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I spoke with Eve­lyn, who re­cently co-foun­ded her own re­cruit­ment com­pany about ca­reer ad­vice for wo­men. Af­ter more than ten ye­ars working for one of the big­gest re­cruit­ment firms in the world, she has seen it all. Wo­men that are struggling co­m­ing back to work, wo­men that are ta­ken off the short­list, be­cause of their age and ma­tri­mo­nial sta­tus while ha­ving the best creden­ti­als and of­fers that were ta­ken back once the em­ployer lear­ned that the can­di­date is pregnant.

Eve­lyn would have every re­a­son to be frus­tra­ted about this and sim­ply ac­cept sta­tus-quo. In­s­tead, she re­cently de­ci­ded to launch her own re­cruit­ment firm, where she will be able to of­fer her cli­ents next to the tra­di­tio­nal re­cruit­ment the op­tion to re­cruit “blindly”. That me­ans her cus­to­mer will only re­ceive the re­le­vant in­for­ma­tion about ex­pe­ri­ence and as­sess­ment re­sults, but will not be able to see the gen­der, age or any other in­for­ma­tion that would cloud the recruiter’s jud­ge­ment. “While not all re­crui­ters will feel com­for­ta­ble to select the can­di­da­tes this way yet, I ex­pe­ri­ence more and more people that are aware of un­con­scious bias and want to make a change. I am very po­si­tive and mo­ti­va­ted to con­tri­bute to fu­ture di­ver­sity in the work­place” so Evelyn.

Un­til we re­ach this point, Eve­lyn who star­ted her ca­reer with IBM and mo­ved through va­rious in­ter­na­tio­nal ro­les throughout her ca­reer, gave us some very good tips & tricks and good ques­ti­ons for par­ents alike to ask. 

Evelyn Palma, Headhunter
Eve­lyn Palma

What are your tips for moms-to-be, that are worried about their careers once they are pregnant?

Plan ahead, speak to others who are al­ready suc­cee­ding at com­bi­ning both worlds, seek sup­port and most im­port­antly com­mu­ni­cate well in ad­vance with your organization/team/supervisors about the fu­ture set-up. Many times, the con­cerns go away be­cause there is good plan­ning done from both si­des. I would re­com­mend as­king yourself these questions:

  • Do you have an idea of what you want for yourself, how do you want to return?
  • Can you re­turn to your cur­rent em­ployer or not?
  • What type of or­ga­niz­a­tion are you loo­king for?
  • What are the key things you need to succeed?
  • What sup­port sys­tem do you have, and does it match with what you need?
  • If you want to work part time, is it an op­tion in your cur­rent employment?

What are your tips for a new mom that would like to return to work but might not be able to return to their previous jobs and thus is in search of a new one?

Re­se­arch or­ga­ni­sa­ti­ons who will sup­port you and ac­com­mo­date to what you need to per­form at your job.

Don’t for­get that they will hire you for a re­a­son, and as much as you have to im­press em­ploy­ers with your skills, ex­pe­ri­ence and know­ledge, the com­pa­nies also have to im­press you and show you why you should choose them.

Discri­mi­na­tion still hap­pens, and that is a fact, so look for or­ga­ni­sa­ti­ons who are for­ward thin­king, who have a clear and con­crete ap­proach to lea­ves, if pos­si­ble, get some con­crete ex­amp­les of ca­ses wi­t­hin the or­ga­ni­sa­tion to make sure it’s not just nice talk and em­pty words.

Even if you don’t feel like net­wor­king is co­m­ing na­tu­rally to you. Start net­wor­king, join com­mu­nities and groups. The more you ex­pose yourself the more con­fi­dent you become.

Try to get a clear idea of what you want and how you want to ba­lance things. The more you can pre­pare the bet­ter you will feel about it. We all know the bet­ter you feel, the bet­ter you will per­form at your new company/ when you return.

When women decide to take some time off to be with the kids, are there any trainings they could focus on that would facilitate the return?

I am a firm be­lie­ver of “ne­ver stop lear­ning”. I would re­com­mend loo­king at po­ten­tial ups­kil­ling trai­nings, espe­cially if you have been off for some years.

Are you an ac­coun­tant and need  to re­fresh your IFRS/ Swiss Gaap skills?  Are you in Mar­ke­ting? Could you ups­cale your di­gi­tal skills?

Don’t for­get lan­guages. Have you been put­ting off your German/French for a while but could spend some time to im­prove it? 

I think the key is to have an idea of what you want first. So­me­ti­mes you may come to the con­clu­sion that you want to change ca­reer di­rec­tion completely.

Think about it, ask around in your net­work, re­spec­tive or­ga­niz­a­ti­ons, etc. and then find some trai­nings that could sup­port you to re­ach your goals accordingly.

Which channels do you recommend for job hunting?

Tra­di­tio­nal job ap­p­li­ca­ti­ons still work, Lin­kedIn,, etc

Don’t un­de­re­sti­mate the power of net­wor­king, join some in­te­res­ting events, join groups and com­mu­nities of si­mi­lar min­ded. It can be pro­fes­sio­nal groups, groups about other things you are pas­sio­nate about in life. Many times, you can land a job through per­so­nal connections.

Al­ways di­ver­sify your se­arch. Work with a few head hun­ters you trust. They may have jobs that are not al­ways ad­ver­ti­sed. They also have a chance to speak about you with their cli­ents bey­ond your CV.

Re­fresh your CV and get advice/ in­put on it from others. Don’t for­get to up­date and re­fresh your Lin­kedIn pro­file if you haven’t done so!

Thank you, Eve­lyn, for these su­per hel­pful insights! 

You can fol­low Eve­lyn on Lin­kedIn, where she re­gu­larly posts new jobs, in­te­res­ting tips & tricks and sup­ports lots of good initiatives.

More in­sight­ful ex­pert in­ter­views you can find here

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