A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
New Mom Returns to the Workforce
Dear Sue: I love your column and really respect your answers.
Perhaps you can give me some advice. I am currently at home with my
one-year old daughter. I was planning on returning to work after
three-months, but was laid off during my maternity leave because the
division of the company I worked for was sold.
I would like to be working again by summer, so I am beginning to look
for a job more seriously now. Originally, I was going to look for a
"bigger" job, but now that I have my child to think about, I'm thinking of
doing something "smaller" that would enable me to leave my work at the
office more easily. I am not sure how to address my situation with
prospective employers in my cover letter. Should I say that the reason I
am looking for a job is because I was laid off and do I mention that I
have been at home with my daughter for the last year?
If I was offered a job today and an employer wanted me to start right
away, I would be in a bind because I don't have any child care
arrangements yet. Is unrealistic to think that a prospective employer
would wait for me while I make child care arrangements?
Should I address any of these things in the letters I send? So far, I
haven’t received any response to the recent resumes I've sent out, and I
wonder if it's because I appear overqualified.
Sue Says: There may be a number of reasons you haven’t received
any responses to the resumes you’ve sent out so far, and it isn’t clear
whether you have mentioned any of the extenuating circumstances in it.
Because the resume you are using hasn’t generated any responses, you may
want to modify it in some way. If you haven’t already, seek the advice of
a resume specialist before deciding what changes to make.
Don’t give more information than you need to in your resume or cover
letter – why give anyone a reason to disqualify you? There is no need to
state why you are looking for work, why you are willing to take a
“smaller” position or mention that you have not yet found child care for
your daughter. These are the types of issues that will be discussed in
person, and can be difficult to address in a letter. In fact, the issue of
child care is not something that generally is part of interview
conversation; the assumption is that you have or will make arrangements
for your children.
If you are looking for work now, you should also be looking for child
care now, and you need to be prepared to accept an offer if you receive
one. Finding the right care for your child can take time – so begin your
search. I know it can be difficult to leave your daughter and make the
transition back into the workplace, but once you find the right care for
her, and a job that is a good fit, everything will fall into place.
Dear Sue: My spouse was invited to a company party along with
her co-workers. The event was out of town and was for two days and two
nights. The spouses of the employees were not invited. I think this is
wrong and highly disapprove. I do not think this is a good environment to
put any employees in. I told my spouse that I did not think it was right,
and that if she went it would create major problems between. What do you
- Upset husband
Sue Says: I can understand leaving the office for a few days to
do some training or teambuilding, but leaving to spend two days and two
nights away to “party” seems a bit unusual. If it really is a party that
is taking place, I agree with you that spouses should be included.
However, the problems you think it would create between you and your wife
may have less to do with the event than whatever is going on in your
marriage. I wonder if the event is really sponsored by the company, or if
a number of company employees have decided to have a little getaway. Try
to get more information and gain a better understanding of the event
before you get too upset or let it create any problems between you and
Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She
is author of the newly released
101 Tips for Graduates and
How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at
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