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Trying and failing to get back to work after having a family

  • 23-02-2021 11:53am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 33 mesu


    Hi
    After staying at home while my children were small for the last 6 years, I've been trying to get back to work for the last year. I realise I am now irrelevant to employers and recruiters. I don't have a profession as such but have always been employed since college. I have an Arts degree so once I left college I got extra qualifications (accounts technician, marketing dip) and worked in lots of different sectors.

    I have loads of admin and accounts experience, I've used different accountancy packages, worked in marketing and PR. I have actually been working part time for the last few years doing tuition/grinds in one of my arts subjects but it's not what I want to do long term. I include this on my CV just to show that I have been working, am employable etc. but I wonder if it goes against me.

    I was offered a job last year but the salary was not enough and I would have come out with less money after paying for childcare and commuting (I'm in a commuter town not too far outside Dublin). I'm not applying for jobs in Dublin city centre, but it's still a wide area geographically.

    I have been applying for very basic admin type jobs (with wages mid to high 20s) having literally done everything listed in the duties and not even getting an interview. It's 6 years since I worked in an office but started looking last year after 5. Technology hasn't advanced that much! I'm not coming from pre email/internet time. I feel like I may as well be coming from the dark ages. I texted a recruitment consultant last year on a radio show and she described me as a storied candidate which is a hard sell to employers. I resent that title as it implies something sinister.

    I've decided to stop the tuition after the next term and go and meet with recruitment agencies so they know I'm capable etc. but can't do that for another few months. I am well able to write a cover letter and CV and adapt based on the job spec. I know with the pandemic it's not a great time to be looking but I think it's more than that, I'm being treated as if I haven't worked in 20 years not 6.

    Anyone in HR or recruitment want to shed some light on why I'm now invisible and basically unemployable? And really explain why you would overlook my CV if it matched all your requirements. Is it the break in my timeline? I'd really appreciate some honest advice.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,774 ✭✭✭ ari101


    Hey, I'm not sure when you began looking, but part of it is definitely to do with Covid. There are so many unemployed people at the moment it's hard to even get an interview.

    I have a friend with a somewhat similar background /CV to yourself, without the recent gap, who was let go in March 20 with Covid and it took 8 months to get the next job (working in the same kind of job you are looking for). A couple of interviewers along the way said there were hundreds and hundreds of applications within a day or so for single jobs. In which case, any doubt is a good excuse to cross you off.

    Unfortunately being out of structured employment for a period of time may raise questions about your return. I think you have a good explanation for the gap, and can show you've made use of the time well. I've taken time off before and recruiters are being honest when they say it's about the story, because employers will wonder why. Personally, I think to raise family is a good one to be up front about, but you may meet people who will think; 'Parent who will always be off if the kids get sick'. Hopefully these are few and far between. I have however encountered those returning to work after less time than 6 years, who quit straight away as full time and commute, etc. were too much - so there will be people who may have had similar experiences and be put off.

    Do get some more recruitment advice, but hopefully later in the year as things settle down and the economy opens up there will be less people fighting for the same jobs and people will take time to look past the gap in your CV.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33 mesu


    Thanks for replying. Yes covid definitely isn't helping but I'd been looking for a few months before lockdown without success, which was a bit of a shock.

    Just to clarify, I am stating on my CV why there is a gap. A sentence and a half, keeping it brief but being clear about it. That's good to know about your friend and also good that she found something in the end.

    I'll keep trying and won't give up. I am now wary of applying on a website which advertises lots of jobs because I think my application is being stopped and filtered out before another human even gets to look at it. I've also sent it directly to people in the company or agency so not relying on just one method.


  • Registered Users Posts: 49 Aine1981


    Hey there, have you considered temping? I know with Covid this may not be a runner right now but it could be a quicker way to get a job back on your CV.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,163 ✭✭✭ pg633


    Temping and childcare might not be workable.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33 mesu


    Hi, yes I have considered temping and that's why I intend finishing my existing job once the school year ends and going to meet (I hope) with recruitment agents. I know that could be something that might bring me back into a permanent job.

    If I was offered a permanent or fixed term role right now I would go for that.

    However it would be too risky to give up my current income mid the school year to put myself forward for jobs that might be only be a couple of weeks long. Whereas at the end of the school year, my work would be finishing anyway and I wouldn't be losing out financially by taking on a short term job or two... if I got one!

    So in short, yes I will try temping but not for another few months yet.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 84 ✭✭ daffodill50


    Hi Op, have you looked at the remote/WFH roles that are being advertised at the moment? Between support roles and PA roles there might be something that might interest you


  • Registered Users Posts: 33 mesu


    Thanks for all the replies, I appreciate it.

    Just regarding the WFH roles, I have looked out for them as I could easily do something from home but honestly haven't seen any at all for admin or clerical jobs.

    I wonder would you have to be on an agency's books to be considered. At the moment if I send my CV to an agency, I am either getting no response or an automated response so that's why I want to meet with them so they can vet me personally.

    If you know of any, do please post the site and I'd have a look.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,005 ✭✭✭ Green farmer


    In the exact same boat myself, same education and absence from workforce for same reasons. Nothing has moved for the last year. I wouldnt take it personally. However I see bits starting to move in the last few weeks, so hopefully you'll get a breakthrough soon.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33 mesu


    Thanks Greenfarmer. Good to know that you're seeing things move. Fingers crossed for us both!


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,733 ✭✭✭ OMM 0000


    mesu wrote: »
    I have been applying for very basic admin type jobs (with wages mid to high 20s) having literally done everything listed in the duties and not even getting an interview.

    These jobs get a million applicants.

    How good is your cover letter? Generic or tailored to each job?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 49 Aine1981


    You could look up hays.ie or adecco.ie. I worked with them but as an employer than a candidate. But many of my colleagues and 3 of my staff were placed by them. Here is a link for Adecco office support roles. https://www.adecco.ie/all-jobs-in-ireland/cat-admin.-secretarial-and-pa?k=office+admin&l=&display=15
    Another option is look up publicjobs.ie and set up to receive job alerts for admin roles. The civil service requirements from my experience is quiet fair and transparent. The process can be long but its always a good option to have.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33 mesu


    OMM 0000 wrote: »
    These jobs get a million applicants.

    How good is your cover letter? Generic or tailored to each job?

    I tailor the cover letter and tweak the CV depending on the role. Definitely not generic


  • Registered Users Posts: 33 mesu


    Aine1981 wrote: »
    You could look up hays.ie or adecco.ie. I worked with them but as an employer than a candidate. But many of my colleagues and 3 of my staff were placed by them. Here is a link for Adecco office support roles. https://www.adecco.ie/all-jobs-in-ireland/cat-admin.-secretarial-and-pa?k=office+admin&l=&display=15
    Another option is look up publicjobs.ie and set up to receive job alerts for admin roles. The civil service requirements from my experience is quiet fair and transparent. The process can be long but its always a good option to have.

    Thanks, I'll have a look at adecco. Yes I have an eye on public jobs too and was thinking I should apply for the next CO competition. I agree with what you say about the civil service


  • Registered Users Posts: 33 mesu


    I'd love to hear from someone who was in a similar position and how they got back into a full-time job.

    I have to add that I never thought I'd have to take such a massive drop in salary. It took me a long time to reach what is considered a fairly average wage, it's taken a third of the time to drop back to entry level. Anyone I know who took a break and went straight back to their industry had a specialised type of qualification. I suppose that's to be expected.


  • Registered Users Posts: 60 ✭✭ HotMama89


    I think the accounts technician is what you need to be emphasising with your experience as these roles still seem to come up and can be more flexible with regards to work from home. You could contact some local firms and do some temping etc. There also seems to be a demand for payroll roles so I think an Ipass qualification would be beneficial and wouldnt take too long to achieve.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33 mesu


    HotMama89 wrote: »
    I think the accounts technician is what you need to be emphasising with your experience as these roles still seem to come up and can be more flexible with regards to work from home. You could contact some local firms and do some temping etc. There also seems to be a demand for payroll roles so I think an Ipass qualification would be beneficial and wouldnt take too long to achieve.

    I did my accounts technician exams! But it was in the 2001 and 2002. I didn't pursue accountancy but did have lots of admin accounts type roles. Then got a marketing qualification and pursued that but always had a bit of book keeping in my jobs and always worked closely with finance department.


  • Registered Users Posts: 60 ✭✭ HotMama89


    I think your best bet is highlighting on admin & bookkkeeping/accounts experience as that is what is still somebit in demand. You mention quite a few different areas you have experience in so it might be that they don't know what roles to put you forward for. You could also speak to employmum as they are an agency specialising in women returning to workforce etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,330 ✭✭✭✭ mariaalice


    mesu wrote: »
    Hi, yes I have considered temping and that's why I intend finishing my existing job once the school year ends and going to meet (I hope) with recruitment agents. I know that could be something that might bring me back into a permanent job.

    If I was offered a permanent or fixed term role right now I would go for that.

    However it would be too risky to give up my current income mid the school year to put myself forward for jobs that might be only be a couple of weeks long. Whereas at the end of the school year, my work would be finishing anyway and I wouldn't be losing out financially by taking on a short term job or two... if I got one!

    So in short, yes I will try temping but not for another few months yet.

    You are not failing to get a job you already got a job but it did not pay enough.

    You might have to start with a temporary agency job.

    So the issue really is you are failing to get a permanent job that pays enough to cover child care.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33 mesu


    HotMama89 wrote: »
    I think your best bet is highlighting on admin & bookkkeeping/accounts experience as that is what is still somebit in demand. You mention quite a few different areas you have experience in so it might be that they don't know what roles to put you forward for. You could also speak to employmum as they are an agency specialising in women returning to workforce etc.

    Thank you, I'll definitely speak to them. Thanks for that, much appreciated.


  • Registered Users Posts: 269 ✭✭ Aleece2020


    The company I work for recently took on new recruits. One of them is a mother who just came back to the workforce after over a decade and a half. It is possible to get back in, but sometimes it’s just luck which everyone is incredibly short on right now due to the pandemic.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,733 ✭✭✭ OMM 0000


    mesu I noticed you're in Cork. Apply for this:

    https://corkjobs.ie/job/14132301/office-administrator


  • Registered Users Posts: 33 mesu


    OMM 0000 wrote: »
    mesu I noticed you're in Cork. Apply for this:

    https://corkjobs.ie/job/14132301/office-administrator

    Hi, thank you for that but I'm not in Cork (although from nearby), I'm outside Dublin. Thanks anyway though.


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