Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Mom's eye view of Job Search.

Finding a job is a job in itself. Heard this before. I am sure you have and so have I. However am realizing it only now. As a SAHM of ten years, when I decided to start the job hunt, the first task was to build a resume. Not as easy as it sounds. In fact it was everything but fun. The first round of question was, should I write "being a mom" in the cover letter or not. Tangential but a valid question, should I include "volunteering at school" and all projects completed in the resume or not.  After going back and forth, I decided Yes, I will write that I am a SAHM and an active volunteer at school.  

The second round of business was to identify what kind of job I want to do? With an undergrad in Engineering, a Masters in Finance,  skill for writing and work experience in the budgeting and recruitment, what sector should I target for. Should I go back to budgeting, recruitment or start afresh; chuck all that I know out of the window and acquire new skills, sort of like my flip phone that I proudly replaced with a smart phone.  

Before I could decide what job, which job and find answers to all these questions. It was important for me to understand what the corporate world today looked like. For you see, another angle to this story is the fact that I want to continue being a mom. I still want to be able to drop off and pick up my kids. So that limits it further.  I Googled and read article after article on the changing work force expectations.

Outsourcing was making a full circle and coming back. Industries were now looking for national talent. The work environment today is diverse, continuously evolving and global. It is no longer a traditional work environment. In addition to the basic reading, writing and arithmetic, employers are now also looking for critical thinking, problem solving, resourcefulness, communication, collaborative and creating thinking.  Btw, for the record, these skills are what we SAHM's excel at. Ok, OK, promise no trumpet blowing ! :-) 

On a more serious note, the question I have is, how does one quantify these dynamic evolving skills on a two dimensional static resume?

Resume's worked when the only form of communication was through the post office. In the days of paper and pen, resume's helped keep a paper trail. File folders decorated the offices of many companies. as the static data bank companies kept and searched through when a job opening came up. 

The road maybe long, but its always one step
at a time. Sometimes its the process of doing
it, that is more important than the end result.
Let us fast forward to today, 2013, where IQ, EQ have been joined by SQ: Social Quotient. It's a world of quotients. Being intelligent and a team player is not enough. One has to have a social presence too. Many companies no longer want a resume, they are hiring interns based on how they tweet to the posed questions.  Browse through this article as an example of the trends changing Tweets, not re'sume's, are trending.  In addition to this, companies that dare to challenge the norm and cause a paradigm shift are demanding novel add ons' to the re'sume's.  For instance, in my recent hunt to look for writing tasks, came across this part time position, More than Re'sume' (I gave this position a random name, the actual position title can be viewed at the company website) at The Khan Academy.  These are but a few companies hat have harnessed the power of the internet to change the way the world works.

What does all this mean to me? It shows me a golden pot at the end of the rainbow :-)  I don't know if I will find a job which will allow me to make significant contributions and also allow me to do all the "mom duties." But what I do know is that the winds are changing direction. Companies are beginning to realize how under represented the women work force is, they are now making efforts to bring the moms back to work. WSJ recently reported McKinsey tries to recruit Mother's who left the fold.

All of the above is good news, but coming back to the question we started with, how does one add the dynamic skill set on the resume.  The answer is you can't. You can write the details on the projects, and how you approached the project and so forth. The changing winds are now demanding that the employers read between the lines and look for employees who can learn, evolve and adapt at the same time.  

So if you are a SAHM like me wanting to go back to work, don't lose heart, and most importantly, don't compromise on the scope of work. As a start go ahead, research on any of the posts above and if you succeed, keep me posted. I promise a shout out in your honor on my blog.

Keep searching and the right job role will come. It might take some time, but remember what we tell our kids: Be Patient: Good things happen to those who wait.  This mommy mantra works on grown ups too. 

Enjoy the job search, its one of the joys of full-time motherhood!

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