Career Resources

Here’s all the information and tools you need to get started with your job search, find a new career or just be inspired by real-life stories of working mums.

New Mum WorkingThroughout the course of our careers we see a lot of friends and colleagues leave work to begin their maternity leave.

We see them bloom and glow as they progress in their pregnancy. We share in their thoughts, hopes and aspirations for their baby. We chip into the collection when they leave, and share in their joy as we shower them with baby gifts. Then they go away for a while… And come back transformed. Their outlook has changed, they get far less stressed about work than they used to and they feel generally happier and more fulfilled. They may take a little while for their workplace training to kick back in but when they’ve buffed off the rust, they’re better than ever with renewed vigour and joie de vivre. They make it look easy. But when the time comes for us to have our own kids, we realise the extent of the emotional journey they’ve gone through.

Childbirth is the source of tremendous change, both physical and psychological, for women. Looking into the eyes of your child for the first time triggers a sudden and irrevocable change in the minds of new mothers. Protecting this tiny person, whoever they turn out to be, becomes their first and only priority and every other worry that used to consume them simply melts away.

Maternity leave is a wonderful time for mothers and their babies to bond, but when it starts to come to an end all those anxieties when it comes to the workplace come rushing back. We worry about how we’re going to adapt to juggling the pressures of work and family, we worry that the time away from the workplace has caused us to forget how to do our jobs and we worry about how our baby will be able to get along without us all day.

These anxieties can conspire to instill in us a mounting sense of dread as we get closer and closer to our first day back at work. While these anxieties are neither unusual nor unreasonable there are some helpful ways in which you can beat these back to work blues.

Be prepared

It’s not just for boy scouts, it’s good advice for everyone. As tempting as it may be to bury your head in the sand in your absence, the best way to nip anxiety in the bud is to grab the bull by the horns and start planning your return as early as possible. Try to stagger your return as a return to full time hours can be jarring and draining for you and your baby. It’s important to keep an open line of communication with your employer so that together you can arrange a return schedule that benefits you both.

Planning will help you to assert a sense of control over this significant change in your life, and acclimatise your mind to the change. Arrange yourself a timetable for your new schedule in which you’ll nail down the times you’ll leave the house, get baby to the nursery or childcare provider and back to work, Make sure that these times are realistic and account for traffic. It’s easy for forget how nightmarish the rush hour can be.

Know your rights

If there’s one area in which new parents specialise it’s catastrophizing. We can all too easily find ourselves wrapped up in worst case scenarios without any evidence whatsoever that they’ll come to pass. We worry that our employers will treat us differently, that at best we’ll be handled with kid gloves and at worst we’ll be ostracized by our employers and colleagues. Here’s where knowing your employment rights under ACAS can be reassuring and helpful. When you know what you’re entitled to and how to get it, you’ll be surprised at how easily those return to work nightmares can fade away.

Don’t punish yourself for your emotions

Mum Working on Maternity WardThroughout pregnancy, childbirth, nursing and motherhood a new mother’s hormones strap her into an emotional rollercoaster. Motherhood is a wonderful experience, but it can really put us through the wringer emotionally. As such, when the paradigm shift of returning to work occurs it can be virtually impossible to preempt your emotional state in the run up to returning to work. You may feel fear that you’ll fail both at work or parenting, you may feel guilt at leaving your child unattended for 8-10 hours a day. You may even start to feel a little spark of excitement that you’ll be able to redefine yourself beyond the role of motherhood, which may result in feelings of guilt. More than likely, you’ll find yourself in an emotional spin cycle resulting in rotations of the above. Whatever you find yourself feeling, it’s important not to punish yourself. It’s not sinful to look forward to taking a step back from motherhood or to relish the prospect of a change of environment. If anything you should commend yourself for managing the fine line that all working mothers must walk with such aplomb.

Be realistic with yourself

Nobody expects your return to work to be as though you never left. Not your partner, not your boss, not your colleagues… But you probably do. You may feel the need to put pressure on yourself to be able to master your workplace obligations as easily as you did before you left. Your mind and body have been through a lot of significant changes, and employers worth their salt will know this. Having high expectations of yourself is one thing, but having unrealistic expectations of yourself is quite another and can be hugely counterproductive.

Try to set yourself two or three meaningful but realistic goals a day in your new job and incorporate this into your planning.

Be honest with your employer and colleagues

While some people may encourage you to “fake it till you make it”, the reality is that this will accomplish little short of you smiling while you burn out. Your employer will already be cognisant of the trials you may be undergoing as you juggle your work and parenting commitments (chances are they’ve had to do it themselves), and it’s important to be honest about what you’re going through logistically and emotionally. Resist the urge to smile through your struggles and take on more work than you can handle. You’ll benefit nobody from driving yourself towards a breakdown.

Taking the above steps will help the back to work blues fade away and make your return to work as manageable and (dare we say it?) enjoyable as possible.

Health CareerBeing in the healthcare sector is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. There’s so much to learn, so many people’s lives to save, and so many highs and lows.

You’ll constantly be faced with challenges, and your emotions will be tested daily. But to see the happiness on people’s faces when you’re nursing them back to health, or improving their way of life is worth all the hardship. This post is going to explore a few of the reasons why a position in the health sector is perfect.

The Challenge

Whether you’re a nurse or health care assistant, the challenge is always going to be huge. You’ll be under a lot of pressure due to the strains on the health sector at the minute, but the challenge is what should drive you through the day. You’ll be faced with new issues regularly, and you’ll be pulled from pillar to post trying to spread your time between patients and your task. But that’s what makes the day go so quickly. You’ll be challenged emotionally constantly, but it’ll make you grow so much stronger as a person. The unfortunate side to being in health care you will have to encounter deaths and bereavements from families. Nothing you ever do in life will be more mentally challenging especially if you work with children and have children yourself, but nothing will make you more empathetic than experiencing this.

The Education

The knowledge you’ll have as either a health care assistant or nurse will be huge. For a health care assistant, you’ll have completed QCF Diplomas in Health and Social Care or similar qualifications. If you’re heading down the route of nursing, you’ll have spent three years at university studying and shadowing nurses. Both are gruelling experiences, but by the end of it you’ll be experts in your field. Having such a wealth of knowledge when it comes to treating injuries or illnesses can be applied to the outside world. If you have children who are prone to scrapes and bruises, knowing how to properly treat them, and whether they should go to hospital is a skill you’ll never regret having.

The Progression & Security

If there’s one thing that the UK is crying out for, it’s nurses and carers. They’re that short of staff that people from other countries are being flown in to try and boost the numbers. So if you enter the healthcare sector, don’t ever be worried about being chucked out, or even short of shifts. There’s also so much room for progression. In caring, you can go on to become a senior carer. In nursing, you can become a sister, or even a research nurse. If you make it this far, your pay bracket will be nice and healthy, and you can be involved in the development of new drugs that could save people’s lives. You’ll be that in demand, you’ll probably find yourself working more hours than you need to, but if you love your job this shouldn’t be too much of an issue and the extra pay will be good!

4 ways to employmentSo, you’re looking for a new job? Did you know that 77% of employers use social media to recruit?

Yep, a study by the Society for Human Resource Management has the figure at over three quarters, but some people predict it to be higher. After reading this, it might seem as if finding a modern job requires new tactics. However, it is possible to find employment without the help of LinkedIn et al. Here’s what you need to know if you have a social media deficiency.

Sign Up To An Agency
Pure Staff who can help. In simple terms, an agency introduces you to new opportunities, while securing an interview. They also tweak CVs and provide interview coaching to ensure you present the best possible version of yourself. With access to their resources, the majority of job hunters secure a new role within less than a month.

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Working with ChildrenThere’s that old saying that most people tend to stick to: don’t ever work with animals or kids.

But, as a mum, you’re probably thinking that working with kids can’t be that bad. After all, you’ve already got plenty of experience with dealing with them! However, you might be surprised to find that having kids and working with them are two completely different scenarios.

Working with children doesn’t have to be all that bad, though. Follow these tips, and you should find that everything goes relatively smoothly.

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Working WomanOne way to enjoy working is to get involved and participate. No job is easy. It’s up to you to create an environment that’s suitable for you and where you can thrive. You have to put in the effort and be willing to make a difference each day.

One way to get noticed at your job is to step out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to take risks when you’re trying to get ahead. Be strategic about what you say and do around the office. See how to get the right attention at work.

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Untitled design (43)Work For Mums official partner for careers advice and guidance is Hannah Morton-Hedges from Momentum Careers Advice.

Hannah qualified as a careers adviser in 2002 and prior to this, gained significant and valuable experience as an in-house recruiter for a number of major blue-chip companies.

As well as a 2:1 honours degree from the University of Hull, she holds the Qualification in Careers Guidance (QCG) and the Postgraduate Diploma in Guidance (PgDip Guidance).  She is a registered member of the Institute of Careers Guidance (ICG) and is committed to their Code of Ethics, which includes impartiality, confidentiality  and accountability.  She is a qualified administrator of the Morrisby Profile psychometric test and a holder of the Prospects Certificate in Life Coaching.

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Untitled design (12)Controlling bosses can slow you down and undermine your confidence. Maybe your supervisor second guesses your decisions and expects you to be available 24/7.Overbearing management styles are all too common and counterproductive. Most employees say they’ve been micro-managed at some point in their career, and studies show that workers perform worse when they feel like they’re being watched.

If your boss is hovering over your shoulder, encourage them to give you more space. Try these steps to gain more freedom and still get along with your boss.

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Untitled design (63)There’s a time and place for everything. And it’s important to understand when the time is appropriate for those things you set out to do in life. The same can be said for knowing when to self-promote.

Self-promotion really means “selling” your strengths and abilities to whomever you want to listen. Certainly, there are times when painting a perfect picture of yourself gets you the desired outcome. But there are other times when it’s just unsuitable and unattractive.

Review a few instances when self-promotion is a good idea:

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Untitled designDeciding on a career can sometimes be difficult. After spending a few years studying in a particular field, one would think that your career choice is obvious. Sometimes, though, uncertainty looms because you aren’t fully connected to the field.

Have you chosen a certain career direction because your parents want you to do it? Keep in mind that your ideal career should be something that still gives you joy ten years down the line.

Use this guide to figure out if you’re on the right career path:

  1. You have an innate skill set. Some individuals are just more naturally aligned with certain careers than others. Is that the case with you and your career choice?

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Untitled design (11)Is your job particularly demanding? Being able to deal with pressure in the workplace is a highly sought-after skill. If pressure at work is part of your everyday life, you’ll be happy to learn that there are things you can do to both lower the pressure and prove to others that you can handle pressure effectively.

Put these ideas into action and impress your superiors and co-workers with how great you handle on-the-job pressure:

  1. Remain calm. Maintain a calm demeanor no matter what happens. This takes practice, but the more you practice, the better you get. Staying calm demonstrates that you have the ability to take things in stride and complete your tasks even in the face of difficult circumstances.

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