Need a job? Need a better-paying job? Or maybe you need a job that gives you the flexibility to care for your own children instead of paying hundreds a month for child care.
Whatever you’re looking for, you already know that the market is tough right now. You’ve taken a good first step by searching online for information about finding a job as a single mother. Keep reading, and know that perseverance–and maybe some ingenuity–will be required to succeed in your job search during these difficult times. If you want some specific job occupations perfect for single mothers, click on the given link to read our article with suggestions.
The Traditional Path
Assuming you’ve worked before, you already know about the traditional job hunt: scouring want ads and online postings or networking to find suitable openings; submitting applications; preparing for and attending interviews; and then waiting on pins and needles to see if you’re offered a job.
In this market, networking may be the most time-efficient way to find work. Don’t miss an opportunity to let friends, family, or acquaintances know that you’re looking for a job. Ask at the grocery store and the restaurant if there are positions available. If you notice an understaffed business that affects your customer experience, let them know that you noticed, and ask if you can help out.
There’s also the old standby, a temporary agency. This can be an excellent choice for the single mother searching for full-time work, but uncertain of her career goals or skills. The agency will match you to an employer, and if it doesn’t work out, a different match can be made. You also gain flexibility with the temp option—you can specify that you’re available three days a week, or evenings, or weekends, etc. These assignments can also offer you room for more negotiation if you are offered a permanent position: you’ve already proved your value to the company, so you’re in a position to ask for what you need. In addition, some of the larger temp agencies offer benefits to their staffers, like medical insurance, 401K, and vacation days.
Here, the possibilities are endless. If you’ve ever had the slightest inclination to make a more unconventional choice in your career path, this is the time to do it. The nation is at an economic crossroads, and getting productivity to rise is a top concern of the government. It’s a top concern for people looking for work, too!
One of the most obvious ways to do that is for people to start their own businesses. This effort is heavily endorsed and supported by the government. You will find a wealth of incentives and support if you decide to start exploring the possibility of starting a small business.
Another less conventional way to support yourself is similar to the small-business concept, but easier to manage—a work-at-home job. This may or may not involve using the internet—either way, you can either supplement your wages from a “regular” job with work-at-home income, or you may be able to come up with an idea that yields enough money for you to stop working for someone else entirely. You can read our jobs for moms article for more information about this.
Please note that these topics are vast and it would be impossible to cover all the opportunities or resources that exist. Your best bet would be to become proficient in basic computer skills so that if this article gives you an idea, you can “run with it” and research more on your own. The time you invest in becoming effective at your job search will be repaid many times by your success.
Whenever your job search has resulted in an invitation to interview, remember that there are really only three basic things you need to concentrate on:
- Your appearance and demeanor. First impressions count. Be clean, neat, appropriately dressed. Be polite. Listen carefully and respond confidently and honestly.
- Your qualifications for the job. Many jobs list skills in a very specialized way, sometimes making them sound out of your league. But in an interview, you don’t want to get caught in a conversation about “leveraging organizational assets to implement forward-looking strategies”. Before you apply, go over the requirements with someone and “translate” them into more everyday language that you can speak about confidently in the context of the actual job description.
- The likelihood that the company can “invest” in you. Hiring a new person represents a considerable investment in time, money and energy for a company. Look at it from their point of view—will you repay that investment with solid performance, reliable attendance, and at least a year’s commitment?
Traditional Job Searches Resources
This article provides some helpful tips for overcoming nervousness about and during a job interview:
Outlines elements of interview success and includes links to further information about each:
More general interview information and tips: what to expect, how to respond, how you’re evaluated:
General Job Training and Assistance Resources
The US Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA), has a mission to “…contribute to the more efficient functioning of the U.S. labor market by providing high quality job training, employment, labor market information, and income maintenance services primarily through state and local workforce development systems.”
The website of the ETA, at http://www.doleta.gov/jobseekers, has a “Find Job and Career Info” section with programs, resources and online tools to help workers in all stages of job and career development. Assessing your skills, deciding on a career that fits those skills, and help on preparing for your career are all included.
This is the agency that partially funds Workforce and One Stop centers, a valuable resource for the job seeker in every state, with online job postings, and in-person help with resumes and the job search. For Workforce Centers/One Stop centers in your state, see here:
Another government website that has lots of information (some of it a duplicate of the above) is USA.gov at http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Education_Training/Finding_Jobs.shtml
In addition, this site has information on self employment and starting a business.
This is a “one-stop shop” for government services, so you’ll find lots of other links to government programs and services, as well.
Job Search Websites Resources
These are sites where you can browse jobs by specific criteria relating to industry, profession, and proximity to your location. Most employers of any size include a job posting on the more popular sites like Monster and CareerBuilder, in addition to or in place of postings in newspaper career sections.
Typically, these sites will include other information and tools for the job search, too, such as resume builders, interview tips, salary information and so forth. You can either create your resume on the site, or upload it from your own files.
- Monster.com: Find jobs, build a better career, find your calling
- CareerBuilder.com: The largest job search, employment and career site. Includes Career Path for assessment testing, career guidance, professional development
- JuJu.com: Quick access to jobs found on thousands of employer websites and job boards all around the web
- JobSpin.com: Job Search, Post Resumes, Get Your Resume Reviewed
- CNNMoney Job search
- Indeed: Job Search, Post Resumes, Get Your Resume Reviewed
Temporary Work Agencies Resources
There are both national and local temporary agencies; given here are links to some of the better-known national agencies. For local companies, look in your phone book, in the newspaper, or search online for temporary agencies in your area.
As mentioned earlier, temporary work is an excellent entry point to employment, both due to the flexibility it affords and the opportunities it presents for exploring the job market and your place within it. Some people enjoy the variety of work so much they never consider accepting an offer of permanent employment. For most people with generalized skills, continuous full- or part-time employment can be maintained just by sticking with a temp agency that treats them well and works with them to find the best matching positions.
Small Business & Work from Home Resources
The employment picture is changing in America, as you’re no doubt aware. Many people don’t feel they can count on a traditional job to support their family, given the unstable economy. The New Economy is the unprecedented number of people taking their future into their own hands by establishing small businesses, working at home, inventing their own career…in other words, harnessing the power of the internet to determine their own economic future.
This article can’t give you advice on how exactly to do that—it’s a Wild West out there. The best we can do is to give you some examples of what other people have done. If you become interested in some of the money-making ideas that involve internet marketing, remember that almost every time, if somebody charges you money to learn how to earn, it’s a scam to some degree. There is no quick path to riches (especially if someone is taking your money first).
So browse these ideas and resources, and let yourself dream about how you can determine your own destiny.
Earn Extra Income
Become an online freelancer, pet-sit for neighbors, transform a unique skill into a money-making venture:
Work-At-Home Moms Organization
HBWM is a professional association and online community of parents who work at home and those who would like to. HBWM provides its members with support, networking, free advertising options, information, a monthly (print) newsletter, email discussion list, searchable member directory, member spotlights and corporate discounts on various products and services.
American Home Business Association
AHBA is a national association offering innovative benefits and services dedicated to supporting the needs of home business, small business and entrepreneurs. It provides its members with access to the best in traditional business benefits, Internet support services, resources and timely information that is critical to conduct a successful home, small or Internet business.
Small Business Administration
Manage your business from start to finish
Here is where you must be cautious. There are ways to earn money on the internet, but it takes a lot of time, will probably not start out being very profitable, and the potential to “get taken” is high. But don’t let that deter you! If you see an online opportunity that seems right up your alley, just follow the Golden Rule: don’t pay anybody to show you how to earn money. Here are some internet income possibilities:
- Selling on EBay
People who put the time into learning how to do this really can make money. Rarely a fortune, but if you’d enjoy this sort of thing, you won’t mind working hard to earn a living. Read a few stories about how people have found success selling on EBay:
- Writing for blogs and websites
- Virtual Assistant
Here are some tips on how to avoid scams when looking for a virtual assistant job:
- ChaCha Guide
Depending upon how much time you can put into it, acting as a ChaCha guide will earn you change for snacks or some serious money.
- Affiliate Marketing
Many people use affiliate marketing to earn extra income. All you need is one or more websites or blogs, into which you insert links, blurbs, recommendations—anything that will cause a visitor to your site to click through to the primary vendor. If you’re registered as an affiliate, you earn income for that traffic.
This can be a complicated endeavor—it’s recommended that you research it thoroughly on your own, and remember to read carefully all affiliate agreements to be sure about how you’re being paid and for what (a click only? A click that results in a sale only? Make sure this is spelled out).
- Sell handmade/vintage items online
- Writing topical articles on national or local events or features