After having Lalya in 2011 I didn’t return to my career of classroom music teaching, quite happy to be a full time time Mummy. I have loved the early years with my children, and it is what has worked best for us as a family. But now that they are 5.5 and nearly 3 years old and, as you may have read in my recent post, we need to save some more money, I am pleased to be getting back to some part time work to make a financial contribution, and to just get myself out there a bit again.
I have been grateful to be pretty successful in getting back into the world of work (part time and low paid I must admit) without too much bother so I thought I would share my advice for buoying up your CV and therefore improving your career prospects whilst full-time mummying!
1. Work a tiny bit. I know I just said this is aimed at FULL TIME parents and I know if you are a full time Mum or Dad you might not have the opportunity to find childcare to allow you to work at all but if it is possible to find a couple of hours a week or a month it will pay dividends in the future. Use what you have and do it on a small scale. To elaborate… I used to be a music teacher, so the obvious thing for me to do was start a couple of casual piano pupils. Another of my stay-at-home mum friends, was a cleaner at a business park, so she found just two private clients to work for just three hours each, every other week. A third friend was an interior designer with a big company and started doing a couple of one-off private consultations for private local clients. And an old colleague of mine who was a drama teacher helped out at her daugter’s school and her sons nursery doing drama workshops and helping with the nativity plays (unpaid, but still using her profession to keep her hand in). The big advantages of this are it is something to go on your CV and you might also get a recent reference out of it.
2. Volunteer – help with the running of the toddler group you attend, arrange a fundraising event for them, do a Macmillan coffee morning, join the PTA, even become a trustee of a local charity. It is another something nice to put on your CV and it can open doors. I became a member of the my daughter’s preschool committee and helped with fundraising and marketing and taking minutes at meetings, so when the old admin assistant left I was in a good position to take up the job.
3. Believe in yourself – it’s easy to lose confidence in your professional abilities when you have been out of the work place a while but parenting teaches you a lot and it’s not an easy gig (I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted) so the chances are you can cope with work when the time comes that you feel like getting back to it.
4. Keep up to date/ read up/ train up – if you are going back to the same profession keep in touch with it – read the right newspapers to keep up to date with the news. Have colleagues keep you informed about new training etc. If you are changing career as I am doing, that period of time when you are staying at home is ideal to re-train yourself. Just reading a few books on your new career is a great start. It’s what I did so I knew what to talk about when I went for an informal interview a few months ago.
5. Keep your CV updated with all these little bits of work and good deeds you have been doing. You don’t need to add that you have only been doing them for two hours per month. Most workplaces have managers with families and they understand the pressures. It’s no shame to have a gap on your CV to raise your children. I have a pretty big one, and really I achieved more in those few years than in any of my career, and I certainly found them the most difficult but most rewarding of my life thus far. But if you are looking to get back to work when the kids start school perhaps then I can highly recommend doing these things and showing them off on your CV.
Income slightly improved now I have a few more hours work, so this year’s £1500 saving mission might be more achievable!