Over two million women left the workforce in 2020, according to reports. In September alone, 617,000 women left, versus 78,000 men. Much has already been written about how working moms disproportionately cut back on work while adding on responsibilities at home, and how this COVID phenomenon sent the women’s movement 50+ years backwards. But honestly, doesn’t every mom already know that leaning out (by choice or not) isn’t a new trend? It’s only exacerbated and put into sharper relief by COVID.
All parents but especially moms are familiar with the decision to focus on home or work—and the financial reality and childcare issues that mean way too many have no choice at all. But what about the moms who put their career on hold—whether it’s five years ago or 5 months ago—and are looking to get a new job? Or any moms looking to make a change in her career this year, as things (hopefully) get back to some semblance of normalcy?
We spoke to Georgene Huang, CEO & Co-founder of Fairygodboss, a nationwide career community for women, and Judy Schoenberg, who along with Linda Lautenberg, is co-founder of EvolveMe, a professional development company for women in career transition.
Use the tips below from these two experts to get your dream job in 2021!
Saying “My goal is to get a new job” can seem insurmountable. But each week, if you pick one small step—like updating your resume or making 5 new contacts—it can seem doable. “One surefire way to stick to your intentions? Write them down. Better yet, share them with another person to hold you accountable and increase your chance of success by 65%!” says Judy. She adds: “Try the SMART approach for goal setting: Specific, Measurable; Achievable; Realistic; and Timely. SMART goals help you clarify your ideas and focus your efforts. Start with setting micro goals for each month. Once you see accomplishments, you’ll be more motivated to keep going!”
Put Yourself Back on Your Calendar
Judy says that what we spend time on is a reflection of what we care about. “Sounds simple, but how many of us actually do this when it comes to ourselves?” she asks. If you are constantly filling your day with taking care of others—kids, husband, parents…that’s totally normal. But it’s not going to help you find a new job. “Women are especially good at multitasking, but you’re 80% more likely to complete a task if you give it your total focus at any point in time,” says Judy. So schedule a half hour, three times a week, to do one of the things outlined on this list. “If you block out that time, it’ll be yours!” notes Judy.
Polish Your Resume
Update your resume with new skills, volunteer opportunities, or anything else you’ve been involved with since your last (paying) full-time job, says Georgene. This will help you explain any gaps, says Georgene. Just because you haven’t been paid to do work doesn’t mean you haven’t been working (think: being a class parent, volunteer work, etc.). There are free courses, webinars and more that can help you build any skills you don’t have.
Network, Network, Network
Networking (even online) is the best way to hear about jobs. Reach out to people who you know but then also start growing that circle.” Attend (virtual) industry events, engage with related content, and introduce yourself over email or professional networking sites (like Fairygodboss). If you start building those connections and relationships now, when you’re ready to start interviewing in a few months you’ll be able to tap into your network,” says Georgene. As part of networking, Judy also suggests finding a mentor or advisor—what she calls a “career bestie.”
Clean Up Your Personal Brand
Take a look at your internet persona. Would it raise any red flags for a hiring manager? “Get rid of old social media accounts that you no longer use or make accounts private if you don’t want them being seen by a potential employer,” says Georgene. She adds: “If nothing comes up when you search for yourself online, welcome the clean slate as a chance to brand yourself. Start writing blog posts or start a professional social media account to post content related to the field you want to work in.”
To join the Fairygodboss community, go to https://fairygodboss.com.