Through your company, FlexJobs, you provide a hand-screened database of flexible jobs aggregated from a wide range of trusted sources. What need do you fill with women in midlife in particular?
The need we fill is that we help people, including women in their 40s, 50s, and beyond, find jobs that are in line with their career paths, and that also offer work flexibility. And a subset of that group includes women who are looking to change careers because their priorities and/or interests have shifted. Flexible work options like telecommuting, flexible schedule, and part-time roles are an excellent option for women in midlife, and for anyone seeking better work-life balance.
What challenges do you see for these women seeking flexible employment and, in some cases, returning to work after a hiatus?
The biggest challenges we hear about have to do with a lack of confidence in their next career move. Women who are returning to work after a hiatus feel unsure about their skills and abilities, both for their particular career field AND for the actually job search process. We try to help them with lots of articles about returning to work after a break, changing careers, creating a personal brand, and basic but essential resume, cover letter, and job interview advice. We also try to show the wide range of flexible work opportunities available to them, so that they feel confident that they’re making the right choices and headed in the right direction.
Do you find that companies seeking to hire are open and welcoming of older women, even if they’re been out of the workforce for a while?
We find that companies that are hiring for flexible jobs in industries like education, nonprofits, finance and accounting, customer service, IT, and many others are often more open about where someone is in their life and why they’re looking for a job with flexibility. These women bring a huge wealth of life and professional experience to the table. And the women who are able to position their time away from work as an asset, rather than a detriment, will really stand out to employers.
What advice do you have for women in midlife seeking to return to work?
The bottom line is that it’s important to do your due diligence. Research your opportunities before jumping into a job search. Consider honestly what is important to you in your next job, and what skills you might need that you might not have or might need to refresh. Ask yourself questions such as: Do you want to continue in your previous career or start out in a new one? Do you want to work in an office setting or from home? Do you want to work full-time, part-time, or on a project-to-project basis? Take this opportunity to brainstorm all the possibilities and get excited about your transition. And talk to other women — your friends, family, and professional network — who’ve made a similar return to work. How did they do it and what advice do they have for you?
How does FlexJobs help these women? What services do you offer?
At FlexJobs, we offer a job search experience that gives job seekers access to the largest database of hand-screened, professional flexible jobs out there, and our goal is to make the search for a flexible job faster, easier, and safer. The types of flexible work options that we focus on are telecommuting, flexible or alternative schedules, freelance work, and part-time arrangements. We work with employers of all sizes from Fortune 500 to startups, in all industries, and from around the world. We also offer services like skills testing, and we have thousands of articles with job search tips and advice. We also did a content series called 100 Days of Jobs for Moms to focus on helping moms return to the workforce, whether they’ve been out for 10 months or 20 years.
Some real-life success stories:
What resources do you recommend to women in midlife seeking to change jobs or reenter the workforce?
There are some great resources out there and we’re lucky enough to partner with some of them. Career Pivot is a great resource for people looking to change careers in midlife, and its founder, Marc Miller, has written several books on the subject. MyLifestyleCareer.com, run by career expert Nancy Collamer, is another solid resource for “second act” careers.
Contact Sara Sutton Fell at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Sutton Fell is the CEO and Founder of FlexJobs, an award-winning career website for telecommuting, flexible, freelance, and part-time jobs. Sara founded FlexJobs in 2007 while she was pregnant with her first son, after she experienced first-hand the frustrating search for professional jobs that also offered flexible work options. Having also co-founded an entry-level employment service in 1995 (JobDirect, later sold to Korn|Ferry International in 2000), she has long been passionate about helping people find jobs that make their lives better, and she is thrilled that her own experience as a working mom is now helping others who want or need work flexibility.