Written by Jana Angeles
Being pregnant shouldn’t be the reason why you should put off looking for the next work opportunity. We get it. It’s challenging to be in this position, but if you’re in the early stages of pregnancy and aren’t really showing, you can explain the situation after your future employer offers you a position!
We understand how job searching can be a bit of a pain when going through multiple interviews and sending out several tailored resumes hoping for the best. Even if you have to go through the somewhat painful recruitment process, it doesn’t hurt to apply for a dream role while managing a baby bump! Here are some tips to give you a headstart when job hunting while pregnant:
Be aware of your rights
Before you even think of sending another detailed job application, know your rights first when looking for work. It is unlawful for a potential employer to ask if you’re pregnant and to treat you unfavourably because of it. When you’re also starting a new position, your employer should be treating you fairly. If you happen to get dismissed, be given fewer hours, assigned less important work or being overlooked for a promotion because of your pregnancy, this is discrimination. You are protected by the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the Fair Work Act 2009. Anyone who breaches these could face heavy penalties.
Do some research on the workplace culture and its benefits
Work perks are everything, so being able to understand the culture while also doing a bit of research before you pop in for an interview will increase the chances of you making an informed decision on whether or not a position is right for you. Having a workplace that allows flexibility (ie. working from home to avoid the long commute on some days), salary packaging, bonuses, etc, also helps you make a decision on whether the position is financially stable and enjoyable too.
Be honest when they make a job offer
So, you’ve been made an offer, which is great news but you also owe it to yourself to be honest with your new employer too. Explain your pregnancy and how far along you are and ask questions on what it means for you. You can set up a meeting with HR and discuss future plans and how this will impact you when you are closer to giving birth. This is a great opportunity for you to ask about leave entitlements and the responsibilities you need to fulfil before you go on maternity leave. Being able to communicate this from the very start will make your new employer appreciate your honesty in planning for action for the oncoming months.
Know how to market yourself
We’re not saying that pregnancy is going to hold you back from getting a job but it will make things difficult if the role demands a lot from you. Knowing how to market yourself means networking with other people, looking for freelance roles which could upskill you and being aware of your work milestones while successfully addressing them to potential employers. It’s important to constantly give your resume a bit of a refresh and making sure you tailor your cover letter to suit the requirements for the job. It also helps to use language which entices the employer to meet with you and schedule an interview.
Whether you’re in between jobs, working only for six-months in your new position or have planned to take on new clients (when you decide to freelance full-time), plan your next steps in the lead up to the birth of your child. It’s important to prioritise what needs to get done before you go on leave and how much savings you require to get by. It’s difficult to accrue leave when you start a new position, so make sure you have an aggressive savings plans if you do decide to take maternity leave.
Alternatively, discuss with your current employer if you decide to switch to a part-time role or arrange for your close relatives or childcare to look after your baby on some days when you’re at work. Take note that if you decide to work after you have just given birth, understand your limits and don’t feel guilty if you need more time off than planned.
If you’re pregnant and are hesitating to look for a job, understand that you have rights and an equal opportunity to work as someone who isn’t pregnant. You shouldn’t put off your career goals just because you have a baby on the way. As long as you’re honest and have planned for the next steps, you’re on the right track to a successful job search!