Saturday, September 29, 2007

How to describe the 'stay at home' section in your resume

The biggest mistake you can make in your resume is to refer to the time you have spent at home as ‘stay-at-home mum’. It is a true statement, but let’s face it – it is probably the toughest and most hard working time in your life so far! Cleaning bottoms, experiencing toddler tantrums in a shopping centre, and being on-call for an infant 24 hours a day probably won’t cut it in a resume. Start thinking about the unpaid activities you have been doing and turn these into work speak. For example, raising money for a charity involves communication, business development, and marketing skills. If you’ve been doing the bookkeeping for your family business, instantly you will find employers who are willing to pay for your services. Tuck shop work involves money-handling, customer service, and the ability to work in a team. Make sure you research job ads and see the skills that employers are looking for. If you need to improve your skills and improve your confidence, look at doing a short course.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ways to go about researching the job market

Talk to everyone you know! Let family, friends, and your Mothers Group know that you are looking for a job. If you communicate your desire to return to work with other people, you never know where a job lead may come from. You should also search online and in newspapers. Useful job classifieds websites include,,, and You can also approach recruitment firms that specialise in flexible roles such as Flex Professionals, Dare Two Share, and Priorities. Take specific note of the skill required in the jobs that interest you. If you are a current member of an industry association or professional group, start attending functions to network and understand current issues. For example, the Australian Marketing Institute. Start reading! Start buying the paper and trade magazines. Consider temping or contract positions to start with to give you a taste of returning to work. Visit the Equal Opportunity for Women Agency website. You will find it at Visit the section that covers employers who have family friendly policies.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Talent going to waste in the face of a national skills shortage

In a recent survey conducted by CareerMums, the cost of care and finding flexible work emerged as the two biggest barriers faced by women returning to work after parental leave. This is in line with the work done by The Taskforce on Care Costs (TOCC) over the last 3 years, which shows that the cost of childcare has risen by 12% each year, putting at risk workforce participation rates.

Juliet Bourke, Chair of the Taskforce on Care Costs, said “In the lead up to the Federal Budget, TOCC clearly demonstrated to Government that the cost of childcare has been spiralling out of control, and this was damaging parents' levels of workforce participation. 1 in 4 workers with caring responsibilities is likely to leave the workforce because of the cost of care.”

Read the entire press release at:

Re-think part time roles

As the skills shortage tightens, it will become more important to consider how your business can utilise mums returning to work. The skills and experience you are tapping into is enormous. Consider how flexibility can be incorporated into ALL areas of your business, rather than administration, customer service and telemarketing roles only.

Re-think training

Recently, I have been talking to more and more employers who are offering training to prospective employees. The national skill shortage is making it harder for employers to find the exact personality and matching skill set for the job. So the idea is to find quality candidates who offer some of the skills you are looking for - and then provide them with on-the-job training to meet the skill requirements for the job.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Negotiating a flexible job

Negotiating a flexible return to work is a fantastic way for you to cope with the balancing act. Any time is a good time to sound out your employer about flexible work options – even if you have just fallen pregnant. The trick is to be proactive. Have a think about the tasks you perform. Could your role be done part time or could it be a job share role? What about working from home for some of the week? Prepare your case in advance and remember to consider how your suggestions will impact on your colleagues and the business. Have a chat to your manager and seek agreement. Don’t fall in to the trap of working on your days off. Working part time means that you are paid on a pro-rata basis so don’t feel guilty. With the national skills shortage kicking in, it is a great time to ask for flexibility.

If you have every intention of returning to work, keep up to date with your industry

It is so important to stay active in your career even if you are not currently employed or you have been out of the workplace for a while. Have you participated in relevant trade associations, attended workshops or events, taken an evening course, stayed up-to-date with industry reading, or participated in networking functions? These activities are ways of keeping yourself and your resume up to date - and help to fill in 'the gap' in your resume.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Introducing insurance for childcare

Parenting Australia and Altiora Retail have launched Kids Cover - an affordable insurance policy designed to give financial relief to Australian parents with children under 5 attending either full or part time childcare. Read more: