Celebrating Diversity – Coaching you through Challenges

I left my job as HR assistant for the NHS, in August 2013, to take maternity leave with my first child, with every intention of returning to work once my maternity leave was over.

7 years, 1 international move, 3 moves within the UK and three children later, the time to actually return to work was approaching, and I was feeling completely lost and completely unemployable.

Even with a HR and recruitment background, I was struggling to write my own CV and cover letter. I was very aware that such a long gap in employment, and so many relocations was not a selling point to an employer.

On top of this, childcare was a huge issue.

Obviously being a military family means that we do not have grandparents round the corner to lend a hand, as much as im sure they would love to! As the majority of military spouses will experience, my husband’s working hours are long, he is not available to help with school drop off or collections on a regular basis. and the flexibility to allow this isn’t available. The responsibility fell onto me. I was aware of the wrap around child care scheme trial, which is a fantastic step forward for military families, however having a child with special educational needs where after school care is not an option, meant that this scheme was not a problem solver for me personally.

After so long not working, and my youngest child about to start full time nursery, I really felt ready to get back into the workplace, but I was rapidly losing hope of ever finding something suitable.

I contacted Recruit for Spouses after seeing their advert on Instagram. Initially I enquired about their Liquid Workforce jobs, which offer work from home flexible contracts for military spouses, however on initial contact with them, they offered many more services to help military spouses get back into the workplace no matter what their circumstances. I was able to use their online CV toolkit to improve my CV, tackling issues that I was concerned about such as gaps in employment, outdated skills and general layout and wording. They also offered me advice on my covering letter, with tips on how to sell myself and make my CV stand out to employers. But the most helpful tool for me, was the one on one free coaching programme that they offered.

After signing up, I was sent a small amount of paperwork, and some short exercises to complete in order for them to match me with a suitable coach. I was matched with Laura Watson, who arranged an initial screening call to check that we matched and to gain an idea of what we both wanted to achieve from coaching, and then after the call was offered 6 free coaching sessions via Zoom. The coaching sessions were usually between 1 – 1.5hrs long, and involved talking and short exercises to reach each sessions objectives.

At first i was slightly unsure of what to expect, and whether or not they would be helpful, but I am so glad that I had this opportunity. Laura was so friendly, and really easy to talk to. She was completely empathetic of my situation, and could understand why I was feeling disheartened and a little lost! But what she was able to do, was to really question how I was feeling, and why…. and offer another more positive way to look at things, and make me recognise all the skills I had to offer, and how transferable skills from my lifestyle actually were to an employer.

Most importantly Laura helped me to see what direction I wanted to follow in my job search. Before coaching I was completely focused on finding a job that would have worked around school, even knowing that I potentially wouldn’t enjoy or gain much personal benefit from it. Laura really helped me to realise this was not the right direction, and this time was actually an opportunity to find a role that I was interested in and excited about! We did various exercises to help find my skills and ‘selling points’ and helped to find keywords that I could use with confidence on my CV and applications.

The biggest gain from the coaching was the boost in my confidence, After every session, I really felt like I had achieved something, and I felt excited about how I could move forward. Having the opportunity to see yourself from a strangers perspective is really interesting, Laura helped me to recognise areas that I was struggling with or issues that I was overlooking that I needed to address in order to move on. I even had a little cry one session, and she was so supportive and completely non judgmental!

I think that I had been looking after everyone else for so long that I was completely overlooking my own needs, and underselling myself.

My coaching sessions were spread over 4/5 months due to lockdowns/school holidays etc. Laura was always very flexible, and also available for extra support via email in between sessions.

I have now found a position as a Recruitment Manager, a job that before coaching I would not have had the confidence to apply for after such a long career gap. I really believe that my experience of coaching will help in my new position, when I will be responsible for recruiting others, and providing them with development opportunities.

Recruit for Spouses completely understand the obstacles military spouses face, and have so many tools on offer to support us! I am so grateful for the opportunity of coaching, and would recommend it to any other military spouses feeling lost with their own job search!

Thank you so much.

Anon – Confident woman, Amazing mum, Empowered employee … and a military spouse.

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