, sit up straight and enjoy selling yourself.
As well as smiling, eye contact is important, as it shows confidence – but not so much that you make the interviewer sweat. Nodding along to key points is a good trick too, as it makes you look engaged and interested.

Feel the fear – and do it anyway!
Unless you’re a robot, you’re bound to feel nervous before and during an interview, but, believe it or not, this can work in your favour – yes, really.
Think about it – if you’re nervous, it means you care, and that’s what your prospective employer is looking for. Being arrogant or, worse, complacent can put interviewers off – didn’t your parents always tell you that nobody likes a show-off?
But if your nerves are threatening to take over, there are plenty of calming exercises you can do to take the edge off – but, whatever you do, don’t be tempted by a drink (or eight) to give you some Dutch courage.

Question time
Most interviews follow the same structure and use similar questions. With this in mind, you can prepare some answers for the questions you can guarantee will come up. If anything does throw you, take your time to consider your answer, and don’t be afraid to (politely) say if you don’t understand the question.
Obviously, your answers will depend on all sorts of variables, but there are certain things all employers want to hear. Hint: It’s not about your childhood hobbies or that you’re looking for a new job after running over your last boss’s prize poodle.
After you’ve clearly demonstrated your skills and your sparkling personality, you might think you’re home and dry – but then they hit you with the big one…

Do you have any questions for us?
No matter that we all know we’ll reach this point, it can still throw even the most confident interviewee – worryingly, no is still the most common answer.
If you don’t have any questions, you risk coming across as passive or incurious – and neither of these are a good look! Equally, it’s not a good idea to ask about pay or benefits, as this can make you seem more interested in what the organisation can do for you, rather than what you can do for them
Ideally your answer will touch upon something you’ve found out in the interview, or discovered during your research, for example asking about the issues the company currently faces. You want to look engaged and enthusiastic, and also make it clear you’ve done your research.

Final moments
You’ve done your best and hopefully wowed your interviewer, so leave on a high – a big smile, thanks to your interviewer for their time and handshakes all round mean you’ll leave a positive impression.
For extra Brownie points, it’s good practice to email your interviewer within 24 hours, to express your thanks for the opportunity. This shows both basic good manners and also reiterates how important the job is to you – both of which will stand you in good stead.

Hopefully, armed with these tips, you’ve impressed with your ability and charm, and so all you can do now is wait for the phone to ring – fingers crossed!

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Flexible Industries Mums Returning To Work

Taking office…

Do you fancy a career in admin? Or maybe you’re looking to restart your career after time out to raise your kids. Whatever your motivation, we have hundreds of admin vacancies across the country here on MummyJobs, and we’d like to help you bag one of them.

Let’s face it – as a mummy, you’ve plenty of experience organising everyone’s calendars and thinking on your feet, so make sure you think outside the box and sell these skills.

You run a tight ship
Nothing goes on in your family without you knowing. You have everyone’s daily routines mapped out like a military exercise, and you’re the one they all count on to make sure everything runs smoothly.
You know where everybody is at any given time, how they’re getting there and what they’ll need. Parents’ evening, doctor’s appointment, football training – no matter the occasion, you’ve got it covered.
What’s more, you’re an expert at multi-tasking – organising everyone else’s lives while trying to live your own is no mean feat, and rare is the time when you’re focusing on one job and one job only.
And as for paperwork – surely no office can generate more letters that need immediate attention that one household with a couple of kids? Bills, bank statement, letters from school… you’ve seen it all and have the colour-coded filing system to prove it.

Communication is key
Any parent knows that dealing with children is all about communication – whether it’s homework, chores or persuading a reluctant toddler to put their shoes on, you are a mistress of talking people round.
You’re an excellent listener too and have become adept at filtering out the relevant pieces of information from the daily deluge of general wittering any parent is familiar with.
On top of this, all those mornings at toddler group and afternoons at the school gate mean you’re well equipped with the art of small talk – vital skills if you’re in a customer-facing admin role.

Timing is everything
Every second counts when you’re a mummy, and you can manage your workload like a pro. After all, there’s no better training than knowing you need to fit two lots of washing and a shower in before the baby wakes up, and there’s no procrastinating when the shopping needs to be done before the school run.
And if the unexpected happens? Well, you just work round it – ask any parent who’s received a text telling them school is shut five minutes before they leave the house.

All the mod cons
You might not describe yourself as such, but you’re probably pretty technologically-savvy. After all, it’s you who’s set up the parental controls on the iPad and knows how to disable the Wifi.
You can change the batteries in any given toy in under three minutes (less if you’re using a screwdriver as opposed to whichever piece of cutlery you have to hand) and you’ve become a prolific Facebook user – even if it is largely to stalk your kids.
What’s more, you’re a quick learner – when your toddler wants to play with that toy five minutes ago, there’s no time to fish out the instructions, you just have to wing it.

These are all amazing transferable skills that should impress any boss, so don’t sell yourself short – you may not feel you have the relevant experience, but it’s all about making the most of what you have. Make sure you check out our latest courses if you do need a refresh!

And once you’ve bagged that interview, check out our tips on giving it your best.

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High Profile Returners Mums Returning To Work Professional Mums

A friendly request from some Mums returning to work – by Lianne Baker

Dear Recruiter or Hiring Manager

Following maternity leave, us Mums are feeling a bit vulnerable. We have been out of the workplace for about a year, going through pretty much the most life changing experience we could ever go through. We have gone from a career where we felt in control and like we knew what we were doing to a world of nappies, feeding, sleepless nights, late night Googling of unknown reasons why a baby might cry and we have had whole days where we didn’t speak to a single adult.

We were feeling nervous about what life would be like as a working Mum so we were hoping to go back to the familiarity of the job we already knew and were good at. We were hoping to work slightly adjusted hours to give us a chance of being able to put our own baby to bed, whilst still doing a good job. Our employers were so excited to meet our babies and cooed over them but then they asked us to fill out a huge form and then in a meeting that lasted less than 10 minutes, they firmly said no. Just like that, our years of service and hard work came to nothing.

Feeling at our most rejected and vulnerable we are applying to the very few flexible roles that exist. We are sending out our CV’s and meeting all the recruitment agencies. We are squeezing into old suits that don’t really fit anymore whilst connecting with hundreds of people on LinkedIn. We are applying for jobs and preparing for job interviews whilst feeding our babies.

With that in mind we just have a few friendly requests;

● Please take us seriously. We haven’t had our brains sucked out, we have just been busy learning new things.
● Please do your best to stick to telephone call times or be understanding about re-arranging for another day. We have carefully planned these calls around nap times and childcare so if you are 25 minutes late, we might not be able to take your call quite so easily.
● Please don’t ask us to take dramatic pay cuts. Childcare is really expensive and we need every penny we are worth.
● Please don’t pull apart our CV’s and question all of our career choices. Now is not the time to make us feel worthless. Instead give us constructive advice about how to make our CV or application really stand out or ask questions to gather information that brings out the best from us.
● Please don’t force us to take a job that we don’t want. We may be keen to find a new job, but that doesn’t mean we have to take something that won’t work for us.
● Please don’t suggest we change our career path. We have spent years getting to where we were because we enjoy it and want to do it. Having a child doesn’t mean that our ambitions have changed.
● Please don’t ask us (or anyone) to fill out lengthy application forms if our CV isn’t right for your role. What a waste of everyone’s time.
● Please don’t treat us like we are a risky hire. You won’t find someone harder working and more focused than a parent who has to leave on time to do the nursery or school pick up.
● Please spare some time to give us feedback. We have spent valuable time applying for your job, the least you can do is give us some considered and constructive feedback.
● Please consider the hours of your role and whether there is some flexibility around your office hours. Even your ‘flexible’ hours might not be suitable for as many people as you think.
● Please treat us like you would want your own mother to be treated if she was applying for your job. This probably was her a few years ago.

Thanks, from some hardworking professional women who are also Mothers

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Flexible Industries Mums Returning To Work Work Journeys

Aviva : A return to work special…

Hi, my name is Gemma and I recently returned back to work from maternity leave.

My partner and I decided to take advantage of the shared maternity/ paternity scheme that Aviva offered last year. I took the first 6 months off, whilst then my husband took the following 4 months off on paternity leave to be with our daughter.

It was a great opportunity as we both got the chance to spend quality time with her as we knew we would never get this time back!

When I came back to work I mentioned that I wanted some flexibility with the hours I worked, as I wanted to spend at least one day every fortnight being actively present in the development of my daughter.

Aviva were very supportive of this request and with the support of my team and manager we made this happen.

I consider that having my husband off whilst I came back to work, took a considerable amount of worry and stress away from me, as I was able to fully focus on my job and get used to work life again.

Since the announcement last November from Aviva on the increase of time for the shared maternity/ paternity policy agreement, it has made me think how else could Aviva support staff in the transition back to work, as we should be able to offer so much more than just an amended policy.

I have since started a working group with the coaching and people function to try and set up a maternity/ paternity transition coaching service for staff going off and coming back to the workplace. Offering support and guidance back into the world of work.

This not allows us to support our people from a policy perspective but from a human/ family perspective too. The aim of the coaching program is to help employees handle the practical and emotional aspects of a parent transition, regardless if this is your first, second or third child in a way it also enables the parent to develop in their careers post maternity or paternity.

You can find out more about our roles and benefits by clicking HERE

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Mums Returning To Work

How to ace that interview before you’ve even started…

Congratulations! You’ve been applying for some of the brilliant flexible roles on MummyJobs.co.uk and you’ve bagged an interview for your dream job.
Now you’ve got your foot in the door, it’s time to really sell yourself – and, as Benjamin Franklin said, by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail, so make sure you do your homework.

Research the company
It sounds obvious, but interviewers will expect you to know the company, and we don’t just mean the name and address. How many people does it employ? What exactly does the firm do? What are its current projects and past highlights?
Remember, don’t just look at its website – stalk its social media channels too. This can give you a vital insight into how the firm sees itself – and how it engages with its audience. Is it playful? Quirky? Corporate? Does it interact with its audience or retain a sense of distance? Once you know this, you can adjust your interview technique accordingly.

Read the job description
We assume you gave it more than a cursory glance when you sent in your application, but now you need to get to grips with every single aspect. Why? So you can come up with examples of how to demonstrate you are the candidate the interviewer is looking for.
Feel you don’t have all the skills required? Think outside the box – what life experience do you have that could help? Are you willing to undertake extra training? Whatever you do, don’t focus on the negative – it will only encourage the interviewer to do the same.

Plan your journey
Make sure you know exactly where you’re going and how to get there. While being late for an interview is not the end of the world, it’s less than ideal and will create a pretty poor first impression.
Research your route, and how long it will take – consider a test run the day before, and make sure you have a back-up plan.
If the worst comes to the worst and you are running late, don’t panic! Ring the firm, explain the situation and give them an ETA.

Prepare your outfit
Ok, so we’re assuming you know the basics – no flipflops or swimwear, no visible underwear and no ‘comedy’ T-shirts – but in the modern world, it’s not all about power dressing.
If you’ve done your research (see point one) you may have come across staff profiles – try to emulate the style other people have gone for. You want to give the subliminal message that you will fit in, in more ways than one.
A good start is to keep it simple and make sure you’re comfortable – you don’t want to be jangling with jewellery every time you move or panting as your new shirt is restricting your airflow.

First impressions
There’s some doubt over who said, ‘You only get one chance to make a first impression’, but there’s no doubt that they were right.
And it was probably your mum who said, ‘Manners don’t cost anything’, and guess what? She was right too.
A positive, polite demeanour will take you a long way, but don’t save the charm for your interview. Be courteous to the people on reception and any other members of staff – the interviewer may be in charge today, but these are the people you’ll work with if you’re successful. You don’t know the structure of the company, or who talks to who, so be on your best behaviour with a smile on your face from the moment you walk through the door.

The big day
If you’ve followed all these tips, you’re in the right place, at the right time and wearing the right outfit.
All you need to do now is run a brush through your hair, check your teeth for spinach and smile – you’ve got this!

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Flexible Industries Mums Returning To Work

Mums in Tech! Making it work for you…

Research released in December 2017 found that the number of women working in technology has barely increased in a decade.

Search Consultancy found that the percentage of female tech workers increased by a paltry 1.8 per cent since 2007 – with just 15.4 per cent of the nation’s technology workforce being women.

This news is disappointing on many levels, not least because technology provides some of the very best opportunities for flexible working and working from home – the holy grail for many mums.

Remote working is possible now in so many industries, from engineering to customer service, that work no longer means a nine-to-five day in the office. Additionally, many of the roles created by technology, such as web development or social media marketing, can be done remotely, at least some of the time.

Here at MummyJobs, we’re passionate about tech and the positive impact it can have for mums returning to work.

That’s why we’re loving the work of Digital Mums and Mums In Technology, which both provide training courses in various aspects of IT to give parents that flexibility.

“But I don’t know anything about technology,” we hear you cry. But that’s the thing – jobs in tech aren’t all about computing and coding. How often do you post pictures of your toddler looking adorable on Instagram? Or share the latest teenage meltdown on Facebook for your friends to sympathise with?

Then you’re already using tech – you just need to harness that knowledge.

For example, a social media manager has a lot in common with how you live your life on the net – choosing what content to put out there and when to best fit your brand. Digital Mums offers courses specifically aimed at busy mums, training them for a career in social media that can be done remotely and around childcare commitments.

Seven in ten mums who undertake the course find paid employment within three months of graduation, with the figure rising to nine in ten after a year.

For those more interested in working “behind the scenes”, Mums In Technology teaches basic coding to equip students with the tools they need to build websites and get a taste of everything to do with software engineering.

Courses are hosted by partner organisations, such as Three and the Ministry of Justice, on their sites, and, best of all, affordable childcare is available at all training venues. Once complete, the course can pave the way for further training to create a rewarding and flexible digital career.

Of course, there are already women working in the field – and if you’re one of that 15.4 per cent, you’re in a great position. With recruiters actively trying to address the inequality, there has never been a better time to search for a new job or apply for that promotion.

Many mums will find that the ultimate pay-off is a job that can be done at home and at a time that suits you – allowing you to fit in bedtimes and school runs, as well as dealing with any unexpected events that can throw even the most military of operations into chaos.

The possibilities are endless, and we want mums to take full advantage of the tech revolution, and to be rewarded with a work-life balance that works for everyone.

Visit our new Spotlight on Technology section launching Wednesday 17th January to access our latest courses and roles!

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Mums Returning To Work Professional Mums Work Journeys

Mums Make More of Themselves at Screwfix

Being a mother comes first and there may finally be one employer who understands that. Here, Amy tells us about making real friends, working the hours she wants and actually having a life with her son – who, due to his condition, needs a little extra love.

How does Screwfix fit around your home life?

Perfectly. The contact centre is 24-7, so you can choose hours that suit you. I do 5pm ‘til 9pm, four nights a week, which is really good because of my 16 month-old son. My partner picks him up from Mum’s at half five, so I don’t have to pay for childcare. Obviously I’m not doing weekends, which is nice. And they even give you the option to reduce (or increase!) your hours. They’re really good about that and I really feel like they care. My manager is really supportive. My son was born with a condition, so he’s been in and out of hospitals having operations for more than the year of his life. But thanks to this job, I can spend the day bonding with him guilt-free.

Do you enjoy the work?

Definitely. Obviously I take calls, which I really enjoy because you do get to know the customers. You end up having a laugh and helping them at the same time. Everyone who works here makes it a brilliant environment, too. It’s nice to be able to talk to so many different people – older and younger, people with kids and without kids. There’s no set seating plan, so each day I can sit next to my friends or learn about someone new. Plus, you do get a lot of praise here. Each week, we have a score which shows us how well we’ve done. Mine’s been been five out of five for the past few weeks, which I’m really proud of. Sometimes you get left really nice comments from customers as well, which makes you happy to do the job.

“When I first joined, I thought there would be loads of targets, but it’s very relaxed. You’re more genuine to the customers, which keeps them coming back.”

Do you need to know about tools and hardware?

No, they provide all the training. I don’t think it’s about customer service experience, either. I’ve done it as a manager in the past, but there are people who have come here straight out of school. They look at who’s positive, bubbly and friendly. From there, you spend two weeks with your trainer and they go through everything with you. And you decide when you go on the phones. I was on them the first night because I was just eager to learn. They love this because it’s a very rewarding company. They look after their staff and good work is definitely recognised right across the company. They’re determined to help you progress onto bigger and better things, but if you’re content with where you are, that’s fine too.

If you want to learn more about our roles at Screwfix, click HERE

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Mums Returning To Work Professional Mums Work Journeys

Meet Neha: A working Mum at Hastings Direct

“Whilst on maternity leave following the birth of my first child I was made redundant by my previous employer. As you’d imagine, I was full of worry – I had to find a new job as well as find my way as a new mum. However, my worries were soon put at ease when I found that Hastings Direct were recruiting for a part time Team Leader – this was a great opportunity for me as I was able to use the skills I had developed via my NVQ Level 2 in Team Leading.

When I first joined Hastings Direct as a part time Team Leader the role helped me to achieve a perfect home/work life balance. During the day I spent time with my daughter and during the evening and weekends I was able to challenge myself at work to be the best Team Leader I could be. The best thing about working part time was the huge saving we made on childcare. On average my husband and I saved almost £600 a month because of the part time hours I worked at Hastings Direct, and because of this saving; we were able to have two family holidays a year. It also allowed both my husband and I to have one to one time with our child; which we feel is so important.

Having now completed Hastings Direct’s in-house Team Leader training, I feel I have been supported and further developed my career with the company. Since January 2017 I have progressed to a full time Academy Team Leader.
I now work fixed shifts across afternoons to evenings and weekends which allow me to still have a positive work life balance; enabling me to plan ahead and be flexible with my home life. I feel paying for childcare is similar to giving a salary away so I feel very lucky to not have to call on it and I’m able to save while working full time due to my shift pattern. When I work weekdays I spend every morning with our daughter and my husband is with her every evening. So, we’re still saving on childcare as well as spending our one to one time with our daughter. On the weekends we spend time as a family and when I do work a weekend I have a weekday off which allows me to have time to myself, which is also important!

I feel very fortunate to do a job I love while being able to have a great family life – a real ‘win win’ situation!”

If you like what you have heard and would be interested in finding our more, please visit Hastings Direct Careers.

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Flexible Industries Mums Returning To Work

Health(care) and happiness

Thinking of getting back into – or retraining in – healthcare? Great idea, because your life as a mummy means you already have a lot of the skills needed – although let’s not try any major medical procedures just yet.

You’re not squeamish – or, if you were, you’re not anymore
Let’s face it, the first year (or 18) of your precious bundle of joy’s life consists largely of dealing with bodily fluids. Whether it’s changing explosive nappies, dealing with bleeding knees or clearing up vomit after “just a shandy mum”, you’ve seen it all – and got the iron stomach to show for it.
And that’s without even mentioning childbirth…
A lot of healthcare work is similar – granted there’s a lot more skill involved (and frequently, a lot more at stake), but once you’ve got over the first hurdle it will be, to coin an appropriate phrase, a piece of piss.

You remain calm under pressure
A tantruming toddler kicking and screaming on the supermarket floor? The electricity has gone just as you wanted to start dinner? Stuck in traffic and nursery closes in ten minutes? No bother. You’re used to taking what life throws at you and dealing with it in a cool, calm and collected manner.
So, what could be better preparation for A&E at midnight on the last Friday before Christmas?

You are super organised
As a mummy, you need to know where everyone and everything is at any given time. Tom’s at football at six, but Emily needs picking up at quarter to? You’ve got it in hand, just call a mummy friend to wait with him until you get there. Jack needs his PE kit five minutes ago, but didn’t tell you it was filthy? That’s fine, you’ve already got a spare set ready to go.
With all these plate-spinning skills, remembering who needs their pills when, or which patients need blood tests, will be a walk in the park.

You have endless patience – and excellent listening skills
Despite being in a desperate hurry to get to the post office before it shuts, you will happily let your toddler splash in every puddle on the way. And later you’ll feign interest while your pre-teen goes through the Fifa statistics for every player in the English Premier League.
This level of patience and altruism will stand you in good stead should you go into healthcare. In fact, being able to listen is one of the key skills you’ll need, whether it’s letting an elderly care home resident tell you their life story, or deciphering the diagnosis from a half-hour long list of symptoms.

You can get on with anyone
You might hate spending time with your teenage daughter’s bitchy friends, or your pre-schooler’s best buddy (you know, the one who bites), but they’d never know from your behaviour. A warm welcome, a beaming smile and a tinkly little laugh as they gouge chunks from your beloved’s arm – that’s you. And this cheerful demeanour will see you right in the healthcare industry where, let’s face it, you’re often seeing people at their worst.

You are used to keeping strange hours
You’re already used to working through the night tending to someone else’s needs, and snatching sleep wherever you can, so working shifts will be no problem. Just think – those late nights waiting for your teen to come home and the 5am starts with an over-energetic three-year-old will come in useful after all!

Always remember to use these skills when getting back into the workplace – everything you’ve learnt from being a mummy can help support your return to work, and help you excel.

Thinking about healthcare as your next career move? Check out our great roles available now.