How to manage your job search as a working parent

Alan Price from BrightHR has some expert advice on how to manage your job search if you are time-pressed.

job search 2023


The latest Modern Families Index reveals 40% of working parents are looking to move jobs for higher pay and more support. That means a lot more working parents are going to be dusting off their CVs and heading back on the job market.

But how do you balance your current career, your job search, and your responsibilities as a working parent? Here are some tips to help you and your family cope with the change that comes with changing jobs.

1. Schedule your job search for hours when you feel most productive
When it comes to job hunting it can be easy to fall into the trap of frustration, scrolling through job sites during the commute or quickly applying from the sofa. But chances are, you’ll end up applying for the sake of applying rather than being selective about your next move.

The best approach is to dedicate specific time to your job search. Whether this is on a weekend when you have more focus, or an hour or so in the evening to thoroughly research and spend time on your application.

Allocating time for certain tasks such as updating your CV, networking, applying for positions and chipping off tasks one by one can help you to be strict with yourself, so you don’t compromise on time with your family.

2. Be selective about your next move
When embarking on your job search it’s important to really ask yourself why you’re leaving your current role. This will help you find a company that aligns better with your career values as well as your personal ones.

For example, is there something in your current role that is holding you back from success? If so, consider whether the jobs you’re applying for have better support Is there ample progression opportunity? Could your commute be shorter and closer to home? Does the company offer flexible or remote options and have a good reputation for family-friendly schemes, benefits, and policies?

It’s important to ask yourself these questions so you can be as selective as possible about your next opportunity, allowing you to plan the next steps of your career around your work goals – and also your family and personal goals.

3. Set up job alerts
When you’re busy in your current job and you have lots of responsibilities outside of work it can be easy to let the job hunt slide. Setting up job alerts on your phone or email, however, can be a great way to make sure you stay in the loop on the progress of your applications and any new available roles that you can apply for.

It can be overwhelming searching for the right fit, so let the jobs come to you. All you need to do is make sure you’re filling in your criteria for the kinds of jobs you wish to apply for, and most job boards will alert you when these become available.

4. Use a third-party or recruitment company for support
Speaking to a recruitment consultant about your job search can be a great way to manage your job hunt with slightly less effort. Most recruitment companies will put you forward for one or two different roles at a time and help you manage the process, keeping you informed about your progression through different stages. They might also offer you interview tips and other insights into the company that can save you research time when you’re busy being a working dad. Not to mention the fact it’s a lot easier to take a 10-minute call about your job search than to screen every job board for all available opportunities near you.

Speaking to a recruiter narrows down the search and helps you find a better fit based on your skills and preferences.

5. Network and speak to friends and family about your job search
You never know when a friend of a friend or a family member might know of an opportunity that could be perfect for you. Sometimes it’s easy to keep silent on the search for fear of judgement people may have about leaving jobs or switching careers. But talking to friends and family can open up all kinds of opportunities and gives you a direct line to ask questions about the role or company that you wouldn’t usually get from an average job application.

6. Stay calm and acknowledge small wins in your job hunt
Looking for a new role can be stressful, let alone managing your current workload and your personal life. But celebrating the small wins can help you track how far you’ve come in your job search. Just because you might not be successful with every application, every interview presents many opportunities for learnings to hone your skills. And remember: if you were not the perfect fit for a role, equally, they might not have been the right fit for you either.

Make sure you’re not getting too stressed out by the process. And if you are, perhaps take a break from the search for a couple of weeks or even months depending on your situation. There’s a lot of pressure when searching for employment so remember to practice self-care and go easy on yourself if things don’t work out perfectly straight away.

Final thoughts
Navigating the job search is tricky, especially as a working parent. With less time on your hands than many, it’s even more important to stay focused on your goals, rely on others to help you in your search, prioritise time and dedication to look properly, and most importantly stay positive. The right fit always comes around eventually.

*Alan Price is CEO at BrightHR and father to two young boys. He writes for on parental leave.

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