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.
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, jobs.ch, 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.
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