10 Things Single Moms Should Look For in a New Job

As the school year comes to an end, I highly encourage you to take time to start thinking about where you are right now and what you want to work on this summer. One thing I recommend is for you to evaluate your employer. This is the perfect time for you to start job searching if you’re on the hunt. You can use the summer to do interviews and research since your schedule will be a little less strenuous. I often hear moms complain about their current employer but I always wonder if they have done their initial research before accepting a job offer. I understand that sometimes you have to do what you have to do but other times, you have options. I have switched jobs three times in the last year (one wasn’t optional due to the company downsizing) and have learned a lot as I am still in the beginning of my career. Today, I want to share 10 things you should consider when looking for your next job (in no particular order).

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  1. Flexibility. This is major for me and I am sure it is for you. I can work in a typical 9-5 environment with the ability to come in and go as long as I am getting my work done. If your child has a lot of doctor’s appointments or school events, you may want a company that is okay with you taking off to handle your mom duties. Do they offer laptops? Telecommuting is huge today. Ask if there are opportunities to work from at home, if not everyday, maybe once or twice a week. I’ve been fortunate to be able to make up my time if I didn’t want to use PTO or come in later on days we have appointments. Also, having the option to come in on Saturdays has helped. If you are a salaried employee, none of this may matter to you. I am still entry level at this point.

  2. Company culture. What is the environment like? Do the departments function as teams or individual employees? Are there casual Fridays? Do you have to wear business attire or is it business casual? Do the employees believe in the company and its values? I bet you are wondering: how will I figure this out? I’ll tell you. Ask around. Randomly message people on LinkedIn to get their opinion. You may not get a response from everyone but at least one or two can help. Read reviews on Glassdoor and other job sites. Look around at the environment when you interview. How do the desks look? You do not want to go work in a toxic environment. It can make you tired before you even start.

  3. Location. This will determine your commute and how far you are from your home and your child’s school. If your commute is 30 minutes to an hour, you may not be able to show up when you want and be active because your lunch break is only 30 minutes or an hour.

  4. Financial status. Is the company cash heavy or drowning in debt? I learned this a couple of years ago. You do not want to join a company, only to learn that the company is in financial distress especially as the sole provider for your child. Most large companies will have financial information available on their website. However, if you are considering joining a small company or startup, you can ask various questions in the interview. For example: How many employees do you have/forsee hiring next year? How long have the top three employees been with the company? How does the company receive funding? When was the last round received? Do you anticipate needing another round of funding? Is the company growing or shrinking? You may get some stares but it is worth the discussion.

  5. Professional growth opportunities. Does the company have a budget for professional memberships? Do they allow you to attend conferences? Most companies have tuition reimbursement and I’m glad to say that the company I work for recently implemented direct bill, where they pay for courses up front for full-time employees. They also have an education department that provides trainings and courses for the employees to strengthen their skills. Ask yourself what will you learn new. How does the companies invest in their employees?

  6. Salary. A lot of people switch jobs for the increase in pay. Sometimes it is not worth it, especially if you have more pros than cons at your current job. The least you should accept is a $10K increase unless it’s a lateral move for a very good reason i.e. increased exposure, exposure to different areas of the industries, more opportunities for growth, distance from home.. You don’t want to go running to another job if they are only giving you two more dollars for way more work. You get where I am going with this. Personal satisfaction is more important plus you can always negotiate other things. You want to be able to provide but you also want to be able to maintain your sanity and grow in the process.

  7. Benefits package. What is the cost of medical, dental, vision, etc? Are the benefits effective immediately upon hire? What does the PTO policy look like? Can you choose how you use it versus it being allocated as sick, personal, and vacation time. Does the company offer childcare memberships, onsite childcare, employee wellness, financial planning, or anything you are interested in? My current employer offers for Care.com memberships, financial planning, and employee wellness programs to mention a few. You can workout anytime at any of the locations employee gyms or you can attend fitness classes for free.

  8. Prospective Manager or Director. Make sure you take time to interview them. A lot of times your leader has a big impact on your experience at work. Most of the times, the person scheduling your interview will give you their name. Google them, look them up on LinkedIn, and be ready to ask them questions in the interview to see if they align with your values.

  9. Size of the company. There are pros and cons to both, depending on where you are in your career at that moment. With bigger companies, you are more likely to benefit from professional growth and have more resources. With smaller ones, you have to wear multiple hats and your resources are often limited.

  10. Long term goals. Do you find purpose in the new role? Does it align with where want to be in five years? What do you need to learn to be most qualified for the job that you want in five years? Can you learn it there?

The goal is for you to make sure you can be at a company where you grow under amazing leadership. Making sure the company is a good fit for you matters! If you don’t have a five-year plan, develop one and work backwards. Don’t forget that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.

I want to hear from you. What are some things that you look in a new job? Did you find these things helpful? Have you tried any before?