Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Career resilience

Today I spoke to two separate women on the issue of self confidence. Their stories are very different but there were parallels; their self confidence was damaged and they have made personal decisions to start to re-build it. More examples of career and personal resilience!

The first woman I spoke has been out of the workplace for 16 years. She called to talk to me about how to re-skill herself to get back to work again. Asking for help and seeking a game plan is such an important step to make. We spoke about the issue of self confidence and she acknowledged that this was her biggest barrier in getting back to work. I offered the following guidance:
- Work out what you want to do. Only you can. This means assessing your core skills, what you love, what you are good at etc. Talk about it with a trusted friend or spouse and write it down.
- Do some charity or volunteer work. Get used to working with adults again while using a computer, email, and phone.
- Talk to friends and family about possible job options. The greatest leads come from close to home.
- No negative talk. Practice being nice about yourself in front of a mirror.
- Google 'Productivity Places Program' and find a suitable course to complete. The Federal Government is currently offering job seekers the opportunity to skill-up. The discounts available on courses offered by Registered Training Organisations is worthewhile investigating.

The other woman I spoke to had a completely different story to tell. She had a successful career in senior management positions until recently when she requested to come back to work flexibly after having a baby. This request was met with a redundancy payment. Her self confidence was shot but her ability to be career resilient (a common characteristic shared by parents) has enabled her to hold her head high and attract some wonderful consulting work that will not only challenge her but also give her flexibility.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stay-at-home mum extract from a great resume

Yesterday I received a resume to review for a CareerMums user. I was blown away. It was perfect. It highlighted her career objective, and for her previous roles she included both duties and achievements. It was under 4 pages, well presented, and had no spelling or grammatical errors. Probably the most impressive part of the resume was how she handled her stay-at-home period which was for 3.5 years. See below:

Oct 2006-Apr 2010: Parent and voluntary worker
During this time I have been proactive in seeking opportunities to exercise my skills, volunteering my time to various organisations as well as ongoing and extensive reading to ensure I maintain up-to-date awareness of developments and practices in marketing and communications.

- Currently researching opportunities in the x energy market for a major energy consultancy targeting large commercial and industrial clients.
- Currently discussing with major charity my suggestion and operational strategy for the launch of x to increase revenue and market awareness of its cause.
- Developed strategic internal communications plan framework, internal communications audit plan and ‘communications planner’ proforma to assist x business in improving communications with their 200+ staff and 2000+ volunteers.
- Developed comprehensive and creative marketing plan for a local portraiture photographer seeking to increase her client base on a tight budget, then assisted with implementation.
- Wrote a series of x books designed to encourage x development in young children, endorsed by x speech pathologist.

She has kept herself in touch with the workplace, and has on occasions, utilised her skills to gain further experience.

The key to the stay-at-home mum section is to transform non-paid work into 'work speak'. The most basic example to work from is tuck shop duty. This involves customer service, handling money, and workng in a team. Make it all count. In addition, bring to life the new skills you have acquired from being a parent.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tips for handling telecommuting requests

With the introduction of the 'right to request flexibility' National Employment Standard in January 2010, employers have been paying closer attention to their policies and procedures for handling flexible work requests.

The ability to telecommute or work from home is a popular choice for flexible working, but many employers understandably become nervous about creating a benchmark for others to follow.

How should you deal with telecommuting requests?

* Firstly, ensure you have the following policies: a Flexible Work Policy, Telecommuting Policy and an OH&S Policy.
* Create a procedure for employees to follow to have the requests reviewed appropriately.


* What percentage of their work time are they wanting to work from home? Is it half the time, a quarter of the time, or all the time? This will impact on your decision.
* What is their role? Is it feasible? Break the role down into different components and tasks. What could be done outside of office hours from home? What can be done by accessing the work system and using a telephone during the day?
* Does the employee have an adequate work space at home?
* Is the employee working from home to save on childcare costs? Distractions can be an issue if the employee has to be 'on call' during the day. This should be addressed in the Telecommuting Policy.
* Can staff members login from home easily? The key to to working from home effectively is to ensure employees can just as productive outside of the office, and be able to communicate with other employees easily.
* Does the employee have a track record for working either at home or flexibly? Is the employee the right style of person to work from home. Ask the question to the employee.
* Implement a communication plan to keep tabs on productivity.
* Offer a trial period so you don't lock yourself into a long term arrangement if it doesn't work out.
* Ensure everything is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If you have procedures and paperwork to back up your decision, it will make it easier to be transparent when you are making decisions for other requests.
* In general, people who request flexibility are at a point where the current status quo is not working for them. Be careful not to dismiss the idea quickly or you may be looking at recruitment costs and training for a new starter.

For assistance in creating telecommuting procedures and a flexible work handbook, ask us about our Flexible Work Proposal Toolkit.

Paid parental leave update - help get it through Parliament

After many decades of campaigning, Paid Parental Leave is finally within reach. As we are all aware, the Federal Government has introduced the PPL bill into the parliament.

However, there has been some recent uncertainty regarding the opposition parties' response to the bill and there remains concern as to whether the passage of the bill will be supported.

In order to make it clear that the general public expects a fully operational scheme to be up and running by 1 January 2011, the ACTU proposes to present a petition to the federal Parliament in early June.

To have maximum impact, they are inviting you and/or your organisation to take part in collecting signatures on the attached form over the next 4 weeks.

The aim is to have at least 10,000 signatures to deliver to the Parliament and media during the PPL debate.

Attached is a properly constituted petition, complying with the parliamentary rules, to ensure it can be officially tabled in Parliament.

Please gather as many names and signatures as you can and post them back to Giulia Baggio at the ACTU, Level 6, 365 Queen Street, Melbourne, 3000. Giulia can be contacted on 0409 141 038 - by 26 May.

Please note that under parliamentary rules, no photocopied signatures are allowed.

On behalf of all participating organisations, the ACTU will deliver the petition to an appropriate MP to table in parliament and will organise media activities to support the launch of the petition.

Download the petition form here: