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  1. Key Strategies for Achieving a Balance between Work and Home. How do Working Parents do it?

    December 16, 2014 by Jenna

    We are delighted to share this week’s blog from Virginia Herlihy, who works for an organisation called How Do We Do It. They provide in-house programmes to help working parents in Australia and the UK combine their dual roles. For those of you that may not know her, here is her background below and we hope you enjoy her featured blog:

    A note from Founder, Virginia Herlihy

    My passion for helping working parents find a successful way to manage their work and home lives has meant I’ve witnessed first-hand the issues that organisations face in attracting and retaining talent, particularly female talent.

    As a working mother of two and a successful small business owner, I’ve personally faced the challenge of combining work and family.

    It’s been critical for me to examine and understand my values and develop strategies to achieve success and satisfaction in both areas of my life.

    My background in executive coaching, training and group facilitation means I can help both organisations and parents acquire those skills and strategies– to facilitate greater work-life harmony and success.

    I’m proud to say, the feedback we’ve received means the programmes and coaching we’ve developed, work.

    Key Strategies for Achieving a Balance between Work and Home. How do Working Parents do it?

    •  45% of couples with children under 2 are both in the workforce
    • 66% of couples with primary school children are both working. Australian Financial Review 2011

    Today many couples are jointly responsible for sharing their work and family responsibilities, so getting some kind of work/life balance can be a real challenge. If you’re a working mother you probably feel that family and work are competing (and constant) demands. You’re likely to be juggling your own expectations and responsibilities about how you should perform in both areas, as well as those of your colleagues and family. While mothers might get most of the attention when it comes to the challenge of balancing family and work, fathers also struggle to juggle their responsibilities and aspirations.

    So, how do YOU do it? Here are some tips that you have time to read because they are short and that we know help, from our experience with working with hundreds of working mothers and working fathers.

    • Strategy 1

    Continue to identify, acknowledge and appreciate the benefits of what you’re doing that is working for you/what you gain from the choice you are making to be a working parent.

    •  Strategy 2

    Remind yourself that you are not alone, and your challenges are normal which is very helpful in itself.  Keep actively talking to others like you and sharing experiences. Your network and the tips they share will help normalise your experience.

    •  Strategy 3

    Stop tuning in to others negative judgements/biases of how you are supposed to make being a working parent work. You can only get this right for you and your family/work.

    •  Strategy 4

    Get clear on your version of success as a working parent by answering theses questions – What does success look like for me as a working parent? What’s most important to me about my life? What’s most important to me about my working life?

    •  Strategy 5

    Avoid the language of compromise/trade off/sacrifice, which is negative and implies loss. Instead recognise that you are making choices, which have consequences and benefits so consciously use the language of choice.

    •  Strategy 6

    Use a scaling technique i.e. rating things from 1-10, low to high – to assess how much you want to do something out of 10 in terms of your energy, motivation, ability, how important it is to others etc. You can also use this to get perspective and rate how important something is in terms of your life overall so that you are less stressed by it. Your intuitive response will give you useful information.

    •  Strategy 7

    Check your energy around choices you are making/people with whom you are interacting and see whether or not you are being drained or filled.  When you have choice, in your personal life particularly, you can limit your exposure to draining people, situations.

    •  Strategy 8

    Remember to position shift – consider the decision/situation from different perspectives, your position, the other’s position.

    Author – Virginia Herlihy, Founder and Director of How do YOU Do It – Working Parents Programmes tailored to your business.

    Contact details:

     Who is How Do YOU Do It?

    • We deliver in-house programmes to help working parents in Australia and the UK combine their dual roles. We’re specialists in helping businesses support their talent.
    • We help businesses solve issues including female attraction and retention, flexible working strategies, as well as “on and off ramping”.
    • We help working parents find success at work and at home and balance their responsibilities in both areas
    • The result is a win/win for both businesses and parents

  2. What makes great candidates stand out?

    October 16, 2012 by Jenna

    Especially at this time of year, leading into the warmer months, the competition in the job market is high.

    There is something about Spring that makes people invigorated to take the leap to their next perfect job. Unfortunately for you, that also means that there are more and more candidates actively looking for work too.

    So what makes a great candidate stand out?

    I consulted one of my colleagues who interviews regularly and she outlined these key qualities:

    • an easy to read resume
    • a smile and a friendly, positive manner
    • professionally presented, they have made some effort to make a great first impression
    • brings energy to the interview
    • stays on topic, and doesn’t go off on a tangent, but answers the questions asked of them.
    • articulates their skills and experience clearly and concisely.

    This also relates to a previous blog: FACT or FICTION: Is appearance/presentation a key factor to put you ahead of the rest when it comes to a face to face interview? Most employers stated that while appearance was important, having the skills and qualifications for the role were a vital component of the application.

    It is essential that you ensure that you are not only professionally presented, but also have the skills and experience relevant for the job. Apply only for those jobs that you have experience, target your applications, and practice your interview questions according to each and every new job opportunity.

    Take time to prepare for the interview as much as you can, this can include: research the role or organisation (if mentioned in the advertisement) and reviewing the job description. Match your skills and experience to the requirements of this role.

    Depending on the job you are applying for, the qualifications, skills and experience required may vary. But based on my personal experience I would also suggest you bring along with you copies of additional information that that sells your skills, qualification, and experience – certificates, written references, transcripts and anything that is relevant to the role.

    So how can you prepare to ensure that you are that candidate that stands out? Here is a summary of the tips from Job Search Success Handbook: Tools, Tips and Tactics

    • Tailor your resume to the jobs you are applying for
    • Practice interview questions
    • Know the job requirements
    • Know your resume in detail
    • Be ready to market your skills and experience
    • Dress for success – and be ready to put your best foot forward!

    And one more thing that I cannot stress highly enough – know the jobs you applied for. If you are applying for multiple jobs, keep track of the jobs that you have applied for. There is nothing more embarrassing than finally getting that call from an Employer or Recruiter and not remembering the role that you applied for!

    Did you know Challenge Consulting is on Facebook? If “like” us on Facebook today you will receive a PDF copy of your must-have handbook for a successful job search: Job Search Success – Tools, Tips and Tactics.

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