My kids love their babysitter, except she just graduated and is currently looking for a job in her career field. Though we knew this day was coming, it’s never easy to say goodbye or adjust to someone new.
The last few years has been a steady stream of wonderful women that have graced us with their presence. Most of them college-aged, career-minded individuals with academics, extra-curricular activities, and semi-regular jobs to maintain. Then the life stage changes, and they go looking for a job in the “real world.”
Each year, summer is my biggest challenge for coverage based on my own career, and I find myself trying to do my best in balancing both my role as a mom and my role in business. It’s not easy. For women in business, this dichotomy between career and kids continues to affect most of us.
As I see each of these young women that have watched our children tackle this new phase of life, I’m quickly reminded of my own hunger and drive while I was a young girl looking for employment. Most of the young women that I’ve had the pleasure of hiring to watch my kids haven’t asked for job advice, and I’ve never offered it.
This babysitter has come to me and my husband and asked questions on her career decisions. This got me thinking about all the job advice I could have given to all of those other young women that have crossed our paths.
Having held titles like national sales manager, vice president, senior vice president, and business owner, the best thing that I can suggest to anyone looking for a job is to ask for feedback, including from the families in which you’re babysitting the kids. I can feel the regret creep in when I think of all the questions I could have asked as a young woman and never did.
Here are my suggestions for anyone looking for employment:
Ask for an evaluation from an employer. How you’re doing or what can be improved upon is key to future success. Ask humbly, accepting all critiques and praise. Don’t respond defensively. This is your time to assess and grow.
Ask a few key friends or business-minded individuals for character reviews. Like a list of references, but with a short paragraph on why that individual thinks your special. Perhaps you’d like to highlight a few features, so see if your friends concur with your personal assessment and ask them to elaborate on those points.
In going into an interview I believe it’s key to have a great grasp on what you know well and to be able to highlight it without sounding arrogant. Understand your strengths and look for areas of improvement. Being armed with information gives you the ability to deflect the weaknesses with offering examples of how you might be improving them (e.g. taking a class, reading a book on the subject matter, etc.) Here is one I recommend: https://www.tonyrobbins.com/disc/
Research the Company
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve interviewed that don’t research the company. You should know as much as possible before the interview. The details can follow, but conceptually get it before you get there.
Something that sounds like it’s easy, but it just isn’t for most people. Ask the direct questions – are you interviewing more than one person? Do I fit the criteria? Or: I know my skill set doesn’t exactly match your business description, but here’s how I think my unique skill set will enhance company XYZ. Also, be honest about schedule conflicts, commuting capabilities, etc.
I realize there are many people out there looking for a job that is family friendly. But the reality is there are a whole lot of jobs out there that are also not. The demands are high and if I’m being honest, I’ve been that family-intolerant employer before. I wish I hadn’t been, but I was. What I learned most from that one concept is that being honest with what you really want out of the job is the best thing you can take into an interview. Your soul will thank you for it later.