The thing about part time administration or office jobs, is that they are hard to come by, and there are HEAPS of people who want them.
As a career coach and resume writer for mums, I come across lots of women who are wanting a general office job that they can do during school hours. Don’t get me wrong, these jobs do exist, but the people that advertise them get inundated with applications and therefore competition is really tough.
The more applications an employer receives, the less time they are able to spend reading each resume and the more brutal they need to be in the shortlisting. You may find that they actually only glance at your resume for a few seconds. You can put hours into your application for them to spend just seconds scanning over it.
So that’s the problem. What’s the solution?
Nail the application like a champ. Give them zero reason to discard you to the ‘no’ pile. As someone who has recruited for lots of these roles, I am going to let you in on my tips for how to land the holy grail of mum jobs – the part-time admin role.
1. Say it with me… HAVE A COVER LETTER.
Seriously, if I receive a resume without a cover letter, it’s going straight in the no pile. Your cover letter is your introduction, it’s your hand shake. It is meant to make them want to actually hear what you have to say and read your resume. Fill it chock full of keywords straight out of the job ad. Keep it punchy, one page only. Tell them your strongest points. Address it to the person hiring. It’s an admin job, don’t tell me you’ve got attention to detail but then address it to Charlie or Claire, it’s Carlie. This is where you can write full sentences. There should be no ‘paragraphs’ of text in your resume, that’s what your cover letter is for.
2. Show your personality!
Trust me, reading 100+ resumes is draining. Give them something to remember you by. Whether it’s use of color in your headings, or saying that you love knitting and walking your 3 corgies, it might just be the thing that prevents you from being lost in a sea of mundane repetitiveness. So many times I have been shuffling through a pile of resumes and thought to myself ‘oh, she’s run a marathon, that’s interesting. Gosh, she must be really dedicated.’ Things that you think might be entirely irrelevant can actually make the person reading really focus and read the rest of your application with a more positive and open mind.
3. Tell them why you want THIS job.
Employers realise that this is most likely not the only job you’re applying for. But it’s a bit like dating. Flatter them. Make them feel special and they’ll like you more. Add a few lines in your cover letter about why you want this particular role. Talk about the company and what you like about them, or what it is about this role that makes it ideal for you and you ideal for it. Yes it takes time, and that’s why it’s worthwhile. It shows them that you are proactive and have taken the time to put that thought into it.
4. Do some study.
You don’t need to have a Cert 4 in Business Admin to get an admin role, however it is great to show that you have done some study or are working towards some type of accreditation. If you are after an Office Manager type role, you might even find it’s better to have some formal training in something a little more specialised, such as HR, OHS, Accounts or Payroll. This may set you apart from the pile of people who have a general admin qualification, especially if it’s a smaller business.
5. Be honest
Employers advertise ‘school hours’ type roles knowing that mums will apply for it. You don’t need to hide the fact that you’ve got children. You should celebrate it! Being a mum does not make you less employable – infact it means that you quite possibly have a whole set of skills that you didn’t have before. Really valuable skills like patience, prioritising, negotiation, scheduling, just to name a few. And if it is an employer who doesn’t want to hire you because you MAY take an occasional day off due to a sick child, then you absolutely don’t want to work for them anyway.