How to use your Skills as a Parent to Land your Next Job
When you become a parent, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that ‘that is all you are now’. This can be especially true if you take a break from your career to raise your family, as being out of the game can knock your confidence. In reality, this notion couldn’t be further from the truth. The skills and experience you had before having children are still there and in addition to them, you’ve gained a whole lot more.
When looking for a new job, don’t disregard experience that you’ve had in your parenting life as insignificant. It isn’t always necessary to draw on experiences from your career when demonstrating your skills to a new employer. It’s perfectly acceptable to use examples from your personal life and being a parent is more than valid. Obviously you’ll have to be careful how you craft these experiences into usable examples but it is certainly possible. Here are some skills that you will have developed since becoming a parent.
The amount of organization required when you become a parent multiples beyond comprehension. Before children, you may have managed your own time, maybe the time of work colleagues, scheduled meetings, worked to strict deadlines, became an expert at prioritizing task. As a parent, you do all of these things still but you also have to factor in other people, their time too and how your commitments impact on each other. Coordinating your day so that everyone is happy and essentials still get done is no mean feat.
In the past, your examples of communication skills may have been limited to a professional capacity. Whilst it is great to be able to say you can communicate with people at all levels, present confidently and use social media, how about communicating with a child or a baby? This is an entirely new way of communicating. Being so in-tuned with someone that you know what they want just by a sound they make, or making them understand through gestures alone is quite amazing. If you are a whizz at baby sign then this is definitely an example that shouldn’t be missed.
Never underestimate the amount of negotiating you do as a parent. Getting your children to school in the morning, getting them to bed, ensuring they eat a decent meal, even putting shoes on can require lengthy negotiations when your children are young. If you don’t have many professional examples to draw on, find an example that you can refer to in detail and demonstrate a negotiation tactic that you employed successfully.
Working to budgets
When you become a family, there is more to consider when it comes to your finances. Little people are expensive and the chances are you’ve had to make some cutbacks or adjustments to your spending. It’s highly likely that you or your partner took maternity leave or reduced hours which means income will have been stretched. These are great examples to show how you can work to budget and make necessary adjustments.
Employers want to know you are hardworking and committed. Parents are the perfect example of this. As a parent you will have learnt to be efficient, organised and you will know all about hard work. These are great qualities to offer a new employer.
Being a parent is an amazing thing and equips you with so many skills. Don’t gloss over these, use them to your advantage.
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Nikki Vivian is a Career Coach and owner of From Kids to Career, which was set up to support women who are returning to a career, or looking to move in a new direction after taking time out to raise a family. Nikki works with Mums to find their true passions and to re-build confidence that can be lost after a break from the work place. She believes passionately that being a parent does not put you at the bottom of the pile when it comes to your career. Nikki owns CV writing company Confident CV and has 8 years experience working in Careers for Cardiff University.