Tuesday, April 28, 2009

That little old thing called Paid Maternity Leave

With just over two weeks until the budget, the Federal Government has not yet made a decision about whether it has the money available to fund a universal, paid maternity leave scheme.

Read the latest update:

Monday, April 27, 2009

My top 10 tips for business success

www.careermums.com.au began from a desire to bring about social change and fill a gaping hole in the market. There is no revolution involved – it is a simple desire for the workplace to encourage and embrace the return of skills, experience, expertise, maturity and loyalty. Parents are one of many market segments who require flexibility, and our service provides them with tailored advice and jobs to assist them back in to the workplace.

Over 2.5 years, we have built a database of nearly 14,000 registered candidates and around 2,500 registered employers. Our testimonials highlight ongoing success stories in connecting parents to flexible employers. Other aspects of the business include advertising and HR consulting. Our two HR Toolkits to date include a ‘Working Parents Toolkit’, a ‘Flexible Work Proposal Toolkit’ and a ‘Parental Leave Program Toolkit’. Examples of businesses who have bought our Toolkits include State Trustees, Johnson & Johnson, One Steel, Goldman Sachs JB Were, Mallesons and Roads and Transport Authority.

www.careermums.com.au was launched in December 2006. CareerMums is still very much a young business so my top 10 tips for business success are more about important lessons I have learned so far.

1. Funding – Quite simply, you have to work out how you will fund your business idea. Do you have enough capital or do you need to borrow from the bank? Ideally, you will need to support yourself for up to 12 months while the business gets off the ground.

2. Research – Take time to research everything about the market you want to tap in to. The more you know, the more sound your business model will be.

3. Mentors – Identify a few successful small business owners you would like to learn from and see if they are prepared to give up 1-2 hours per fortnight to talk to you about your business and share their experiences.

4. Identifying skills shortfalls – What skills does your business idea require? Do a stock take on what you can and can’t do and start looking around for people who can fill in the gaps. For example, do you have a friend who is a lawyer? You made need legal advice.

5. Listen and learn – Stop talking and start listening to successful entrepreneurs. Moving from paid work to running your own business is a huge mind shift.

6. Cheap marketing options – Learn how to market your business on the cheap. Consider newsletters, press releases, networking and submitting articles. Depending on the market for your product or service, there will be free opportunities to take advantage of.

7. Passion – No need to explain......you must love what you do.

8. Network – Create a network of people who you can leverage from. Running your own business can be lonely so it is important to create a network of colleagues that you can tap into for advice, joint marketing opportunities and leads.

9. Documentation – Something I am yet to master! Make sure you document your processes and procedures early on. This is important for many reasons: you may take on staff, you may sell your business, or you may need this information to take out another bank loan to expand your business.

10. Feedback – ALWAYS listen to your customers. Surveys and feedback options on a website are great tools to gauge feedback and information that will help to improve your business.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What is the most important aspect of the interview process that can help you secure the job?

Confidence. And a lack of self confidence is one of the top 3 barriers parents face when returning to the workforce. Your confidence will return when you do some career planning. Assess your current skills, know what your are good at, know what you want to do, know how much you want to earn, and know your flexibility requirements. The interview is simply a discussion about how your skills and experience match the job being advertised, and assessing if you want to work for the employer. Do not mention your family situation – it is no-one’s business but yours.

How to re-create yourself professionally as a working parent

The idea of a career change after having children is a popular idea among return to work parents. It may be because your existing workplace is inflexible, you want to work from home, you are dissatisfied with a less senior part time role, or you no longer wish to do what you have been doing for the last 10 years.

A career change can mark the start of an exciting new chapter in your professional life, but to get to that point you need to plan and address the who, what, why and how. What have you been doing up until now? What skills have you picked up along the way? How can you transfer your skills and adapt to a new environment? Often the answers lie in your resume – assuming you have kept it up to date.

Have a chat to your current or previous employer about your intentions and ask them for their opinion. You should also consider doing a short course on the industry you would like to move into. This will give you an insight into the typical processes, procedures, and lingo that you need to become familiar with.

As long as you have the core skill base required to make a career change, you can do anything. Becoming a parent is the ultimate life change, so a career change will be achievable.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

CareerMums Top 7 tips for returning to work

1. Lack of self confidence is one of the biggest barriers to returning to work. Fix this, and you will get a job.

2. Don’t be ‘grateful’ for flexible working arrangements – you get paid for the hours you work; no more, no less.

3. Always ask for flexibility – it is becoming a more mainstream work arrangement and will continue to be with the national skills shortage.

4. Take responsibility for staying at home for an extended period of time if you wish to return to work at some stage in the future. Maintain your contacts, update your computer skills, study, and read industry magazines on a regular basis.

5. Turn your non-paid work experience into ‘work speak’. Take tuck-shop duty – customer service, handling money and working in a team.

6. When returning to the workforce, know these things: What you are good at, what role you are looking for, your flexibility requirements and how much you are worth.

7. In a job interview, don’t mention your family or care arrangements. You are there to demonstrate your suitability to the role and to gauge if they are a worthwhile employer for you to work for.