Resolution 2013: Get a job
Mommy on a Shoestring's Beth Engelman (left) speaks with Leanne Berry (right), president of Mom Corps Chicago on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, at Engelman's home. Mom Corps helps mothers get back into the workforce. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 10, 2013 8:16AM
Maintaining a work/life balance is tricky in the best of circumstances and when you throw the need to make money into the mix, the complexity multiplies. As a single mom, I constantly struggle with finding job opportunities that are professionally and financially fulfilling, while also maintaining a flexible schedule that allows me to be with my young son as much as possible. The more moms I speak with, the more I hear this common question: “How can we make money, while still being available when our family needs us?”
Define your wants, needs
Leanne Berry is the go-to person for flexible employment opportunities. The certified public accountant and mother of three is the president of Mom Corps Chicago, a professional recruiting company that matches companies with candidates, many of whom are looking for flexible schedules. Before starting a job search, Berry recommends doing some soul-searching.
“Think about what it is you really want to do,” says Berry. “For example, do you want to do what you did before having kids or do you want to try something new? Do you need to take additional classes, or seek on-the-job training? Visualizing the next chapter of your career is an essential first step in reaching your goal.”
Don’t be afraid to ask
“Once you identify what it is you want to do, get the word out,” advises Stacey Delo, founder of Maybrooks.com, which is an online resource center dedicated to helping working women. “Talk to friends, family and even old colleagues about what you’re looking for and be as specific as possible. These days there are a number of companies (both big and small) that offer flexible hours or work-at-home opportunities as a way to attract and retain talent, so become your biggest advocate and ask for what you want.”
Get to know social media
Both Berry and Delo recommend getting up to speed with technology, specifically LinkedIn and other social media sites that are frequently used in the workplace.
“Keep your profiles current, clean and relevant to the work you are interested in doing,” advises Delo.
Another perk of social media? It gives you opportunities to do your own research.
“Stay up-to-date on companies and industries that interest you by following them on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn,” says Berry. “You can also set up Google alerts, that will send you links to relevant articles and news items.”
Test the waters
Whether you’ve been out of the workforce for a day or a decade, there are plenty of opportunities to test the waters before taking a full-time job. Look for freelance work, part-time jobs or short-term projects that can help you hone your skills while keeping you current in the workplace.
“If you’ve been out of the workforce for quite some time, consider doing a ‘returnship,’ which is sort of like a summer internship for people interested in going back to work,” suggests Delo. “It’s a fantastic way to learn about an industry and gain valuable experience while also getting back into the groove of working again.”
For more information on Leanne Berry and Mom Corps Chicago, visit www.momcorps.com.For more information about Stacey Delo and Maybrooks, visit www.maybrooks.com.