Category: Finding a new job, CVs and Interviews

Tips for Mothers Returning to Work after a Career Gap

Tips for Mothers Returning to Work after a Career Gap

With all of the inherent demands of being a mother thinking about returning to work after a career gap can seem daunting. It can be difficult to even know where to start. There are several tips that can make the transition a little bit easier.

Resume Builder

One of the first things that you will need in order to apply for jobs is a newly refreshed resume. In order to be the best fit for the job, you must sell yourself to a potential employer. Even if you are looking to be self-employed there are strong benefits to having a high quality resume that details how your unique knowledge, skills, and abilities make you the best person for the job.

Every mother that has stayed at home knows that doing laundry and cooking supper are only minor details that make up your day. There are other relevant things that you most likely have spent your time doing that are transferable job skills, even if they weren’t paid job tasks. Here are just a few things that can be listed on a resume, in order to show leadership skills, organizational skills, and the motivation to follow up on ensuring the plan is achieved.

  • If you took charge of a Girls Scout or Campfire group, you can list it as having participated in a leadership role.
  • Consider using any volunteer work that you might have participated in as a means to show your team building skills such as, Meals on Wheels food delivery, Boys & Girls Club reading books, or work with a religious organization.
  • Also think about any consulting times when you were utilized for your expertise in any given field. Again, just because they did not write you a cheque doesn’t mean that it wasn’t valuable experience gained. Having provided qualified consulting would be an advantageous ticked box on a resume.

The Interview

Whether you will be self-employed or dipping your toes into the pool of the workforce, tackling the interview can be nauseating to say the least. You might be concerned about how to answer questions about the gap in employment history while you stayed at home with the kids. But take comfort in knowing the real question that potential employers want answered, is whether you can do the job and whether your job skills have withered in the absence of work.

It might be even scarier if you are seeking to change the field of work that you have worked in before. Fortunately, preparing for it can make a huge difference. Make sure you find a recent list of ‘Most Asked Interview Questions’ on-line (easy to Google), write your answer for each one down and practice with a friend or fellow job seeker.


Getting along with Co-workers

Now that you have landed the job, all your prayers may appear answered, right? Wrong. You might just find your working environment quite unbearable and wish you went back to your former situation. The workplace contains the most horrible people from conniving colleagues to authoritarian bosses.

Some of these people will think of you as an unnecessary addition to the workforce and you will often hear them whispering behind your back that you would have been better off as a stay-at-home mother as opposed to your professional ones. Take heart and know that their hostility towards you will soon die down. Being a mother is a hugely valuable job, no matter what anyone else thinks about that and it does bring many skills.  You may want to click here and learn more on how to deal with such elements.

Getting ready for returning to work after a career gap can be scary. It can be nerve racking to think of what questions you might be asked or whether they will see you as being the best person for the job. However, with the information listed above, it can make things go a little bit smoother for a mother returning to work.

Author: Sharaz Zaman from GM professional accountants

Career Mum … Can We Really Have it All?

Career Mum … Can We Really Have it All?

Is being a career mum even possible? Today I read that 6 in 10 women feel having kids is bad for your career. Really!!!????

In these days of “anything is possible”, so many career mums juggle work with looking after a young family. Perhaps you are lucky enough to work from home. Perhaps you are flying about in private jets and have an army of nannies and chefs catering to your child’s every requirement. Or perhaps you are like most of us working mums who do everything yourself and spend much of your life in a state of mania and panic that you have forgotten something vitally important.

A Career Mum’s Maternity Leave

As a Career Mum, I went on maternity leave a few days before my little one was due and returned to the office full time 11 weeks after he was born. I think this is fairly usual in the USA but not so much in the UK. Friends and colleagues often gasp in horror to hear of my very short maternity leave but I am the main wage earner in our little family and if the mortgage is to be paid and holidays are to be booked, I need to get to work. And the truth is I wanted to get back to work and felt little remorse about leaving my child with family and latterly, a private nursery which I paid through the nose for. Men are not criticized for not taking career breaks, so why are women often sneered at for wanting to have it all?

A Career Mum’s Guilt

As my son has grown older and my working life has become even busier; I have felt the gut wrenching pangs of guilt associated with not being at home. I have had embarrassing situations where my child was at nursery for 4 years and his teachers did not know who I was at graduation because I was rarely the one who had time to drop him or collect him; I have had parents at school assume my husband is a single parent; I have occasionally missed parents’ evenings, nativity plays and sports days due to travelling and/or work deadlines.

On the other side, I regularly sprint in to the office 10 minutes late as scraped knees have needed to be bandaged or breakfast spills cleaned up. I often run out of the office early to ensure prompt collection from after school club. I can’t tell you how many times I have needed to sign a document and rummaged through my handbag for a pen only to pull out plastic dinosaurs, snotty tissues and occasionally special pictures that my son sneaks in to my bag to cheer me up at the office (those days are the best days).

Working Mums – our children attend breakfast clubs, after school care, summer holiday clubs and occasionally even come to work with us. It is stressful; it is exhausting; it is enough to make you want the odd G&T on a Friday night.

Do I regret it? Would I change it? NO!!

A Career Mum’s Reward

I look at my 9 year old son with a mixture of pride and awe. This well-adjusted, confident, intelligent, hilarious little man is the way he is perhaps in spite of, but certainly because of our home set up. In a busy household where both parents work, he understands he needs to help out. He earns pocket money by performing well at school, undertaking the few household chores that he is set, and will save his pocket money for that Xbox One if he really wants it before Christmas. He understands the importance of working for things. He has a centred moral compass and demonstrates compassion for others. He is kind and helpful; running down the front steps when I have been shopping to help carry bags. Would he be all these things if I had stayed at home with him? Probably. Is he still all of these things even though I work full time? Absolutely.

Could you be a Career Mum and have it all?

No matter whether you are a working mum or a busy mum at home all day (and let’s be honest – that is the toughest job of all), we all try to teach our children the skills and values to grow up as responsible members of society.

Remarkable ladies do the “working mum thing” every day – they are surgeons, waitresses, lawyers, shopkeepers etc. We have relied upon and are eternally grateful to the individuals and institutions that have assisted us in retaining our sense of self, making us happier women than we would be if we were just “Mum”.

For many years, I have been lucky enough to be associated with Ably Resources Ltd. Our organization proudly champions gender equality in the workplace and has no glass ceiling for career minded ladies with children.

If you are a woman chasing that board level appointment and thinking that children will prevent that; my experience has been that you can have it all – if you’re willing to work for it!!

Author: Ami Wright. Ami is the director of Ably Resources. Ably is a leading specialist recruitment group. They specialise in finding (flexible) work for women in Engineering, Oil & Gas and Drilling, Marine & Subsea and Architectural and Structural Engineering. They cover UK, Middle East and South East Asia – mainly relocating expats to these locations.

If you want flexible work, it will help to be flexible

If you want flexible work, it will help to be flexible

We are well aware of the sense of frustration most people have when searching for that perfect flexible job. Whilst your children are your prime concern, you may wish to work either for financial reasons or you want an outlet for your talents. Your talent that, pre children, took years of hard work to build up, could be wasted if the right opportunity doesn’t appear.

Here at Workpond we are passionate and positive about what the future for flexibility holds – see ‘Flexible Working – Predictions for the Year Ahead on the Future of Work‘. However, while we spend much of our time educating businesses about thow they can redesign roles to attract better talent, there is definitely scope for educating those seeking flexible work on how to be successful in winning the best opportunities.

Flexible work – the business view

To explain what we mean, it may be best to go back to the conversation that we have with our clients – the businesses. We spend much time persuading them, that if they are flexible about hours worked and remote working, they will broaden their pool of talent and increase the calibre enormously. Some are uncomfortable with the lack of control that flexible working brings to their processes – but we try to persuade them that they should focus on results – what do you want to achieve by recruiting this new person. What can they achieve – and to measure by results, rather than time at a desk. When we are successful, this conversation will result in a really interesting flexible role – if not, they will stick to their guns and advertise it full-time, as they have always done before. It is all a matter of demand and supply – there are many more people looking for flexible work from scratch than businesses looking for flexible workers. If employers don’t take advantage of this talent pool, they lose out on experienced talent that has taken years to build up.

Flexible work – the candidates view

On the other side of the equation are the candidates – mothers, fathers, and others looking for consulting or interim work, part-time work or remote working. We have those who are A* candidates and those who we know we will find hard to place – and the key to success is not how skilled or experienced they are, but how driven and flexible they are. Yes, flexible….

Very often mothers phone Workpond explaining that they are wanting to return to work. They don’t mind what they do, as long as they can work for 3 day a week in term time only. It is difficult for us to then match them to our clients as their purpose is not clear and they are inflexible about when they can work.

Flexible work – the successful candidates

The successful mothers and candidates (many of whom are men) that we help find work have a very different approach. They generally pick the phone up when they have seen a job advertised that they really like the look of. There is a flame that has been ignited in them. They want to work for our client because they love what they do. Once we have established that they are attracted to the culture and purpose of the company, and that their skills are aligned, the question of flexibility and pay will come up. Our best candidates are the ones that say that they are really grateful that the company is willing to give them flexibility – and in return, they too will be flexible (within reason).

Where our clients and our candidates align and where both are flexible we find that the best results occur. It is no surprise then that “We believe that best outcomes are achieved when people’s lives and business goals are shared”.

Author: AmandaFlexible Working Seabrook. Amanda is the director of Workpond, a resourcing consultancy helping experienced professionals find flexible opportunities.


Flexible Working

Is 2016 the year of a revolution in flexible working? – Predictions for the year ahead and the future of work.

For those of you seeking and perhaps struggling to find fulfilling flexibile working opportunities at work, 2016 be the year of change?

The Christmas break seems to have long since faded away as we have been thrust back into the routine of everyday life. Most of you will be reading this as you have either made a commitment to find a new job in 2016 or you are browsing to see what other opportunities there might be for you. Perhaps you are hoping the ‘grass is, indeed, greener’?

A staggering 14.1 million British workers are interested in flexible working so there has never been a more relevant time to talk about it – as changes in legislation, society and technology all converge. The traditional model of nine to five might not be extinct, but it’s probably fair to say that it is endangered necessitating employers to focus more on the output of workers rather than the time spent in the office.

Flexible working benefits business

The majority of us will agree that more companies need to open their doors to flexible workers and challenge the outdated perceptions associated with it. To make flexible working work, employers need to see the killer benefits that working from anywhere or on a part time basis will bring. They need to provide employees with the right tools to keep communication channels open, help their workforce to become more productive, and provide them an environment of trust.

According to research by EY, 82% of managers do believe flexible working benefits their business; two thirds mention increased motivation, commitment and even employee relations but we need to see faster adoption and adaptation of working policies.

Flexible working driven by innovations and employee preferences

Innovations in technology and trust will have a huge part to play if we are to witness a revolution in work flexibility. Work is no longer a place that we go to – it could be anywhere anytime and accessed via numerous devices. In the next five years it is estimated that approximately 40 percent of the workforce will be contractors working typically from co-working spaces or remotly – all supported by improved and integrated technology.

But while the technology certainly enables workforce mobility, it is basic economics and employee preferences and expectations that are driving its explosive growth. Most people are thrilled to avoid those long commutes or are able to comfortably juggle home life with work life. The legislation that came out last year giving everyone the right to request flexible working has started to level the playing field. Fathers are now the front line and the ones needing support so that they can break the mould and feel confident in requesting flexible working. This is turn is starting to take away the ‘mother’ stereotype and makes it much more the norm in society.

Nobody really knows where we are going to, because everything in the world of work is changing too fast. The employee of yesterday is very different to the employee of tomorrow. Technology will no doubt play a massive part in how we all work and how businesses adopt flexible working and is fast becoming the most important requirement for workers today – particularly for Millennials as well as parents.

Your employer cannot avoid flexible working

So if you are seeking flexibility in your job, and have struggled to find it, perhaps 2016 is the year you will see some changes and greater opportunities out there as businesses start to adapt. We urge you to challenge employers and educate them on the benefits of resourcing experienced professionals, like you, on a flexible basis. Have confidence that this trend is here to stay and you will soon be part of a majority not minority seeking workplace flexibility.

Companies should start to understand that they will be left behind if they don’t grasp the changing workforce demands and invest in supporting technologies and gain a strong belief that flexibility is a win, win.

Can 2016 really be the year of a revolution in work flexibility? Watch this space.

Flexible WorkingAuthor: Amanda Bixby. Amanda works for Workpond, a resourcing consultancy helping experienced professionals find flexible opportunities. 

Flexible Careers for Anyone Who Wants to Work in Finance

Flexible Careers for Anyone Who Wants to Work in Finance

Financial skills are highly sought after, however jobs often require long office hours. But what are the options if you are returning to work or are looking for flexible or part-time work? Here are some great initial ideas for working mothers who like some flexibility for their family.

Project manager

At first glance a director of a large-scale project or task might not seem the perfect fit for a part time roles, but actually many of these roles can be completed from home – and the pay is usually excellent. Writing in Forbes – 10 high-paying flexible jobs, Jacquelyn Smith said that a senior manager can bring in almost $100k a year. Strong mathematics, communications and IT skills are essential, as is adaptability and a willingness to work strange hours.

Female accountant checking financial documentsAccounts assistant

An ideal part-time role, that will probably involve preparing and monitoring time sheets and making sure invoices are paid and distributed. You’ll need training in Sage or a similar package, and also considerable people skills. But there are numerous advantages to this role, and you can easily progress back to full-time employment if the opportunity arises

Finance manager

One of the next logical steps up from an assistant role, not least because you may have a strong say in the direction of the company where you are working. Proficiency in macro and micro financial perspectives will be key, and you’ll probably also be responsible for preparing a regular report on performance and forecasts for coming months or years.
An important part of the team then – and one that can be lucrative.

Marketing and e-commerce

A different type of financial role; one which requires a good grasp of the digital world and strong commercial acumen. You’ll be looking at how you can make your company market itself better, assessing budgets and perhaps even clicks and ad impressions, or you’ll be giving your skills to external companies on a consultative basis. Click here to find out more about BGL a consumer insurance group that offers flexible jobs.


Reverting from a full time role to working from home on a case-by-case basis, taking a role as a part-time criminal or civil lawyer, or as a consultant, can be a rewarding experience. Financial law is a big business and the punishments for making incorrect payments or tax arrangements can be devastating – hence the need for good people to regulate a company’s legal obligations. There are some smaller legal practices that have started over the past 10 years that offer flexible (from home and/or part-time) legal work.

Economics lecturer

A slightly more off-beat idea, but one that can reap dividends. Let’s say that you have a degree and extensive financial knowledge national (and maybe international) markets. You’ve worked in the office and have good business sense, but you’re also a keen student of economics both now and in the past. You’re articulate and you like talking to people about your passion, and you foresee a time when you might only be able to work part-time. With a year of study towards a PhD a lecturing role could be an option. Not easy – but it could be a very lucrative sideline in the evenings or on certain days, at colleges and universities.


Author: Jessica Foreman. Jessica is a Durham University graduate specialising in business and lifestyle based writing. She has developed her skills on projects surrounding The British Broadcasting Company, and running a print and online based magazine whilst at university. She is currently looking towards starting her Masters in Mobile and Personal Communications as well as broadening her horizons through travelling. She wrote this article on behalf of BGL Group – consumer insurance.

11 Things Anyone Interested in Becoming a Primary School Teacher Needs to Know

11 Things Anyone Interested in Becoming a Primary School Teacher Needs to Know

It’s undoubtedly a rewarding career choice, but becoming a primary school teacher can be a confusing process. The qualifications, the regulations, the many responsibilities of the job itself… it can be hard to know where to begin and as a new Mum returning to work, starting on a new career path is hard enough as it is.

Some areas of the role won’t start to become clear until the bell sounds on your first morning, such as how quickly you can eat lunch while monitoring the hallways, or which coffee goes down the best in the staff room. But in the meantime, here are 11 points to get you on the way to your new career:

1 How do you become a primary school teacher?

To become a teacher you will need to obtain a Qualified Teacher Status, this can be achieved by completing Initial Teacher Education Training (ITET). These qualifications can be obtained at most Universities in the country, if you already have a degree under your belt, and take around a year to achieve – usually starting in September and finishing in May.

Before you embark on the training process, you must ensure you have the recommended GCSEs, at grades A to C in English, Maths and one science. You’ll also need passes in the professional skills tests, as well as a current Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

To start with, you could try and obtain work experience in a local school once or twice a week to get a feel for the industry, ring round and see if any establishments in the area need any extra hands in the classroom to help with reading or outdoor sessions.

2 What qualifications do you need?

All of the following qualifications are required: ITET, a DBS certificate, GCSEs at grades A to C in at least English, Maths and one science, passes in the professional skills tests, some prior experience of working in schools or with young children, a degree, and the appropriate medical fitness.

With the ITET under your belt, you’ll need to teach successfully for three full terms before gaining your Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) status, during this time you will work in a school but have a mentor to guide you through the best teaching practices.

3 Is a University degree required?

An undergraduate degree from a UK higher education establishment – or a recognised equivalent – is a necessary requirement before you can be accepted onto a teacher training course.

4 What other training can I undertake?

The Department for Education operates the National College for Teaching and Leadership, which helps teachers to expand their skillsets.

Other teacher development programmes include:

  • School-Centred Initial Teacher Training, a one-year course to train those with a degree, in the subject they’d like to teach.
  • Teach First, a programme for those with at least a 2:1 degree. This programme places you in an underprivileged area where you train on the job. It’s aimed at recent graduates, however 22% of successful applicants have had a previous career.
  • UCAS Teacher Training, a one-year course that usually leads to a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).
  • Troops to Teachers, this programme is aimed at former service personnel looking to take up a career in teaching.

5 What would my responsibilities be?

You would be responsible for educational and social development of children in your care, as well as their emotional and pastoral needs. You will also:

  • Develop lesson plans and present them, making sure they adhere to Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum
  • Mark pupils’ work
  • Manage class behaviour
  • Organise school outings
  • Attend parents’ evenings
  • Stay abreast of changes to the National Curriculum

6 What are my average weekly working hours?

Around 37 hours per week, from around 8.30am to 4pm. You’ll be required to plan lessons and mark work outside of school hours. You’ll work 39 weeks out of 52 in the year, split over three terms. Especially the first 2-5 years you will be working after school hours and holidays to plan and prepare lessons. There are also many evening engagements and weekend engagements that you will be expected to attend such as parent evenings and school fairs. See more information on: Becoming a teacher, is it a viable option for returning to work

7 What is the average starting salary?

With your QTS successfully attained, you can expect a starting salary of approximately £22,000 to £27,500 per year, depending on where you work.

8 What age groups would I teach?

As a primary school teacher you’ll work with three age groups: three to five years (Foundation Stage), five to seven years (Key Stage 1), and seven to 11 years (Key Stage 2).

9 How do I choose which school to teach in?

Local Education Authorities and independent schools advertise through websites such as Why not try compiling a list of local schools and then see what methods each uses to recruit?

10 How do I prepare for the interviews?

The Guardian has a very useful top 10 of teacher’s interview questions.

11 Are there any online resources to help me?

Start with the following:

Author: Patrick Vernon. Patrick is a freelance writer, specialising in business and finance related content. Patrick has gained experience writing for a variety of magazines and websites, researching the latest money saving tips and offering his advice to the public. This post is written by Patrick and sponsored by education equipment supplier Hope Education.

3 Careers That Fit Into School Hours

3 Careers That Fit Into School Hours

For many people it is hard when their children start school but for many mothers it is a time to think about re-starting work. But, with a little one to drop off at 8.30 and pick up at 3.00, it can be difficult to find a career that fits into school hours. That’s why I have hand-picked three of the top jobs that fit into school hours.

1. Teaching Assistant

Working in a school as a teaching assistant can allow you to have a rewarding workday that starts and begins at the same time as your children’s school day. In fact many parents who start jobs as teaching assistants do so in the same schools as their children. The great thing about being a teaching assistant is that you can have a fun, fulfilling job that does not come with the amount of stress and homework shouldered by a fully-fledged teacher. Then, when your kids have perhaps out-grown your supervision outside of school-hours, you may want to consider training as a teacher!

2. Carer

Working as a carer in your local community can offer you a profession that is just as variable and flexible as it is rewarding and fulfilling. Caring posts come in many different shapes and sizes from working in care homes, living in with patients or daily visits to local residents. Once you join a caring agency you undergo training in moving and handling, health and safety and food hygiene, and then you can start working whichever hours and in whichever areas you wish. Carers earn anywhere from minimum wage to £14.00 an hour depending on their experience.
To find out more about how you can get into a career in caring click here.

3. Librarian

Starting a career as a Librarian means you can work flexibly in your local community, universities, colleges or schools (including the ones your children attend) and have access to all the books you could want. Jobs like these are usually flexible shift-work, in a peaceful setting where you can earn a decent wage, especially if you happen to have a degree. Librarians can earn anything from £18K to £35K a year depending on experience. To learn more about working as a librarian in the education sector this article is a great place to start.

You can start searching for Librarian jobs here.

Author: Patrick Vernon is a free lance author who writes on behalf of other organisations, helping them share information and promote their products and services. This article was written on behalf of a UK jobsite. 

Advance preparation for your return to work

Advance preparation for your return to work

At the moment our household is in mid-exam crisis mode. With two teenagers sitting important exams, I’m supporting from the sidelines. Alongside making many cups of tea & stocking the constantly-emptying fridge, I’ve been doing what I can to help them to prepare. They’re completely focused on revision, so I’m stepping in for the practical side – finding the missing compass before the maths exam, stocking up with black biros & filling the water bottles. I’ve also been encouraging them to prepare mentally – positively channeling their adrenaline and discussing what to do if they have a crisis of confidence just before an exam or start panicking when they can’t answer the first question.

Advance preparation is similarly vital when you make the decision to get back to work: you need to start to prepare on three fronts – professional/technical, mental and practical.

Top tips:

1. Don’t wait for a job application or offer before you start to prepare

2. You may not have your mum to help you out, but do prioritise finding your own sources of emotional and practical support.

Professional/technical preparation

Bring your knowledge back up-to-date. Re-subscribe to professional journals, read related press, take update/refresher courses if you need to. Go to seminars & conferences. Meet up with ex-colleagues and talk shop again. Remind yourself of the old jargon and learn the new.

Mental preparation

For returning mothers, this is the moment to address any looming guilt feelings about leaving your children – as we’ve said many times on this blog, there is no need to feel guilty for working (see here for advice).

Remind yourself of your motivations for returning and the positive rewards for you and the family: studies have shown that if we focus on the positive aspects of combining work and family life, we’re much more likely to feel good about our work-life balance, and to overcome any challenges, than if we focus on potential work-life conflict.

Increase your energy and enthusiasm for your return by spending time with the people who are encouraging you to make this change, rather than those who are questioning or critical of your decision. Also take steps to build your confidence; don’t discount yourself and what you can offer (see here for confidence tips).

Practical preparation

Make time for your return by giving up other activities, such as volunteering work that isn’t using your professional skills. Get practiced at saying ‘no’ to free up your day. Start to delegate more to your children and encourage their independence. If you’re the default taxi driver, still ferrying your older children around, let them get used to public transport. Same with your partner, if you have one – start to hand over and share out more of the home responsibilities.

Build your practical support networks. If you need to sort childcare, it’s worth planning this as far in advance as possible. Don’t wait until you have the job offer! And start to contingency plan too – work out what will be your back-up for your back-up childcare before the inevitable problems arise – line up other mothers & local grannies/students. If you don’t have a cleaner, get recommendations now so you can avoid spending all your free time doing housework when you’re back at work.

Think carefully about how work can fit with your life. Map out a balanced work week for you. When do you want/need to be at home & what for? And critically, work out what you are not going to do any more at home. What can you let go of or delegate? Don’t be the mother sewing a fancy-dress costume at 2am when a cheap bought or borrowed one will do just as well. You’ll need to be flexible about how this might pan out once you get into job discussions, but being clearer on your non-negotiables will help you to target the right opportunities.

If you’re also a mother who tells your children the benefits of not leaving everything until the last minute, this is the moment to practice what you preach!

julianne&katerinaJulianne Miles, from the blog Women Returners: Back to Your Future aka Julianne Miles and Katerina Gould, an occupational psychologist and an executive coach who support professional women to return to work after a long career break.