10 ways mums can balance work and family

Mother And Baby In Home Office With Laptop

With more and more mums going back to work, it is estimated that around 4 out of 10 households have working mums. This doesn’t come without its difficulties, as many mums are struggling to achieve the coveted work-life balance. Here at CV-Library, we’ve got ten of the best ways to get back on track.


Let go of the guilt

While it can be hard to know that you’re at work and missing out on being with your child, it’s better to try and reframe this in a positive light. By thinking of the benefits that you working will bring to your child, you might find that the guilt starts to ease up. There’s no denying that it can be difficult, but you should remember why you’re doing it.

  Find quality childcare

When you’re a working parent, finding quality childcare is vital. Whether this is through leaning on family and friends, hiring a nanny or taking your child to preschool, knowing that your child is in safe hands while you’re at work should help you to feel more relaxed.

 Organise the night before

Before bed time, ensure that everything is organised for the next day; lay out any clothes or school uniforms, pack any bags and prepare any lunches. This gives you more time in the morning with your family, instead of rushing around frazzled because you’ve left things till the last minute!

 Create a family calendar

A family calendar, along with a to-do list, is the perfect way of keeping on top of your family life and working life. By knowing who needs to be where, and when, things should flow a lot more smoothly, meaning you don’t need to be at work worrying about who’s going to pick the kids up.

 Talk to your employer

Talk to your boss or HR department if you’re having concerns about your work/life balance. They may be able to offer your flexible working hours so that you can spend more time with your family, or they may allow you to use your phone during working hours to stay in touch.

 Stay connected during the day

The benefit of technology means that we can stay connected 24/7. Calling your partner / children during a break is a great way for them to know that you are thinking of them. If you have to miss an event like a play or a concert, ensure that someone records it for you, or even FaceTime /Skypes you, so you can stay in the loop.

 Create special family activities

Plan special family bonding activities for you all to do together when you’re off work. Doing things as a family such as going for a walk together or sitting down to eat as one can help everyone to stay close and connected. As special treats, why not plan a special day out? 

 Spend time with your partner

Make sure to spend quality time with your partner; once you’ve put your children to bed, put your phone away too and connect with your other half. No checking emails or taking work calls unless it’s totally necessary! 

 Fit in ‘me’ time

The quest for a healthy work/life balance can leave even the most resilient of people feeling exhausted. Allowing yourself some ‘me’ time to just tune out and relax with a book, bath, or anything that chills you out is a great way to make sure you’re getting the balance right.

 Lower your expectations

Learn to accept that much of what you see other working mums post on the internet is a lie! There is absolutely no need to be perfect, and the more you strive for this, the more likely you are to feel unbalanced and out of sync. By lowering your expectations and just going with the flow, you’ll likely find yourself a lot more relaxed about being a working mum.

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Burnout: What to look for, and how to avoid it

frustrated young business man working on laptop computer at offi

With more and more UK professionals suffering from burnout, we thought we’d take a look at what you should be looking out for, and how you can avoid it. In the spirit of getting 2016 off to a healthy start, we’ve put together a short Q&A to make sure you’re on the right tracks.

  1. What can be done to avoid burnout?

It is easier to avoid burnout if you look after yourself properly and make sure that you are in tune with your body. Some of the best ways to keep yourself healthy, both physically and mentally, are:

  • Fuelling your body in the best way possible with a healthy diet, exercise and a proper sleep pattern; you can’t expect to keep using your body’s resources without replenishing them.
  • Set boundaries; allow yourself to say no – you need to learn how to delegate.
  • Have a daily technology break; even if just for 30 minutes, allow yourself time every day to disconnect from technology –  there is less chance for work stressors to creep in, whilst giving you more time to focus on your thoughts.
  • Ensure you have a non-work-related hobby that will give you time off. Keep time available to socialise, and make sure you have a reliable support system in place.
  1. Are stress and burnout different?

Yes, the two are different. While most people do have to deal with stress in their jobs, not everybody will experience burnout. Essentially, burnout is more like chronic stress; stress and burnout have very different effects on body. Stress tends to overwork the mind and overstimulate, whereas burnout causes a complete shut down and disconnection.


  1. What signs should you look out for?

Although burnout is different for everyone, the main warning signs to keep an eye out for are:

  • Feeling cynical about your work; failing to see a point in going to work or getting anything done
  • Lacking confidence in your abilities
  • Feeling disconnected from your work and the people around you
  • Struggling to find satisfaction from anything, particularly your job
  • Constant self-doubt
  • Loss of appetite
  • More illnesses; burnout can lower your immunity, making you more susceptible to colds and infection

With more people putting in long hours at work, it is likely that we will see an increase in the number of people suffering from burnout. The best ways to combat burnout are through a healthy, active lifestyle and a sufficient amount of sleep, having an interest outside of work as well as a supportive network of loved ones, family and friends.



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Leaving the military: what to do next

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Each year the UK sees around 20,000 service personnel leaving the military, whether that’s through redundancy, a natural end to commission, or medical discharge. There’s no getting away from the fact that leaving the military, a highly-structured lifestyle, and transitioning to the civilian world can be daunting and overwhelming.

If you’re leaving the Armed Forces and don’t know what to do next, we’ve come up with the top 5 jobs that should help to make the transition smoother, as well as using the skills that you’ll have acquired during your time in the military.

Intelligence analyst

If you spent time in the military analysing information and intelligence to determine its reliability, then we have good news. As an intelligence analyst for the government or a private business, you’ll be able to use the same skills, gathering information on competitors and analysing data. Your security clearance from the military will stand you in good stead for a government job; your reliability will be in high demand.

Management consultant

Ex-military personnel tend to work well in consultancy roles; your leadership and organisational skills will be an essential part of the job. In today’s economic climate, companies need to streamline and grow their businesses as effectively as possible, meaning that your experience could be invaluable.

Law enforcement

This is a career that is particularly well-suited to ex-services personnel, as working in law enforcement means adhering to strict rules and structured days. There are many parallels between a career in law enforcement and time in the military, so if the thought of civilian life is truly overwhelming, this could be the ideal job.


While perhaps not as regimented as a career in law enforcement, taking on a job in the security field can also work as a good way to ease the transition from the military. You would be in charge of ensuring the safety of everyone around, as well as planning for every possible situation; skills that are likely already honed from your time in the military.

Project manager

Many ex-servicemen / women find that project management is a good fit for them; PMs need to be organised, effective communicators, able to manage a team, and able to meet deadlines. The logistics involved with a career in project management can be easily managed by those who have similar military skills.

Whatever you choose to do, there are plenty of resources available to help your transition from the military to a civilian lifestyle. If you’re looking to take the next step, why not have a look at CV-Library and see what’s on offer.

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Adapting to a new dress code at work

business man straightening tie

If you work in a creative environment then it could be perfectly acceptable to roll up to the office in shorts and a well-worn t-shirt. Alternatively, if you work in a more structured environment like finance you likely have to adhere to very professional attire at all times. When you start a new job that has a different dress code than you’re used to, it can be quite a difficult transition, so we’ve put together a few tips to help you along the way.

When you need to be more casual

This is usually the easier of the two transitions – simply switch your 9-5 wardrobe with your weekend wardrobe and you’re good to go! Of course, if you’ve pulled on a suit every single day of your life then walking into the office in jeans could make you a bit uncomfortable; opt for office casual for the first few weeks and adapt your wardrobe to what everyone else is wearing, and what makes you most comfortable.

Forcing yourself to break the suit habit is important – you don’t want to make your new colleagues feel uncomfortable or underdressed because you’re not used to the dress code.

When you need to be much more professional

This transition could prove tricky for some; for starters your professional wardrobe is probably very small. While we do recommend investing in a few quality pieces of professional work wear, it’s not advisable to blow your first pay check on a new wardrobe. Instead, wear what you have until you’re certain the new job is going to work out, and then slowly build up your work attire.

After a few weeks you could feel tempted to slip back into your old ways, pushing the boundaries to see just how casual you can be. This is dangerous territory, so make sure you have a few conversations with your manager and colleagues to determine exactly what is and is not acceptable in the office.

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How to cope with redundancy

Business Move

The sad fact of the matter is that thousands of people around the world are made redundant every year. While it can come as a shock, the important thing to remember is that everything will be okay. If you’ve been hit by redundancy and don’t know what to do, then read on – CV-Library is here to help.

  1. Know your rights

By law, your employer will have a strict set of guidelines to stick to if they are making you redundant. Before you do anything, you should make yourself aware of your entitlements. In terms of notice, your employer should give you:

  • at least one week’s notice if employed between one month and 2 years
  • one week’s notice for each year if employed between 2 and 12 years
  • 12 weeks’ notice if employed for 12 years or more

As well as statutory redundancy pay, your employer should either:

  • pay you through your notice period
  • pay you in lieu of notice depending on your circumstances
  1. Don’t take it personally

Although it can be difficult, you should remember that you are not alone; chances are that there will have been other people made redundant too. While it can be difficult not to take it personally and feel negative about the situation, it’s important to remember that it’s not you that’s been made redundant – it’s the job. The company will most likely have been reacting to the economic climate; something well beyond your control.

  1. Take control of your finances

Though you should be entitled to statutory redundancy pay, it’s essential that you get your finances in order, especially now that you have to go back on the job hunt. Drawing up a budget of your outgoings compared with any savings or statutory pay can help you to see what sort of timescale you’re looking at, and how soon you will need to start looking for another job.

  1. Network

Once you have picked yourself back up and dusted yourself off, it’s time to get networking. Make use of contacts within your former company, as well as any friends you have who are currently in employment. Signing up to a social media site such as LinkedIn can give you a real boost when it comes to getting your name out there and getting back into the employment game.

  1. Prepare for your next challenge

Once you decide that you’re ready to start job hunting again, why not sign yourself up to a job-site and give yourself a good idea of what’s out there. CV-Library currently holds over 125,000 job vacancies, and one of them could have your name on it! Update your CV, and make sure to brush up on your interview skills; you’ll likely be asked why you’re searching for a new job, so make sure you are able to talk about your redundancy in a positive light!

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Feeling guilty about leaving the office at 5pm?

Happy businessman standing outside office, leaving from work, ar

If you work in an office, you’re likely to work a standard day of ‘9-5.’ However, in reality your working hours may more often than not start before 9am and end after 5pm. At what point do you need to be concerned about the number of hours you’re working, and should you be concerned about what time you actually enter and leave the office?

Manage your own time

There’s a fine line when it comes to your working hours – you don’t want to leave your team high and dry with loads of work when you shoot out the door at 5pm, but you also don’t want to be stuck in the office until late evening hours and neglect your personal life. It’s best to take a reasonable approach and do your best to manage your own time. Managing your own time means you need to have a clear understanding of your responsibilities, duties and deadlines.

Plan ahead

You should be able to plan for the week or even month ahead, and identify days when you might have to stay a little late in the office. This also means you know when you should be able to head home at a normal time. As a manager it’s best to communicate this to your team so they’re aware of what’s going on and when. As an employee don’t be afraid to ‘manage up’ either – it’s ok to tell your boss that you’ve planned the weeks ahead and communicate when you’ll be leaving the office on time. This way no one will be faced with a nasty surprise when trying to get out the door!

Talk to your manager

If you’re are feeling obligated to stay at work, especially when there’s nothing for you to do, it’s time to have a conversation with your manager about the working environment. Get clear information on what time you are allowed to leave the office in the evening, and ask that the business works to get rid of any stigma attached with doing so. Unfortunately far too many co-workers or managers will judge you for even considering leaving at a normal hour – and that’s just not fair.

The key is to be flexible – understand that there will be busy times where you might have to put in the extra work and the extra hours. If you’re really committed to your career you should feel comfortable doing so, as long as it doesn’t drastically impact a part of your personal life. However, if you don’t feel the motivation to put in the extra time when it counts, perhaps you’re in the wrong career?

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What to do if your boss is younger than you…

business, technology, people, deadline and team work concept - s

With workplaces becoming increasingly cross-generational, it’s unsurprising to discover that many employees are now being managed by someone younger than them. This change in the traditional employee-manager relationship has been known to cause problems for some, especially those who have found themselves answering to someone significantly younger. If you’ve found yourself with a boss who is younger than you, we’re here to tell you how to navigate the situation.

Be respectful

A boss who is younger than you is no less worthy of your respect; even if the age gap is worrying you, you should make sure that you’re being as respectful as you would be if your boss was older than you. You wouldn’t have any less respect for your boss based on their gender, religion or nationality, so their age should be no different.

Don’t mention their age (or yours!)

While it can be easy to tell your boss that they’re the same age as your youngest child, it’s probably best to keep it to yourself. While it might sound funny in your head, you run the risk of offending your manager; never ideal! Similarly, even if your boss does make you feel like a bit of a dinosaur, it’s definitely better not to vocalise it. It’s likely to make things awkward, while making it seem like you’ve got some age-related insecurities.

Be a mentor, not a parent

While it’s okay to ‘manage up’ and, if your boss is a new addition to the team, act as a mentor while they settle in, it’s not okay to act like their parent. There’s a difference between offering your knowledge and experience in a professional way, and by making your manager feel like they’re the child and you’re the parent. Coming across as patronising is one way to ensure that the relationship between you and your manager turns sour pretty quickly.

They’re your boss for a reason

Even if you feel like you’d be better positioned to take on the managerial role yourself, it’s important to remember that they have been hired as your boss for a reason. Even if you don’t agree with the decision, you should try seeing the positives; maybe they’ve got skills that you could learn, or vice versa.

Some people will feel uncomfortable with having a younger boss, whereas others aren’t likely to feel phased it at all. Don’t forget that you can bring up any issues with your manager, though you should approach the subject carefully.

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More power to you – candidates are back in control!

With news of candidates being back in control, we asked you about your job hunt. Here’s what you told us…


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How to be an expert communicator

Speaking Together

Pretty much every job in the world requires communication skills and a lot of jobs are extremely dependent on them. We need to realise just how important these skills are to our career and how developing them can help us to boost our success.


1. Join the chit-chat

Getting involved in office conversations can help you to improve your communication skills while also having a big impact on your working relationships. Your colleagues will like you more if you engage with them.

Ask your team about their lives; if they have any plans for the evening/weekend, what their interests are, if they’ve been watching that new TV show. Share details about yourself and you will probably find that you have some interests in common. Participating in chit-chat like this will make any professional communication a lot easier in the long-term. Managers and leaders who often find themselves more detached should also employ this tactic to help build connections with their team members.

2. Listen

Communication skills are not all about the talking, listening is massively important. You won’t be able to understand other people and their views if you don’t listen carefully to them. Listening will help you to deliver more meaningful responses and will help you to establish trust and make compromises. The best communicators are also the strongest listeners.

3. Be adaptable

We all communicate in different ways and the best communicators are aware of this and able to adapt accordingly. Try to observe how others naturally communicate and when you are working with them, make an effort to match their style. This will strengthen your working relationships and help you to achieve better results.

4. Give your attention

When someone is communicating with you, it’s important that you give them your full attention. Laptops, tablets, smartphones, emails, move them out of your way and give the other person the attention they deserve. Giving your full focus to a colleague will make them feel valued and you’ll be able to work better with them.

 5. Use your humour

Everyone loves a laugh, so don’t be afraid to have a joke with your colleagues. There’s nothing better than humour to relieve tension and lighten a mood. You may want to use it in a presentation to get your point across and make it memorable. Showing a sense of humour allows others to get to know you better. However, don’t get too carried away or be offensive!

6. Respond quickly

Responding to others promptly makes them think more positively of you. While you may not have an answer or a solution right away it’s always better to offer some form of response to keep the person you are liaising with informed. If you do this, others are likely to return the favour.

 7. Use analogies

Effective communicators know how to explain concepts and to help others relate. Using analogies are a great way to do this. Ensure that everyone is clear on what the vision is and what the expectations are.

8. Repeat, repeat, repeat

If you’re trying to communicate a key point/idea then try using repetition. It’s important that you do this in a natural way, for example if you are making a presentation you could refer to your key point at the beginning and end of each section. Rephrasing yourself will also help you to reinforce your ideas while keeping your audience engaged.

 9. Make notes

If you are communicating over the phone or in a meeting, making notes can be really helpful. Notes can help you remember the finer details and when it comes to taking action later you will have everything you need to know and will be able to show that you were listening in the results you produce.

10. Don’t assume

Communication can take a wrong turn if you are unclear about something and choose to make your own assumptions. If you are unsure, it’s always better to ask what someone is thinking or feeling. This shows that you do actually care about their opinion and you can clear up any uncertainty and make sound decisions as a result.

We use communication every day in thousands of different scenarios. Our communication skills can have a big impact on our relationships and success at work, so make the effort to improve yours. You can be an expert communicator in no time.

Article contributed by CareerExperts – a free careers site that exists to propel and support professionals on their path for career success. 

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It’s Your Turn to Ask the Questions – Questions YOU Should Be Asking in an Interview

So Many Questions!

When you’re preparing for an interview, it’s important that you don’t neglect the inevitable question at the close of the day – ‘Do you have any questions for us?’

With everything you’ll be researching and rehearsing to make sure you impress, this can be easily forgotten but it is a great way to show how keen you are and to make sure that you end on something positive about yourself.

You also need to remember that an interview isn’t just a way for a company or organisation to decide whether you are a good fit for the role, it’s a way for you to find out more so you can decide whether this is somewhere you’d like to work.

Here are 6 questions you should consider asking at the end of an interview. They will both highlight your interest in the company and allow you to draw on your strengths and demonstrate that you are the ideal candidate for the role.

Do you offer opportunities for professional development within the company?

This will show that you are keen to progress and are thinking about the long term possibilities with the company. It makes you look motivated to improve and shows that you will be taking the role seriously. You could also ask about career progression but don’t make it sound like you are only interviewing for this job as a short term post with the intent of moving on.

How can I impress you in my first month with the company?

This question will show that you are keen to make a positive start and get stuck in. It will also allow you to get some insight into how the company works and what they will be expecting of you. The wording of the question suggests that you have got the job and this makes you appear confident that you will.

What do you enjoy most about working here?

Asking a question that will allow you to communicate with your interviewer on a more personal level will relax the tone and require an honest answer that will give you insight into what it will be like to work for the company. Hopefully, the enjoyable aspects will be things that you will relish too. If not, it might be considered a warning sign.

Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working in?

Showing your interest in the team will demonstrate that you are a team player and that building relationships is important to you. It will also serve to give you more information about how you will be working and with whom, which are both important when deciding whether the job is right for you.

Do you have any doubts about whether I am suited for this position?

This is a very bold question and you should read the situation to make sure that this is an appropriate question to ask. If you feel it is, it can be a great way to show that you are not afraid of constructive criticism and are able to value other people’s opinions. More importantly, it will allow you to address any concerns the employer has and turn them into a positive. For example, if they feel that you are not experienced enough, this will be your opportunity to prove to them that you have all they need and to demonstrate why you are the ideal candidate for the role.

When can I expect to hear from you and what are the next steps?

It can sometimes take a while for employers to contact interviewees and you don’t want to be left wondering. Asking what the next steps are will make you look enthusiastic and confirm your interest in the role.

Nicola Vivian works with undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them improve their chances of gaining graduate employment by advising of work experience opportunities, developing transferable skills and supporting students to produce effective CVs, cover letters and applications. She is a regular contributor to WorkAlpha, a job search resource centre.


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