“I need a new job,” Alero announces as she slides into the cafeteria booth beside her friends, all working moms at various stages in their careers.
“That bad, huh?” Yinka gives her a sympathetic side-hug. “What did your boss do this time?”
“Remember that assignment I wanted? The one to develop a new strategy for marketing our fleet to a new client base? He gave it to Ahmed. In his words, ‘You know you’re a mother. This job requires some late work and even weekends too. I don’t want to take you from your family.’ Nonsense. Like I complained in the first place.”
Around them, the lunch crowd milled. This was one of the most popular eateries and it was on a major street in Victoria Island. The place was full of white and pink collar workers on their lunch break and the din of conversation rose and ebbed. Alero and her friends liked to sit and people-watch. They could tell the bankers from the secretaries, the managers from the salesmen. Sometimes, they ran into people they had known from school.
“This is the same guy who said you didn’t need a bonus because you have a husband who takes care of you and so he gave you a low ranking?” Guvan laughed.
“Same guy. But he never hesitates to give me low-profile jacky work.” Alero sighed. “He’s seriously killing my morale. My husband says I should just quit but I don’t want to just stay at home.”
Yinka looked thoughtful. “You know, a job just opened at my office for a new marketing manager. The basic pay might not be as much as your present job but the bonuses are commission-based.”
“I don’t know if I’m ready to be a marketing manager.” Alero’s eyes widened. “I mean, that’s huge. I only wanted to try out my hand developing this strategy because I didn’t think the sales people were doing a good job marketing our new fleet.”
“So? You can learn on the job! You can shadow someone who’s done it before or Google sef” Guvan took a sip of her juice before continuing. “How hard can it be?”
“I don’t know oh. I don’t want to set myself up for failure.”
“You’ve coordinated print and internet communications at your present job. You have contracts in the advertising world. At least, apply first. Let HR be the one to say you’re not capable.”
“Ah. I wouldn’t even know what to put in my CV.”
“If it’s that one, I can help you.”
Popular research shows that most women only apply for jobs when they meet or exceed 100% of the competence requirements. Most men, on the other hand, will apply if they meet 60% of the requirements. #foodforthought
You don’t lose anything by applying for jobs. No matter how cushy your current role is, it’s always a good idea to have a sense of how marketable your skills are. If nothing else, turning down job offers gives you unbeatable confidence. You know that if push comes to shove, you can always switch jobs to accommodate your unique circumstances as a working mom.
Your CV is the first step on that journey. It’s your foot in the door, your ambassador to sell your market when you’re not in the room. It summarizes your career to date and it should showcase your successes, achievements and unique capabilities. Here are a few tips to note:
Target it to the job you’re applying for.
- Use the same words as the advert. For example, if the job responsibilities include “Prepare and adhere to budgets”, your CV should state at some point that you’ve prepared budgets and adhered to them.
Achievements vs Responsibilities:
- Responsibilities are the baseline of your previous jobs. “designed print ads and publications” is a responsibility. What you’re able to achieve with that responsibility is the really interesting bit. “Designed print ads for the highly successful marketing campaign of Bluewater Hotels and recorded a 40% increase in new clients within six months.” Doesn’t that sound better?
Use action verbs when writing your achievements.
- ‘Launched’, ‘Influenced’, ‘Generated’ sound like you made the most impact. Avoid words like ‘participated’. Only students and entry level applicants can get away with it but not often. Subscribe to the blog to get a free list of action verbs for your CV 😀
- Keep it short, no more than two pages. Be ruthless in removing the unnecessary info. No one needs to know that you attended Arepo Primary School.
- Use relevant headers. ‘Education’, ‘Work History’, ‘Interests’ (which sounds more professional than ‘Hobbies’.)
- Keep it simple and uncluttered. Don’t cram the text together.
- Use bullet points.
- Get feedback from others.