Jacob Share has an interesting post called Pregnant Job Hunting: When You Should and When You Shouldn’t. I’ve never looked for a job while pregnant so I really don’t know where to weigh in (except for one thing, below).
I do remember hearing more than one manager say “I will never hire a woman again,” because maternity leave was a blow to the small company.
I’ve heard that a few times, but most memorable was from a woman business owner.
Go read Jacob’s article – it is thought-provoking. Here’s where I’ll weigh in… Jacob says if you are 8+ months pregnant:
Don’t even look, unless it’s for a job that will begin after the baby is born.
Instead, focus on growing your personal brand by building relationships and improving your skills so that you’ll be better placed to find work quickly once you’re ready to go back to work. And get some rest too! You’re about to have a baby and you’re going to need it.
I wouldn’t say “don’t look for a job,” but I doubt you’ll make a lot of progress in your job search when dealing with recruiters, HR, etc. He says to focus on your personal brand and your relationships and skills… let me take that further… here are some career management things you can do if you are about to have a baby:
- As Jacob says, work on your personal brand. How’s your value proposition? Do you have a solid 30 second pitch, or elevator statement? Do you have business cards, or a landing page (website)? Does your LinkedIn Profile suck like most Profiles? From figuring out your pitch to the messaging medium, there’s plenty to do here.
- As Jacob says, build relationships. Find people who are relevant to your career and try and develop a relationship with them. Go back to older relationships and reconnect with them (newsletter? LinkedIn Answers? Personal emails? Phone calls? Facebook messages?). Think about this in two parts: GROW your network, and NURTURE relationships. Work on both of those.
- Let me suggest you learn more about your industry(ies) and target companies. Read blogs, do searches on Google (or set up Google Alerts), comment on blogs, and just become an industry pundit… when you are ready to start interviewing and networking again you want to be current on industry events, company news, etc.
I’d love to hear ideas from women who have done career management in their third trimester (I’m not the most qualified person here :p)… what do you recommend?
3 thoughts on “The Pregnant Job Search”
Excellent save, Jason. Absolutely – diving deeper into your industry is also a great way to spend time when your back pain makes you realize how you’ve taken walking for granted too long.
I’ll say one thing about this topic, and any career topics. There are very few “nevers.” I have coached several women who were visibly pregnant and got jobs.
First, in the US and other countries, it is illegal to discriminate against a pregnant woman. So if you hear managers make outlandish comments like the ones Steven mentions above, it’s your right to say something. Those comments put you and your company at risk, and if the woman sues, you’ll be deposed and force to reveal what your colleague said. Plus it’s sexist, inappropriate, and doesn’t make good business sense.
Second, the brand building point is a good one, but shying away from interviews completely? Don’t. If you’re a fit, the company may be willing and able to wait. Or you may be able to do contract work or freelance work (think temp to perm). Sure it will be harder and there will be plenty of discrimination, but you shouldn’t give up just because you’re about to have a baby or your back hurts. It’s a nice option but not a viable one for everyone.
I have worked while pregnant back in the stone ages and have had many pregnant women work for me. Some worked up until the day before delivery and many were back within 6 weeks of delivery. Some never came back even though the option was there.
I would hire a pregnant woman in a second with the right qualifications. If you are willing to be out there searching, while visibly pregnant, says to me that you really want the job and would be the type of person that would probably work even harder after having the baby.
I’ve heard too many people complain about not enough time or energy but have plenty of time for online games or watching every show on TV. A working Mom has to learn to do it all or choose not to work. I worked, volunteered, raised a family, had an unusual variety and amount of animals and oh yeah, worked while pregnant and even had foster kids later on. It can be done and a few weeks off to have a baby shouldn’t be a deterrent to hiring the right person for the job, if the company goals and timelines can be met- heck European companies seem to manage while folks take 4 weeks vacation in a row…
I like the idea of the contract work or even job sharing for a new mother. That option works well when 2 people need a little extra personal time for whatever reason but still keeps them in view and contributing to a high degree.
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