When you think of a job that is “Creative”, the opportunities are endless. It encompasses everything from design, to fine arts, fashion, film, food, advertising, branding, photography, writing, and beyond. In our modern economy, the design and creative industry is more vibrant and alive than ever. Creativity is driving innovation. There are so many options outside of traditional corporate jobs, and a tremendous amount of overlap with creative in all industries. This means you mamas, have choices. The industry is also fiercely competitive and collaborative- that seems contradictory, I know, but this is the time we’re living in. So where does one begin?
Get out there and have conversations- meet people, that’s what really allows your network to see the best version of you.
1. Know what you want.
Do you want to work for a specific company? Are you an independent or freelancer? Are you an entrepreneur and starting a new venture? Narrowing this down will help lead you in the right direction. Know what you want and be completely and totally passionate about whatever avenue you choose. As a mom, how you spend your time is a personal choice. How you plan on prioritizing your career, and family are entirely up to you. As a new mamma myself, I fully recognize that some priorities pre-motherhood and after baby into the early years may change. It’s also a magnificent time to expand, (literally) and this chapter is a huge time of creativity- and transformation. Remember, at the end of the day, you are in the driver’s seat.
2. Be up to speed with what is in demand right now.
You learn a lot just by talking to people. Take informational interviews or meet for coffee with your network and have as many conversations as possible with people working in your desired industry. Do an inventory of who you know well and tier your contacts. You can also read about these skills online, and believe me, there is no shortage of content. My best advice is to get out there and have conversations- meet people, that’s what really allows your network to see the best version of you. A phone call or email exchange is fine, but nothings beats an in-person meeting. Before anything, make sure your online and offline presence is current and reflects your experience but also skews towards the jobs you are seeking.
Make sure your resume and LinkedIn are up to date and well crafted. If you have a portfolio or website with your work, make sure that it’s updated. Check out behance.net for examples and as a platform for your own work.
3. Keep learning.
For those who don’t have creative skills, or want a refresher before entering the workforce, continuing education courses in person and online are great. Check out websites like Udemy, Skillshare, Coursera, Gotham Writers in NYC, FIT and General Assembly, all of which offer online courses.
4. Understand how your skills fit into the industry.
Just because you’re interested in something doesn’t mean it’s your top skill, or that it’s what’s in demand in the industry. It’s easiest to get hired as a specialist – few brands and companies want generalists. There is also an increasing trend toward specific hybrid skill-sets. Do your homework (as in serious research). What skills are companies looking for? How do those fit in with your own?
Knowing what skills companies are looking for will also help shape your job search and how you are presenting yourself when applying. Be sure your resume and portfolio highlight the skills the company is looking for. You want those skills to be one of the first things they notice!
5. Network with purpose.
Know what you want to achieve – then look at who you already know who can help you. Warm contacts are the best! Look at past colleagues, friends, friends of friends and of course your network. Heymama is no better place to start, and that’s what we are all here for. When reconnecting, less is always more. Keep emails short. People don’t want to read a long-detailed email. It’s actually a turn off. Stay simple, write with purpose a short intro and ask for a call or meet for coffee.
Go for coffee, lunch, a drink, whatever! When you meet someone in person, the probability of them providing sound guidance, or an introduction to a contact within their circle increases. Always write a thank you within 24 hours. If someone takes the time to help you, reciprocate and take the time to thank them. Handwritten thank you’s are a rare and valuable commodity and something I swear by. This small gesture separates you from everyone else.
6. Mama culture.
We all know that women in the workplace can face a great deal of stigma, especially new moms. During interviews, play up the skills you have learned as a mother – responsibility, time management, the ability to juggle different projects, master multitasking and being resourceful etc. Demonstrate how these abilities can transfer into a work setting and how your mama skills will make you a great fit for the role. If you feel like you have to hide your mama skills, the culture may not be the best fit.
Also consider seeking out women-owned or led companies for the best fit. Look for companies that have friendly maternity and paternity policies. These types of companies will have more reality and understanding of mama’s needs, and her strengths thus are more likely to be a better fit for you long-term.
Good luck with your search!