Career Advice

The careers advice section provides practical advice and support for working mums - everything from how to create a CV that stands out, to how you can negotiate a pay rise. Also find out about career coaching, working with recruitment agencies and searching for jobs using social media.

In this guide:

Having children can delay your career aspirations a little, but for many of us, motherhood can inspire us to strive for a more fulfilling and rewarding career once we return to work.

For some that can mean a part-time role to drive a better balance between home and work life; for others, it’s about being a role model for our children by striving to be the best we can in the workplace.

Whatever your motivations, we have plenty of advice and support for you in this section.

Career planning

The best careers advice is to spend time working out what your priorities are. Set yourself clear goals for the future: whether that be to achieve new qualifications, gain a promotion or perhaps leave your job and start your own business.

Once you’ve identified the goal, work out how you’ll get there. What are the various stages you need to get through to achieve it? How will you tackle each one?

The career advice that will guide you will be specific to your goals. Seek it out from people you respect and whose opinion matters to you. They could include a parent, a manager, a friend or family member, or a mentor at work.

CV Tips

If you’re aiming to get to the next level, whether it’s with your current employer or a new one, you should always have an up-to-date CV. Recruiters initially look at a CV for a matter of seconds to identify whether you’re worth further consideration – so you need to get it right.

Here are workingmums’ top tips for your CV:

  1. Clear structure. Have your name at the top, and a short description of yourself and your skills. Then list your work history in date order, starting with the most recent. List a couple of key successes or responsibilities under the most recent roles. Then close with your qualifications and details of your education. Make sure your phone number and email address are easy to find!
  2. Keep it short. Two to three sides of A4 is the goal. The recruiter needs to be able to scan through the details quickly, so more than a couple of lines of text on each.
  3. Personal details. Don’t list your date of birth, marital status, religion etc. These should be irrelevant in appointing someone. Likewise, you don’t have to put dates against your education or list all your earliest roles.
  4. Avoid errors. Some employers will automatically bin your CV if there’s a spelling mistake on it. Get someone to proof read it for you.
  5. Tailor it to the role. The most successful CVs will clearly state skills that are listed in the job description. Increasingly, recruiters use software to review CVs and keyword matching is a fundamental part of this.

See also:

Interview Tips

If your CV’s successful, you’ll land yourself an interview. These can be nerve-wracking, but try to view them as an opportunity for you to interview a potential employer too: it helps to have that bit of perspective. Everyone has had good and bad interviews, but here are our tips to help them be as painless as possible.

  1. Be early. Interviews are stressful enough without the added panic of being late. Leave
    yourself plenty of contingency time in case you get lost, can’t find a parking space or lose
    your keys.
  2. Be prepared. Never go into an interview without having explored the company website.
    You’re likely to be asked what you know about the employer. They’re not expecting you to
    know everything, but it’s important to demonstrate some interest and knowledge.
  3. Be smart. Even at an interview for a trendy tech start-up company where everyone wears
    flip-flops, you need to make the effort. If you look professional, you’ll feel professional.
  4. Be inquisitive. Ask questions in the interview. It shows interest and enthusiasm and makes
    the process a conversation, rather than an interrogation.
  5. Be authentic. Interviewers can tell if you’re being honest and genuine. Don’t oversell yourself or, worse, lie about previous experience. But do make sure you bring out how your skills match the vacancy and what you would bring to the team. That way, you’ll get a job that’s right for you.

See also:


Career development

It’s important not to underestimate the relevance of career development. Many working mums say that their career takes a back seat to family life: but career development doesn’t have to mean working longer hours or achieving the next level. It’s also about evolving your role and your skills, which keeps work interesting, motivating and engaging.

We should all devote time to career development for our own wellbeing. Be clear about what interests you and what your next move might be – and be open about it with your employer. Most companies recognise that giving people new opportunities is a great way of keeping them. So if you’re interested in working in a different area, or being promoted, say so. Most good managers will do what they can to help you achieve your goals.

See also:

How to change jobs to further your career

There’s a common perception that people who change jobs often travel faster up the career ladder. It’s certainly true that moving jobs can boost your salary more quickly than waiting for the annual pay increase.

If you’re looking to further your career with a job change, there are a few things to bear in mind. First, don’t move around too quickly. Some recruiters might be suspicious of a CV showing numerous jobs of under two years’ tenure. This is less of an issue if the roles are all with the same employer, however.

Next, be clear about your next move before you make it. Invest in developing the skills you need to get the right job – that might mean a training course or asking to work on a project that will give you new experience.

Finally, don’t be afraid to talk about your plans. A good manager will want to help you develop your career, whether it’s with the current company or another one. It’s great to play a role in another person’s success.

Career change

It’s increasingly common for people to change careers completely at least once in their working life.

We’re living longer and working longer, we’re caring for children and older relatives, and seeking better balance between work and home life. So there are lots of reasons to seek a new career.

The first step is to work out what your next career could be. Start by identifying what you do and don’t like about your current job to give you some career ideas. If you like working with people, but hate paperwork, for example, that helps narrow down your future path. One option if you’re looking for inspiration is to take an online career test, which will suggest jobs you could consider. The government website also offers a career guidance service.

Then you’ll need to work out what skills, equipment or financial backing you might need to make a move. Do you need to retrain, do unpaid work experience or set up your own company? Whatever your next move, a career change is often the key to a new and happier life. There is plenty of inspiration and job advice on these pages.

See also:

Register with our job board today and complete your career profile. You can also set up job alerts which match your job search requirements. You can also sign up as a candidate with our recruitment consultancy team.



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