For those of you that missed the 2018 Reboot edition of Good Magazine in January, we wanted to share our contribution to the issue with you. At Hopscotch, we support women at all stages in their professional lives and this piece was aimed at those of you wanting to get your career into shape this year – whatever your starting point.
Our Training Lead, Archana Bhatia, picked out a few key pointers to put some plans in place and set you on the right track, whether you're getting back to work or looking to move upwards from your current position!
GETTING BACK TO WORK
"At the onset of a career coaching program, our clients always request us to help prepare their CV. They are more than a little taken aback when I suggest that they to consider many other factors along with finalizing a CV to land a job, some of which are as follows:
- Know yourself and what you want
Clarity on your desired role/s (industry, function, level, span of control) and the working conditions (full time, part time, working hours, willingness to travel) sets the direction for the job search process. My favorite 1st question is – Tell me about the best and the worst possible job you could have?” This question sets in motion thoughts around what is practically possible given one’s education back ground and skill sets. I encourage undertaking a “skills inventory” (everything that you do well) and mapping it against your aspirations.
- Reach out to everyone in your network
By this I mean everyone! Women who have spent many years caring for their children protest when I ask them for a list of their contacts as they mostly interact with other moms. I point out that these moms may have working partners and friends and letting them know you are exploring opportunities (and explaining what you do), raises their level of consciousness about your need. A very close friend landed a plum assignment by attending a social lunch at a friend’s home who doesn’t work!
- Announce your intentions (loudly!)
Even before you start a formal job hunt process, inform people you meet that you are planning to re-join the work force. Its true that the stars will align someday, and some person will remember at just the right moment that you are available for work!
- Position yourself and your skills
Being a full-time mother is an admirable role in itself, so it helps to think of activities you have undertaken and skills you have built during this time which can be leveraged in the work place. Examples are organizing events at school, fund raising for a not a profit, seminars and workshops attended.
- Do your research
Prepare a list of organizations that are progressive and take the lead in implementing women friendly policies. If you are new to Dubai familiarize your-self with the work culture here. One of my top job search tips for clients is – always re-confirm interviews/ meetings a day before as plans change dynamically in Dubai and you may not be informed in time!
- Be prepared to “let go”
A wise person once said – “perfection is the enemy of excellence”. When my daughter was 14 months old, I went back to work. I called home at least 5 times every day to check if my daughter had finished her meal, played well with her friends and napped adequately. I could sense my nanny’s growing resentment and my own frustration with my behavior. Finally, I did what I advise my clients – I made a written commitment – if my daughter isn’t suffering from any health issues and doesn’t look unhappy, I will not interfere with my nanny’s decisions. It’s the hardest thing I’ve done in my life, but it worked. I know meals that weren’t perfectly prepared or eaten, play dates that didn’t get coordinated properly but my daughter grew up being loved and getting plenty of emotional and intellectual stimulation.
- Update your CV and Linked In profile
There’s plenty of literature about Linked In and creating a great profile. Read these articles, update your profile, contribute to relevant groups and add contacts. On Linked In, there’s no greater sin than having only 50 people in your contacts list!
Some of us are already working but want a change or want to do more of what we are already doing. I believe that finding a new job is actually easier than doing something different/ better in your current organization. Your boss, colleagues already have a view on your strengths and development areas and will always look at you through that prism.
The tips (in addition to the ones given above) that can help are:
- Show the change
To be viewed differently, you have to behave differently. If you are shy to speak up at meetings, set yourself a target of speaking at least once at important meetings. If you don’t normally extend yourself for special projects, raise your hand now. People sit up and notice and know you are serious about making a change.
- Don’t assume
We think that people who have known us for many years should know what we want but “what is left unsaid might be left undone”. Speak to your manger about your new aspirations and let them be your brand ambassadors.
- Impact people and their lives
Most often, when we make new year resolutions, especially career related, they pertain only to our-selves. But the old adage ‘one good turn deserves another” holds true in organizations, too. Speak up for someone new or shy, be a crusader for women or participate in a project that has a social impact.
- The shadow (reputation) you want to cast
There is research to show that job success is 60% dependent upon exposure (who knows what you are doing), 20% is image (what people say and think about you) and only 10% is dependent upon fulfillment of your assigned responsibilities. Its time to take off those horse’s blinkers in 2018 and think of your “ideal” shadow that will move you ahead of the curve.
- Be relevant but authentic
A few of the things that matter tremendously these days are – diversity and inclusion, cultural awareness and sensitivity, multi geography exposure, unusual experiences - if you have climbed Mount Everest, tell people about it! If you have experience in any of these, make sure to highlight it in conversations, your CV and performance feedback sessions. But, above all be authentic. Don’t fake and exaggerate these experiences – many people do it, but their reputations catch up with them.”
We hope this was useful and do leave any thoughts or comments below!