At the start of the year my husband and I decided to move back to Nottingham (after spending the last seven years in London) with our 18-month old daughter, to be closer to family and to purchase our first home. We are currently living at my dad’s so as to save more money for our deposit.
Whilst in London I worked full time as a manager. I had a lot of responsibility and gained a lot experience. Now in Nottingham I am looking for a part-time role so I can spend more time with my daughter. I have been applying for mostly administration roles, preferably not in the same sector that I was working in as I would like a change, and thus far I have not been picked for any interviews. What should I be doing to my CV or supporting statements to get an interview?
I’ll start this answer by explaining the difficulties as I see them, then talk about how you can best overcome them.
Basically, you’re trying to make quite a lot of changes in your working life – each of them difficult – all at the same time; this could explain why you’re not getting interviews. Good jobs for part-timers are relatively scarce. Recruitment consultancies and many employers also tend to be ridiculously conservative, preferring candidates who stay in the same employment sector and who progress in a straight-line up the career ladder.
Making fewer changes all at once and perhaps changing your approach to job hunting and CV writing could help a great deal.
Firstly, are you so sure you want to take a step-down in your career (moving from management to administration)? Cutting your hours will give you enough “family time”, I’d have thought, and there are relatively stress-free manager jobs. You’d be a more credible candidate for a manager post. You’d be competing with fewer qualified applicants for manager posts than for administrative ones. If you can find yourself a suitable job share partner, you and your partner can apply for full-time posts together as well as part-time posts separately.
How important is it to change employment sector right now? OK, you want a change … but isn’t it more important to get a suitable job relatively quickly and start saving for that deposit?
If you really want to change level and sector, then you need to think about “translating” your career history on the CV so that it fits the new path. If you worked as a Marketing Manager, for example, you might rebrand yourself by saying you maintained and updated office systems, prepared Powerpoint presentations, liaised with customers, etc.
You’re likely to get better results from your job hunting if you avoid the recruitment consultancies and focus on networking or applying directly to employers. Many recruitment consultancies find it much easier to “sell” the more conventional job applicants. You’re not a conventional job applicant because you’re aiming for posts more junior than your past career history would entitle you to and because you’re aiming to switch employment sector. It’s in your interests to find employers who’ll see advantages to them of the unique range of skills and experience you as an individual can offer. As a part-time employee who doesn’t want to waste too much time and money travelling, you also need to tap into all the local good employment opportunities … which means you must be proactive and research them for yourself.