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Sally Dhillon, co-founder of Career-Mums, was recently invited by Doyenne Network to share her top tips for preparing for a successful job search, as part of a series of webinars on Job Search for ambitious women.

The recording of the webinar can be viewed here:


Sally advises on an Eight-Point Preparation Plan combined with a Personal Commitment Contract.

Watch the webinar to see and hear more detail on the Eight-Point Preparation Plan which covers the following steps:

1. Job Search Outcomes

2. Positive mindset

3. Preparation time

4. Resources

5. Network

6. Skills refresh

7. Cheerleader squad

8. Self-care & rewards.

The Personal Commitment Plan is an important element to ensure you commitment to making the change that you want. We know that life can get very busy and distracting, so Sally advises that you:

  • Treat your Job Search as a Temporary Job Contract
  • Write up your Preparation Plan (use our pdf, contact us for a copy)
  • Commit to putting in the job search work
  • Show up as your professional self
  • Focus regularly on your outcomes
  • Be clear on what you are prepared to compromise on and review regularly
  • Trust that you will find your ideal role.

If you would like more tailored support to put your Job Search preparation into action, book a coaching programme with one of the Career-Mums team.

We believe that preparation is the key to successfully landing your next, ideal role.

The post How to prepare for a successful job search appeared first on Career Mums.

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Internal Sales Executive, £15000-£25000 + Bonuses

Are you highly experienced in direct marketing / telesales?

Position can be either full time or part time.

Location – Coventry or nearby areas

If you’re the Dynamic Lead Generator we are looking for, you’ll be …

  • A go-getter personality that is ambitious to grow and achieve. Progression in achievement terms and in your career are both key drivers for you.
  • You’ll be working with the largest business coaching firm in the world. You’ll play a key role in enrolling small to medium business owners into one of our most popular coaching and training programmes. Lead generation is the primary focus of your role. You’ll be supported fully in developing several lead generation strategies.
  • You’ll have the ability to follow through to the nth degree, you are a self-starter, innovative, can be given the briefest of project briefs and deliver above expectations. You have excellent communication skills, a positive mindset and love learning.
  • You are experienced in ‘selling/marketing services’ such as recruitment in business to business sales. You are a solid sales performer with extensive leadership skills and ability to tackle challenges head on. Educated to degree level, you will be verbally fluent, and able to develop instant rapport with people, and be extremely likeable.
  • You are described as a self-starter with the ability to grow this already very successful arm of our global company and be a creator of long-term relationships and have a track record in achieving aggressive sales targets. You are smart, hardworking, a trouble shooter and focused.
  • You must demonstrate professionalism, persistence, excellent communication, and negotiation skills over the phone and face to face. You must be a proven performer in sales/marketing with over 5 years of experience in B2B environments. Telesales experience is preferable.
  • You will be responsible for working with the Franchise Partner for the region, assisting them with B2B high-end sales.

We are looking for a ‘roll up your sleeves’ ‘doer’ who is comfortable in an entrepreneurial, fast-paced environment.

If you believe this is the position for you, please re-read this advertisement and submit your CV to Anu Khanna and be ready to sell yourself. We look forward to meeting you …

Apply via email direct to the hiring manager: anukhanna@actioncoach.com

Deadline for applications: 12th April 2019

Our Career-Mums Tips for a successful application:
  • tailor your cv to the needs of this role
  • in your email include a clear statement as to why you are the best person for this role
  • attach your cv in Word format (no longer than 2 pages long)
  • check carefully for any spelling or grammatical errors – always give a good first impression

For more help on updating your cv check out: How to update your CV

Join the Career-Mums Club on Facebook to be the first to hear of similar flexible working opportunities.

Alternatively, if you are an employer and have a flexible working opportunity that you would like to advertise to the Career-Mums community contact nishi@career-mums.co.uk.

The post Flexible Working Opportunity: Internal Sales Executive appeared first on Career Mums.

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Here are our top nine tips to consider when making a flexible working request. The Flexible Working Regulations 2014 gave employees with more than 26 weeks’ service the right to apply for a flexible working arrangement in the UK. An application can be made to the same employer once each year.

For every flexible working request that is agreed, we hear about so many more that are rejected.  The employer has to give a reason why the flexible working request is turned down, based on at least one of the following reasons:

  • planned structural changes
  • the burden of additional costs
  • quality or standards will suffer
  • they won’t be able to recruit additional staff
  • performance will suffer
  • won’t be able to reorganise work among existing staff
  • will struggle to meet customer demand
  • lack of work during the periods you propose to work.

And once a request is rejected this can become a huge issue for the employee as it can have an impact on your relationship with your employer.

We know that the majority of people welcome degrees of flexibility in their working arrangements – and that a lot of employers proudly promote their flexible working credentials – so how do the two marry together for you when you are looking to make a specific request for flexible working?

Whether you are returning to work following maternity leave, want to reduce your commuting time by working from home, need to adjust your normal working hours to accommodate nursery or school collection or tie in with other parenting and caring responsibilities, here’s our top 9 tips for making a convincing flexible working request:

1. Treat your request as a business proposition

In making a decision to accept your flexible working request, your employer will need to be convinced that it is workable from a business perspective.  Take some time to consider the impact to your employer of your request.  What adjustments and changes will they need to make to accommodate your request? Work through the list of justifiable reasons above that the employer could use to reject your request – is your application likely to fall into any of these areas? Show in your application that you have considered the situation from your employer’s point of view as well as your own.

2. Know your organisation’s culture and general approach to flexible working

This may involve a bit of research, but some employers will be more open to flexible working requests than others.  Does your employer generally accept flexible working requests?  Do many other employees have flexible arrangements? Does your organisation have a flexible working policy and any guidelines?  Is the concept of flexible working alien to your organisation?

If they fall into the flexible-friendly category, refer to this and their common practices in your request.  If there is a lack of evidence of embracing flexibility, you are potentially asking for something that they have not had to deal with before, and so you may need to be prepared to create a more compelling business case.

3. Know your reasons and motivation for making the request

Why do you want to change your working arrangements?  What will it give you?  These may be very personal reasons, such as wanting to spend quality time with young children, collect your children from school or nursery at particular times, cut out your commuting time, be more productive by working from home, give you more time to care for an elder relative, pursue another interest … whatever it is, your employer is unlikely to want to know all the details.  They just need to be convinced that you are committed to contributing and performing well in your job role.  When we become a parent or carer it can become all-consuming. When you submit a flexible working request you are doing this in your professional employee role – not wearing your parent or carer hat. Write your request rationally rather than emotionally.

4. Prepare for a negotiation

In knowing your reasons for wanting to request flexible working arrangements, whether it is around the hours that you work, the way in which you work or your place of work, think about your ideal arrangements and then think about what you are prepared to compromise on, if they are not workable for your employer following your initial request.  Demonstrating some flexibility around your request, taking into account your own needs, along with those of your employer, will show greater commitment and understanding.

5. Link your request to your longer-term career ambitions

You may be making this request at a time when you are taking your foot off the accelerator on your career progression whilst balancing changing new family responsibilities, but link this to your longer-term career ambitions – think of your career as being a long game. Showing your commitment to your longer-term career and longer-term contribution to your employer is likely to make your request more compelling. Show your commitment to continuing to learn and develop in your role and function.

6. Consider who the decision makers are

Is this a decision being made by your HR department, line manager, departmental Director, business owner? If you are not sure, then ask the question so that you can ensure that you take into account any objections they may have.  Whilst they are making a business decision, there will always be a subjective and emotional element in reaching a conclusion.  Position your request in a way that will take into account their preferred way of communicating, their likely personal beliefs about your request as well as the business case.

7. Consider requesting a meeting to discuss in addition to a paper/electronic application

We recommend arranging an informal meeting with the decision-makers as part of your flexible working request.  By doing this you are able to present your case personally.  We strongly advise you do this from a position of power and authority (confidently spoken, strong posture and prepared – rather than with apology and lacking in confidence). If you are returning from family-related leave such as maternity, paternity, shared family leave, adoption or caring leave, we encourage you to have a face to face meeting to discuss the arrangements for your return.

8. If you’re application is rejected, then appeal

You have the right to appeal against an application that is rejected.  We strongly advise you to consider appealing against this decision, which will go to a senior leader to hear.  Consider the reasons why your employer has rejected your application, make any necessary changes to your request that you are able to accommodate and carry through on your appeal.

9. And, if all else fails, consider whether you need to become a trailblazer

If your request is turned down or you don’t feel as though you have been treated fairly and reasonably through the process, consider whether you have the energy and passion to become a trailblazer for change within your organisation.

We’re at a stage where there is a huge call for many more employers to embrace flexible working. Some employers and certain sectors and professions are leading the way on flexible working, whereas other organisations are dragging their heels.  Do you want to make a stand for change in your organisation?

If your request is turned down and either the employer’s flexible working policy hasn’t been followed properly or you’ve been given inadequate reasons for why it has been rejected, you may have a case to pursue through an employment tribunal.  Seek further legal advice – ACAS, Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Pregnant then Screwed are great starting points.

You may also want to contact the recruiters listed here – they are all recruiters who specialise in recruiting people on a flexible basis.

We do hope by following our top tips your request for flexible working is successful.

If you would benefit from further support in preparing your flexible working request and helping you to feel more resourceful through the process, contact us for cost-effective coaching support.

Join our Career-Mums community on Facebook for regular support and inspiration as a working parent or carer.

And don’t miss out on our Career-Mums Weekly Boost – direct to your inbox every Thursday.

Career-Mums CIC is a social enterprise helping parents to return to work after a career break and encouraging working parents and carers to have thriving careers and family life.


The post 9 tips for making a flexible working request appeared first on Career Mums.

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Another year has flown by and January 2019 is here. It’s a new year and a new start and many of us have excitedly declared our new year’s resolutions on January 1st.

Are you still feeling pretty positive about your resolutions? Now that we are just over a week in it’s really not uncommon to lose focus on what it is that you want and what’s involved to achieve it. It may be that you resolved to read more, lose weight, get a new job, retrain, build up your confidence? Whatever it is you have set for yourself recognise that it’s important to you for a reason and there will be many people on the same journey as you.

We all set off with the best intentions, however it’s not uncommon for motivation to fade along the way. Every year we get informed that the majority of resolutions tend to get broken on “Blue Monday” 16th January 2017, so just over two weeks from when they are set. If you want to keep focused and motivated for longer than two weeks follow our 5 tips to keep you laser focused.

#1 Be Specific

Many people will set resolutions to say they want ‘more’ of something, more confidence to be healthier, to read more etc. They may seem like motivational goals but these types of goals are too vague. How much more confidence do you want and by when? How will you know you have reached your goal? How many books would you like to read and by when? Write your goal down with a specific date and this will increase your chances of being committed. You will be able to look back at these goals and track your achievements.

#2 Small steps

Breaking your goal into smaller steps can help you to achieve your overall goal. if for example you plan to limit chocolate. You could research alternative healthy snacks you can replace for the times you get cravings. 

When you start to break the goals into smaller milestones that you can celebrate, you’re more likely to continue taking the relevant steps.

Creating a step by step plan can you help you to maintain laser focus on accomplishing one small action at a time. That way you can avoid being side tracked by frustration or negative thoughts.

#3Power through doubt

After a few days and weeks, it’s not too uncommon for negative mind chatter to get in the way. Or for life to get busy and distract you from your goal. 

Often when we try something new, or something out of our comfort zone, our subconscious mind can often bring up feelings of fear, self-doubt and worry.

Recognise these triggers and challenges that may pop up along the way. Replace them with positive affirmations and place where you will be able to see every day, perhaps a screensaver on your phone and or notes jotted around the house.

#4 Keep focus on your end goal

The goal you set last week is obviously important to you. You know that and we know that. However, when we actually start to make lifestyle changes and actions towards our goals it’s also very easy to slip along the way. In fact, it’s totally normal.
It may be that you fall off the resolution wagon, you may have forgotten to go for that walk because you were too tired or forget to read your books over the weekend. Don’t despair, it doesn’t mean you are not able to continue working on your goal. There are plenty of days to get yourself back on track and remind yourself on how good it will feel when you have achieved what you set out to achieve.
If you feel that things are not going to plan don’t worry you can get yourself back on track by reframing what you haven’t achieved with what you intend to achieve going forward. When you choose to give yourself another chance and remind yourself of the positive steps that you have taken, you give yourself a chance to celebrate your progress and focus on your wins rather than getting caught up in a hopeless cycle of putting yourself down or feeling like a lost cause.

# 5 Buddy Up

Now that you have your specific goal, working with someone that understands your overall plan will make it much easier for you.

Work with someone that you trust, this may be a colleague, a friend, a personal trainer. They can give you a different perspective, especially as and when challenges get in the way or will power dips.

Set a weekly challenge that you can work on with them, this will increase your likelihood of commitment and you are more likely not to let someone else down. Buddying up helps with accountability.

They can also help you to celebrate any success, which is motivational and encouraging.

If you are looking to make your New Year’s resolutions last all year and to make 2019 your best year yet then follow these simple 5 tips.

The post Turn New Year’s Resolutions into Lasting Results appeared first on Career Mums.

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If it’s been a while since you’ve been in the job market, the chances are you will need to update your CV. Or, to put it another way, your chances of landing a job that meets your requirements will increase if you update your CV.

There is a skill to updating a CV, and if you don’t have the resources or desire to invest in a professional CV writing service, follow our guide to ensure your CV is the best it can be, to beat the competition and land you an interview.

Traditional Recruitment

Traditional recruitment channels use CVs to match CVs with job descriptions, typically using automated Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).  ATS provide a way of filtering large numbers of applicants down to a more manageable and qualified number ahead of the interview process.  Therefore it is important that your CV contains keywords for the specific jobs you are considering. CVs that don’t contain sufficient keywords will be automatically rejected. Also rejected will be CVs containing tables, logos or other images that the software is not able to recognise.

CVs also need to be able to be scanned quickly by humans.  Again, in traditional recruitment channels, human sifting will be completed quickly typically by a junior team member.  They are likely to reject any CVs that look problematic, such as those showing a recent career gap.  Afterall, a recruiter is looking to find the best, most experienced candidate, ready to fit straight into the vacant role, as quickly as possible.  This is how traditional recruiters achieve their commission targets.

Your CV is a sales document

Your CV is a sales document – the very first paragraph, your Executive Summary, has to stand out – it is your business case setting out why an organisation should hire you.  You will need to tailor your CV for each job application.  Use the job description to pull out the key words to include in your tailored CV.  These words are the specific, technical, expertise-based words rather than the softer, more subjective behavioural traits.  Use the most commonly-used current industry terms to reflect your experience, which may involve some research if you have been out of the sector for a while.

Use active language in your CV rather than passive words.  For each role use active, achievement-based verbs to start each sentence such as organised, planned, created, designed, operated, headed, coordinated, chaired – try to avoid more generalised words such as led, managed and responsible for ….  Be specific, demonstrate what difference you made and impact that you had so that you sell yourself.

CV guidelines

There are many templates available on-line for suggesting how you layout your CV.  Here is a summary of the main guidelines:

  • Length: never more than two pages long, keeping the font size at a normal level
  • Style: write in the third person, avoiding pronouns
  • Personal details: Include name and contact details: phone, address and email address. Don’t include date of birth, photo or your marital status as these are totally irrelevant. Include a hyperlink to a website or LinkedIn profile rather than the full URL to keep the document tidy and information accessible.
  • Executive Summary: this should be a concise, memorable synopsis of you, summarising why you should be hired.  Some people will only read the rest of the CV if this part is compelling.  It is likely to take time to write with lots of editing to ensure that it reflects the key words of the role you are applying for and concisely sums up your business case:  who you are, what you’re offering and what you’re looking for – ideally in 3 sentences.
  • Key Skills: before detailing your work experience, provide a bullet list of your key skills. Use key words from the job description or what you imagine they are looking for, ensuring the skills that you choose can be backed up through your work experience.
  • Work experience: list your work experience chronologically, providing sufficient evidence that you can do the job that you are applying for, ensuing that you showcase the most relevant experience. Rather than listing all your responsibilities for each role that you have had, bring your experience to life, making it interesting for the reader.  For each role, briefly tell the story of what you were hired to do and how you added value. Focus on your achievements and outcomes, including facts and figures.
  • Other information: include details of your education, qualifications, language skills and any other relevant information.  Be wary of including any hobbies and interests unless they stand out from the crowd.
Explaining Career Breaks

If you have had a career break, our key tips are:

  • Don’t make a big deal about it – simply put the dates and “planned career break” to explain the gap in your work experience
  • If you did anything relevant to the role you are applying for during your break, include this information, e.g. voluntary role, retraining
  • If you have taken on other roles during this time, they can be briefly summarised and grouped together focused on any relevant deliverables, so that they don’t compromise your key work experience
  • Avoid language that is too mumsy – it is likely to put recruiters off.
 Further thoughts

Here are a couple of further thoughts on updating your CV:

  • Updating your CV involves an investment in time and focus. Once you have created an initial draft, we recommend sharing it with a couple of people that you trust in your network (preferably individuals that know the industry sector that you are applying to and/or know your work experience) for their feedback. However remember that their feedback is subjective, so take the constructive parts to enhance your CV further, following the above guidance.
  • Ensure that you adapt your CV for each role that you apply for and ensure that you are incorporate the key words that the recruiters – automated and human – are likely to be looking for. Ensure that you showcase your most relevant work experience on the first page of your CV.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile to ensure that it reflects you CV. Your LinkedIn profile is likely to be more generic and not necessarily contain the keywords that a tailored CV has, however ensure that it supports your CV and is a complementary sales tool for getting your next appointment.

Good luck.  If you find that you’ve applied for a few roles without getting shortlisted for an interview, review your CV again in line with these guidelines and consider seeking further help. 

If you would like further support on updating your CV or anything related to securing your next ideal role, get in touch with the Career-Mums team.

Join our Career-Mums Club – our exclusive Facebook group – for daily support and inspiration for working parents and those on a career break.

The post How to update your CV appeared first on Career Mums.

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I spend a lot of time involved in networking, both face to face and on-line.

Networking is all about connecting, introducing, collaborating, sharing, influencing, impacting – essentially meeting people!

Networking has been one of the most significant ways we have grown our Career-Mums business from an initial business idea that Nishi and I had over coffee just almost 4 years ago.  We help our coaching clients and the amazing women in our Career-Mums community find their ideal next role, start their own business or explore retraining opportunities – this generally involves some element of networking …. and most people cringe at the sheer thought of it!

Through our sister business, CM Talent, one of the many ways we support the development of more women leaders, is by teaching networking skills and how to master career development within corporate environments.

Nishi and I developed our business on the back of our own personal experiences of taking a career break whilst our children were young, experiencing loss of confidence, professional status and lack of value, that a lot of other parents and carers struggle with too.  And realising that there wasn’t much support available to get our careers back on track, we decided to do something about it and set up Career-Mums 3 years ago.

In these 3 years, networking is an activity that I have grown to love and I know it is good for business.  Whether it is speaking at networking events, meeting influential people that can introduce you to others, connecting with potential clients or supporting others in their journey, I have become comfortable with networking, and I’d even go as far as to say, “I am a confident networker”.

However, next week, I will be attending a networking (and learning) event in London – Content Live, organised by PR and marketing guru, Janet Murray.

This event feels out of my comfort zone for 3 reasons:

  • I don’t personally know anyone else that is going (apart from Janet!)
  • It’s focused on marketing – I’m a HR and coaching professional – so it’s not my area of expertise
  • It’s in funky, youthful Hoxton, East London … I’m not-so-young and am used to doing my networking these days in the not-quite-so-cool West Midlands

However, I know that being out of my comfort zone is an opportunity for growth and adventure. And with some preparation and planning I can ensure that I make the most of the opportunity.

So for preparation, I am going to heed the advice that we give to our clients when they are feeling out of their comfort zone with networking.

Here are my top 5 tips for preparing for networking when it is out of your comfort zone, and how I will be following these tips:

1. Know your “why”

Understanding my purpose for attending the event.  Janet is a very slick marketeer, so when the tickets went on sale for this event, I decided instantly that I wanted to attend, but it’s important for me to understand what I am going to get from my investment of the price of the ticket, cost of travel and a day away from doing my client work.

My purpose for attending the event is to: focus on developing my marketing know-how, to enable us to grow our business further in 2019, making a positive difference to the lives of more working parents, and to ultimately help me achieve my overall purpose of inspiring more women leaders.

2. Set goals

I can break my purpose for attending the event down into specific goals to enable me to be focused and create measurable outcomes

My 3 specific goals are to:

  • Connect with at least 10 people during the event who could be useful to my business
  • From the speakers and experts in the room, write down the key learnings that can be put into action in our business during the next year
  • Enjoy the event – be present, be involved, be passionate, be open to learning and have fun.
3. Be prepared

I will do my “homework” before arriving at the event to know who is going to be there and what to expect.  Janet has kindly created a Facebook group for attendees and introduced some of the speakers via videoconference, which is a great heads-up.

To prepare further I will:

  • connect with speakers and attendees on Twitter (you can connect with me @SallyDhillon)
  • check out the speaker profiles,
  • create some key questions to ask the speakers about their areas of expertise
  • connect with some of the attendees beforehand
  • (most importantly) check out the logistics for getting there.
 4. Plan follow-up

To ensure that I successfully meet my purpose for attending the event, I will schedule time in my diary after the event to follow-up.

I envisage my follow-up activities will include:

  • Review how I did on achieving my goals and asking what I can learn about myself from this (rather than beating myself up if I don’t achieve them!)
  • Following up with each of the individuals that I connected with
  • Creating on outline of our marketing plan for 2019.
5. Make an impression

First impressions count – especially at networking events, like in interview situations, as time tends to be limited and conversations short.  It’s important to influence these first impressions and represent who I am and our business values.

I intend doing this through:

  • the clothes I select to wear
  • choosing to be in a confident physiological state
  • contributing to the learning sessions
  • engaging openly with speakers and attendees with warmth, openness and integrity.

Sadly I will only be able to attend one day of the two-day event and can’t attend other activities around the event such as branding expert, Phil Pallen’s breakfast session or dinner, due to family commitments – something that a lot of our clients deal with in their careers as they juggle family and professional priorities. My FOMO (fear of missing out) feels huge, but equally I could have chosen not to go at all and then totally missed out!  I chose to believe that I will get out of it, what I put in and intend to make the most of my precious time there.

And interestingly, having now written this blog post, consolidating my thoughts around my preparations for the event, it doesn’t feel so big, scary and out of my comfort zone any more!

Believe me when I say, if I can network successfully, anyone can.

Use my 5 top tips for your next networking event: 1. Know your “why” 2. Set goals 3. Be prepared 4. Plan follow-up 5. Make an impression

And if you have a networking opportunity coming up and you would like some help preparing for it, why not try one of our affordable Confidence Booster coaching sessions.

In the words of Kim, one of our recent clients, who has recently started her own retail consultancy business, having previously worked for a number of large retailers:

“I’ve always been quietly confident and got on with my job, but I’ve never needed to promote myself before and didn’t enjoy talking about me. I didn’t want to “stick my head above the parapet”. Now I’ve experienced coaching for the first time, I’d highly recommend it. I’ve now got more confidence to talk about myself and I’ve built my resilience and impact. I’m already seeing a positive impact on my business and client base. I’m feeling more empowered and have a higher self-worth.”

Are you a working parent or a parent currently taking a career break? 

If so, here are two fabulous free ways that you can be part of our Career-Mums community:

The post How to prepare for networking when it’s out of your comfort zone appeared first on Career Mums.

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Guest Blog: Gemma Lacby

There are many fantastic ways to make money from home now. But staying productive as you work from home can be a huge challenge. The home is littered with distractions such as the pushy cat that tries to compete with your computer for attention, or squabbling children who are fighting over whose turn it is on a game. Working from home can also provide an emotional challenge as a poorly organised schedule can leave you feeling dislocated from society and without any structure or routine in your life. This leads to poor motivation and production. Here are a few steps you can take to stay organised and keep a motivating routine in your life when working from home.

Keep to a Routine

Setting yourself a clear and defined schedule is important for yourself and your family. By giving yourself set hours it keeps you focused and working on the task at hand, but more importantly it gives you a stable and regular routine to stick to. A good routine is needing to ensure that your life still has structure and purpose, and to give you the frame of mind that what you are doing is still work. It also tells your family when they can and can’t come to you for questions, gossip and demands.

Having a set routine, especially in the morning – as it sets the tone for the rest of the day – is crucial to productivity. Having a good routine is so much more than staying organised – it’s about staying motivated, staying healthy, and preventing mental fatigue. Having an established routine makes you more prepared for the day to come. It is also about knowing when to relax – because overworking can have a serious, detrimental effect on person’s energy and motivation. Set routines help you find that balance.

A simple routine may consist of:  

  • Waking up at the same time everyday to keep your bodies circadian rhythms in sync.
  • Doing 15 minutes’ light exercise to wake up both body and mind.
  • Taking 15 minutes to do something that you absolutely love.
  • Then, and only then do you begin the working day.

Separate Work and Play Areas

Designating an area as work is an important step for keeping motivated and helping production. Choosing an area or zone in your house that is ‘the workplace’ helps increase production, as it helps both you and your family conceptualise the fact you are not really home but at work. This shift in perception of the area will mean friends and family will be less likely to disturb you over trivial matters when you are in the work-zone. It also helps you get into the frame of mind that you are at work, not lounging around the house. It is a great way to think and keep yourself focused on the task at hand.

Kelly McCausey, a blogger, podcaster and online business coach outlines the importance of choosing an area that is free from distractions: “Never underestimate the gravitational pull of the fridge or a comfy bed.” It is recommended that your work area be away for potential influences of distraction, like televisions, fridges, and beds. By bringing snacks to your desk you can resist the temptation to go the fridge everytime you get a little bored and control your breaks in a more productive manner. Designated zones also mean you are less tempted to bring work into the relaxing zone, helping you get a refreshing and work free break.

So, a designated work area will not only decrease distraction but increase the quality of your home life.

Set Yourself Clear Goals and Targets

Most workplaces have SLA or KPI targets as it keeps the workforce motivated and focused on their workload. Setting realistic goals and targets for yourself is a key aspect in maintaining productivity. Before creating a schedule, sit down and work out exactly how much work you have to do per day to meet your income expectations. Plan your work schedule around this. These numbers will become your targets.

Goals and targets are also important as a motivational mechanism. You can use the goal you’ve set to motivate yourself when you are struggling with a task or piece of work. Achieving a target can be a thrill and spur you on, too. Having realistic targets means you won’t get lost or bogged down in work. Rewarding yourself with something small is a fantastic motivator.

Deb Bixler, a consult for home based direct sales consultants advise that you “give yourself multiple smaller goals to meet so that you don’t put everything off until the last minute.” Smaller goals will keep things moving quickly and make it feel like you are achieving more. This will be great for maintain and improving your motivation for a task and provide a framework to allow you to switch between projects and keep things fresh.

By implementing organizing a schedule, a work environment, and setting targets not only will you create a productivity plan, but you will devise a plan to keep yourself motivated.

The post How to stay productive when working from home appeared first on Career Mums.

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Securing your ideal job doesn’t happen overnight and involves a lot more than just applying for a job.  Maybe you set yourself a goal to return to work this year or decided that you want to change jobs or set-up your own business.  Maybe you’ve got yourself a plan together, applied for a couple of roles … and then low and behold, it’s the Summer holidays already!

So if you are changing your focus from Job Finder to Chief Entertainer for the school holidays, here are five practical things to do during the Summer school holidays to boost your return to work:

1. Use the change in routine to gain a different perspective

School holidays usually means a change to your family’s daily routine – maybe there isn’t a need to get up so early, perhaps you’re having a family holiday or visiting friends or relatives. Use the changes to your normal family week, to reflect on what type of role you are looking for and review what family life will be like once you’ve secured your ideal job. The change in perspective gives you an opportunity to check whether what you want can be made to work for you all as a family and, if not, make any necessary adjustments to your plans.

2. Network

During the holidays you may have a chance to meet up with people that you’re not normally in contact with during term time.  This gives you an opportunity to network.  Let your contacts (and any new people that you meet along the way) know what you are looking for and how they can help you.  Most jobs are filled by informal networks – someone who knows someone… and we are all so well connected. Even if you think an individual doesn’t know anyone in your chosen field, the chances are they might know someone who does.

It also helps to talk to people about what you are planning to do as this helps to grow your confidence and ability to talk about yourself in a job interview situation.

3. Child-care during school holiday

If you have been a stay at home parent, what plans will you need to put in place for looking after your children during future school holidays?  It may be that your ideal job will be working term-time only and that you’ll be able to have time off at the same time as your children (although these roles might take longer to find and not be what you really want to do).  If not, take this holiday time to plan what arrangements you will need to make to care for your children during their school breaks.  Are there any local activity-based holiday clubs? Can you ask other family members or friends to get involved with childcare or find a childminder?  Do you want to find a role with an option to work from home? Finding affordable and trustworthy childcare for school holidays can feel like an obstacle.  Look at what other working parents do and ask around for suggestions that might work for you and your family.

4. An opportunity to get prepared and upskill

Given the change in family routines, find time to allocate to yourself each day to prepare yourself for the new role – just one hour per day focused on reading a book, watching videos doing on -line research about the profession and/or role you ideally want.  What changes have been made?  What are the latest buzz words and jargon?  How has technology progressed and how can you gain new skills?  All this investment will be well spent when you have your next interview, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate why you are the right person for the role.

5. Prepare your family for your impending change

If you are spending more time together during the school holidays, it could be an ideal time to talk to all members of the family about the changes you are planning to make so that everyone can start making adjustments and being prepared for when you do start your new job.  For young children, it would be helpful to explain in a child-appropriate way about what is going to change and how it might impact on them.  For older children and other adults it may be useful to talk about the changes and how they can help you make it a smooth transition, for example, getting everyone involved in doing more domestic chores to free up some of your time.

Don’t be surprised if everyone isn’t as enthusiastic as you are.  As humans, we can be quite negative about any change, particularly if it is going to affect us.  Give everyone time to adjust and clearly explain why it’s now time for you to make these changes.

If you need further help with boosting your job search to relaunch your career, check out ways in which Career-Mums can help you at www.career-mums.co.uk/returners. Relaunch your Career coaching gives very personal and practical support to find your ideal next role –  don’t leave it to chance, take action today.

The post 5 things to do during the summer holidays to boost your return to work appeared first on Career Mums.

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Men, it’s time to step up, take the lead and become a workplace gender diversity ambassador.

With the introduction of gender pay gap reporting last year, there has never been a brighter spotlight shone on the need to get more women into senior positions and close the gender gap in the UK.

Often seen as a women’s problem, delegated to a distant Diversity & Inclusion team to resolve or put to the bottom of a long list of business priorities … these responses will not have an impact on your gap.

Leading organisations take a different approach seeing it as a key business enabler and being led from the top by the CEO, holding line managers accountable for improving their gender diversity.

Closing the gender gap is going to take a long time to achieve for the majority of UK organisations. And whilst we wait for this to happen, businesses are missing out on the substantial benefits of having gender-diverse teams throughout their organisation.

However, small actions will make a change, which can create momentum and a ripple effect.

One important route to affect change is for more men to step up as gender diversity ambassadors. For some men, this involves letting go of the fear of more women leaders and to embrace and accept the need to change.

In doing so, you will reap the benefits of improved diversity, such as:

  • having a wider talent pool to choose from when hiring and developing future leaders
  • diversity of thought and broader perspectives to enrich your decision-making
  • recognising the value of both mothers and fathers being involved in parenting, to prevent so many women from exiting their careers around the time of parenthood and fathers feeling like disenfranchised weekend-only parents
  • contributing to financial wins for the wider economy – afterall when women work, the economy benefits.
So here’s our top 10 recommendations on becoming a workplace gender diversity ambassador:

1. Support shared parental leave

Encourage male colleagues to take shared parental leave – this will break down the stigma of careers being impacted by parental leave and create a fair playing field.

2. Be a flexible working role model

Demonstrate flexible working and talk about it with your team – show that you embrace flexible working, that it can lead to a more effective work life and personal life as part of a movement to make flexible working more gender neutral – not just something that mums do! This could be as simple as stopping work early one evening per week to actively engage in your own family responsibilities.

3. Flexible working arrangements for your team

Recruit more senior people into part-time roles with flexible working arrangements.

4. Show your understanding and empathy

Demonstrate your understanding and empathy with the complexities of women’s progression in the workplace – put yourself into the shoes of your female colleagues, take part in reverse mentoring or attend our workshop.

5. Be a mentor

mentor and sponsor junior female talent, as well as male talent – don’t make judgements about their longer term career ambitions from their age or stage of life, but offer inspiration and reassurance that they can achieve more senior roles.

6. Be an ambassador outside the workplace

encourage your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, etc to follow their career dreams – challenge any jobs for girls/jobs for boys influences. Talk at their schools, take an interest in their ambitions and help and support them along their journey.

7. Boldly challenge others

Make bold challenges and lead supportive discussions with colleagues who fear greater gender diversity in your workplace. Call out heavily biased decisions and behaviour that isn’t fair and respectful to both genders.  Encourage colleagues to step up and also become gender diversity ambassadors.

8. Walk the talk

Ensure your policies and operating practices don’t exclude parts of your team – think carefully about who is available for social events in the evenings and early morning meetings.  Demonstrate your commitment to gender diversity not only in voice but most importantly through your actions.

9. Review your own team’s gender gap

Understand the make-up of your own team. What kind of gender split do you have by role and by level?  Aim to have at least 33% : 66% split in each category so that all team members feel a level of inclusion.  If you don’t have this level of gender balance, make an action plan to address for when vacancies and development opportunities arise.

10. Reduce your unconscious bias in decision-making

Ensure you familiarise yourself with unconscious bias and how it impacts on the people decisions that are made in the workplace. Take steps to understand and minimise your own bias.

Hiring and promoting talented women is the right thing to do for society – and its an economic imperative” Carlos Ghosn, Chair, Renault-Nissan Alliance.  Take this invitation to step up to become a gender diversity ambassador.  If you are already involved in organisational initiatives to close the gender gap, review the recommendations and see what else you can do and wear your Ambassador status with pride.

To learn more about becoming a gender diversity ambassador and to increase your awareness of the complexities involved in having more women leaders, join us for our next Developing Women Leaders workshop on 20th September 2018 in Warwickshire.



The post How to become a workplace gender diversity ambassador appeared first on Career Mums.

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Attending a job interview after a career break can seem pretty daunting. Fortunately, the rules haven’t changed too much.

As long as you adhere to these following steps, you’ll find yourself easing back into your desired job role in no time.

Research the company

Whether you’ve been away for five months or five weeks, researching the company before an interview will always be an integral part of the process. Spend some time looking at their website and social media pages and noting down what you find.

For example, what are their values? What does their culture seem like? How do they represent themselves? Who are their clients?

Having an in-depth knowledge on the company will not only help you to prepare for the interview, but will show your passion for the company which will only be reflected positively.

Study the job description

Make sure you really get to grips with the job description, as this will help you to understand what the company is looking for in an employee.

If you’re unfamiliar with a few of the details, then perhaps do some further research by looking up similar roles online or asking a friend or old colleague within the industry.

They can fill you in on the necessary details and help prepare you for certain interview questions so that you feel more confident and at ease when walking into the interview.

You may have had a break, but this doesn’t mean you don’t have the skills for the job. Try to match your key attributes to the job description. Were you able obtain similar skills at your last job? Has your recent time off allowed you to gain any experience applicable to the position?

These are questions you really need to be asking yourself so that regardless of your time away, you can still successfully manage to sell why you’re the right fit for the role.

Figure out the dress code

If you’re unsure about the dress code, you can always check the company website to help you get a better idea, or reach out to someone working in the same industry. Alongside this, don’t be afraid of asking the recruiter or hiring manager who organised the interview!

If you find yourself in doubt, it’s always better to dress up than down. Give yourself plenty of time to choose your outfit in advance. Planning ahead will enable you to deal with any possible wardrobe mishaps.

It will also allow you to relax on the day of your interview. The last thing you want is to be rushing and come across all flustered. But, if you plan ahead, you’ll be able to get ready at your own pace.

Prepare your answers

Arguably, one of the most vital things to do before an interview is to prepare your answers. This is particularly true if you have had a break in your career, as employers will want to know why.

Take the time to think about the questions you’ll likely be asked so you can practice your answers. If the interviewer wants you to elaborate on your time off, then always try to be tactful with your response.

Instead of highlighting that you were away for a long period of time, focus on what you achieved, if you obtained any skills and how they can benefit the company.

No matter how questions are phrased, always try to draw attention to what qualifies you for the role and what makes you a good fit. Practice your answers aloud so you can figure out your tone and you can always ask a friend to help.

A few final interview tips

Smile and show yourself to be a positive person. Try not to fidget and avoid any closed off body language, as you want to appear open a friendly. Always prepare a few questions to ask the employer as it shows that you’re genuinely interested in the company.

Attending your first interview after a career break can seem strange, but by planning ahead and preparing your answers, you’ll soon find your feet in no time at all.

CV-Library is one of the UK’s fastest growing job boards, advertising a range of marketing and sales roles across the country. It also owns an array of other career sites, including JobsRetail.

The post Top tips for interviews after a career break   appeared first on Career Mums.

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