Tuesday, April 17, 2012

From W-A-H-M to Working Mom

I worked at home part time this past year so I could focus on my pregnancy and subsequently spend more time smoothly transitioning into a life with a toddler and a baby. I was still in contact with people in the industry, still working, but that didn't stop me from feeling uncertain and slightly worried about my job prospects when it came time for me to look for full-time work again. Eventually I did land a wonderful job and learned a lot from the job search process which I'd like to share to other moms out there who are going through the same experience.

1. Revamp your resume

I always keep my resume updated at all times, in the same way that I always update my performance evaluations throughout the year - it's easier and you don't have to spend time remembering achievements and commendations you need to put in your resume to make it stand out. However, resume styles do change over time and I do try to refresh my resume so it always showcases my work history in the best way possible. I used a sample template from an Oprah magazine issue I came across so my latest resume is now more achievement-oriented rather than descriptive. See link below for the article.


2. Go digital, sign up for LinkedIn 

I signed up for a LinkedIn account and within a week or two I had headhunters contacting me. It's a much easier way of expanding your job search. In fact, I was probably contacted by 6-8 headhunters/direct recruiters through LinkedIn alone. I was also able to reach out to previous colleagues who I helped endorse me for openings in their companies.

3. Build relationships with your headhunters

I had actually signed with a previous company through a headhunter and didn't bother to tell the headhunter who signed me that I was leaving the company and moving on to another job. I felt the relationship we had was transactional. Once the transaction was done, the relationship was over. That was a mistake. I came across this headhunter again during my recent job search and she eventually, again, helped me secure the job I now have. I am grateful to her and now realize that sometimes despite your expansive contacts network, your great work history there are jobs you can't get to until someone gets you a foot in the door. A good headhunter does that for you.

4. Don't take it personal

Since I wasn't working and was mainly focused on the job search, I spent a lot of time waiting for responses to emails and waiting for callbacks which sometimes came late or didn't come at all. Sometimes I would have a seemingly great interview and never hear from the headhunter again. Each time I would feel a bit rejected and worry that my work history wasn't enough or my personality didn't quite translate over the phone. Was I monotonous? Were my examples too complicated? Did I not sound interested enough in the job? Did I not ask enough questions? But my husband told me, 'look these people are busy, they have so many things to do and it's probably not a priority to give updates to candidates they're not really interested in anyway'. So yes, wake up call. At the end of the day, if you don't get a callback, you're not right for the job, end of story, move on.

5. It could be timing

I had been in Singapore for a month and still no solid leads despite talking to the big research agencies and a number of headhunters. I initially mentioned to headhunters that I was only interested in openings within Singapore and had to call back a couple of them weeks later to say, actually, I would now also be open to other locations like Shanghai, Hongkong, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia. I would even consider going back to Manila if there was an opening there for me. But somehow, there were no jobs in sight. By chance, I met up with a researcher friend of mine who said, 'You know, it could be timing. There were a bunch of openings that got filled up in Q4 and people won't leave until after they got their bonus, which is maybe after Q1 so that's why there's not much available now.' And I thought, that makes sense. When I heard that I suddenly felt less pressured to land a job immediately. There are seasonal patterns to when people tend to move and change jobs within any industry and it would be useful to note these seasonal patterns when you yourself are looking for work.

6. Learn when to compromise and when not to

There was a point in time during the job search where I felt I was getting nowhere and was willing to compromise to secure a job. My headhunter (the one who placed me twice) told me, 'Don't even consider jobs that are obviously below your work and your pay grade. Don't even think about it.' And I stopped in my tracks because for a while I did consider it, and she was kind enough to pull me back and imply that I already worked hard to get where I am and there was no need to backtrack.

And so after much waiting, fear and uncertainty I landed a job, and one that I never imagined I would get. And I wouldn't have gotten it if I rushed through the process and accepted any one of the first few jobs I applied to. So if you're on the job hunt, my advice is to be patient, with time and a little bit of luck, you'll also end up working for the company of your dreams, like me.


  1. congrats with the new job! wow! two kids plus a full-time job, you have a lot on your plate!.. and this blog to maintain, too! keep it going! i love ur tips and i will definitely put it top of mind, when i look for a job!

    1. Thanks for your comments, Dew. I need a lot of energy! Officemate ko si Mitch actually. Siya nga kababalik din lang daw to full time work after doing part time for 7 years. Hello to the family!