As I move into the ever directional phase of what is beginning to look like a career, it is more and more evident that I am less and less hireable for a "normal" job. Writing a CV was something I did on an almost monthly basis before I had children, but having technically been a stay-at-home mum since my first one was born, what on earth do us mothers put on our CV's after a few years? It literally causes me to have cold sweats when someone says, "...Thats great - just email me a CV and I'll get back to you..."
This has got to stop. A CV? I can't write a CV anymore. I could hardly write one when I paid taxes and pension contributions let alone now where I just dump receipts in plastic bags at my husband who shakes his sorry head at the utter rubbish way in which I conduct my grown-up life. A bag of recipets is my idea of book-keeping. I know plenty of accountants (and my bank manager) who strongly disagree!
So many mothers (and fathers if I'm being PC) now have fluid incomes that are drawn from much differnt sources than 5 - 10 years ago. Blogging, micro-sites, twitter advertising, online editorial, they even made a new word for us - MUMTREPRENEUR's.
(I hate that word) but it is however accurate about what so many of us do in order to earn our daily bread. I am not "employed" by anyone, I have dribs and drabs of income from weird sources, (I'm HMRC's nightmare) and I could not begin to explain on one or two sheets of paper what I do. Is the CV dying out? And is our online imprint our new calling card. Small business's are springing up hourly, mainly because a lot of mums just do not have an alternative to return to employed work. We need something that fits around school holidays, parents evenings, school plays, guitar lessons, doctors appointments etc etc, and we have brains, we just can't explain that to many people who are still harking on about CV's.
I'm also a writer, and just this morning contacted another agent, who before asking me anything just said, "Send me a CV".
I thought what the devil for? Thats not going to tell you whether Im the next JK Rowling is it? Where I went to school, if I passed French? I also worked as a secretary, a temp in the city, a make-up counter girl, a dancer, a small business owner, an online start-up, and fashion stylist. I don't think ANY of that is at all relevant to whether or not I can write??? But said agent was having none of it - I ducked and dived the topic, saying I'd been at home with my children for some time, making my own money from little things - know what she said - "prove it!"... We ended the conversation there as I thought, "shouldnt I be asking you what you can do for me, and not the other way around?"
I'll be honest, if someone applies to me for work, the first thing I'd do is google them. (There are other search engines). I'd check them out on twitter, facebook, pininterest, instagram and so on. And its fair to say you can build a MUCH more accurate picture of a person nowadays with this information, rather than their GCSE results and what they majored in at university. Is it just a woman thing though? Is it just us mum's who are having this problem? I teach drama and acting, and have recently considered joining forces to a much larger organisation doing just this - (I don't want to, but if you can't beat em - join em and get paid less!) And without even chatting to me for more than a few moments I was fed the "send us a CV line". Oh dear.
I've taught now for over 5 years in my subject and recently begun branching out into special english as well for exam preperation and what-not. Yes I said what-not. Because its extremely hard to explain that as a mumtrepreneur, we CAN tailor each little 'job' to suit the client, therefore no two are the same. I currently sit on two charities, and my tasks there are flung far and wide from drafting letters, to collecting money and sendng invoices to marketing and branding. I'm not specifically trained in any of these areas, but applied common sense and Voila! Job done.
But who can vouch for us? If we require references, who can us home-employed people call upon? Our friends? Tad unprofessional. And what would they say? "She makes a mean quiche, is great at photoshop, always has a clean kitchen floor and has taught her children to play the piano, can make a school play costume, diligent maths homework-checker and very organised when helping at the village fete"?! Its not going to fly!
I don't have the answer, but I know in an age where "mummy is building her brand" she is likely to be holding down 25 other things as well, none of which you could legitimately put on a CV or "special skills".
I think it definately holds many women back who would desperately like to return to work after a break. As I've spoken to some who said they just couldn't work out how to write a CV, after having had 3 children and 8 years out of "work". I'd hazard a fine guess that they are more capable at getting most jobs done than a fellow candidate who had spent the last 8 years dutifully adding to her CV by doing desk work and not having a family.
I overheard one mum say she couldnt even get a job in a department store as a sales assistant on minimum wage, as "she wasn't deemed qualified enough". Now, I've worked in Harrods and as a department manager in said store, and I know for a fact I would have hired her over someone who did a BTEC in business management. But it doesn't work like that. We are generally made to feel like we have wasted ourselves, by giving up meaningful jobs to become parents. (I hasten to add - it is no help whatsoever if you're being interviewed by someone who has never had children).
So I think I've reached the time (not age) where writing a CV just isnt relevant - or possible. I might as well hand over a card with all my contact details and say "google me"!