Looking For a Job With Baby on Board: 7 Steps to Success

Searching for a job with a baby on board can be tricky because prospective employers don’t know yet that you’re an outstanding team player. But increasingly, companies are recognizing that keeping parents happy—in fact keeping all workers happy—boosts the bottom line. Here are seven steps to take as you look to reenter the workforce or look for a new job.

1. Finding good companies for parents

Looking for a new job at companies recognized as being parent-friendly is a smart move. Before you start sending applications, Google “best companies for parents,” and (even if you’re a dad) “best companies for working moms.” Some large companies pop up in numerous surveys, which is a good sign of a parent-friendly culture.

2. What types of jobs offer flexibility

Jobs in education are ideal for some working parents because their at-school hours closely follow their children’s schedules. For example, children of teachers can often attend the school where their parent works. In that case: if your child has an emergency at school, you’re already on site. For some parents, driving a school bus allows them to maintain a schedule that closely mirrors the school schedule. Speaking of driving, other parents like the flexibility of driving for ride-sharing services.

As you brainstorm job possibilities, give extra weight to jobs that don’t necessarily require that workers be on site and roles that allow workers to set their own schedules. For example, independent writers (including this one), website developers, research analysts and engineers, data scientists, software developers and realtors can typically set their own hours and work from any location.

3. When to ask about work-life balance

Don’t ask about work-life balance right away. Instead, keep mum about being a parent until you’ve impressed your boss-to-be with your skills and accomplishments. Just like salary, this is a topic for the second or third interview or even for after you’ve received a job offer. The deeper you get into the process, the more likely the company is to negotiate good terms. In fact, work-life balance is a key negotiating point along with salary and other benefits.

4. How to ask about work-life balance

How you ask about work-life balance is as important as when you ask. Instead of making it all about you, ask your prospective boss these questions:

  • How do current employees balance work and personal commitments?
  • Do team members cover for each other?
  • Do workers use sick leave for a sick child?
  • Does the company offer flexible scheduling?
  • What is the most popular benefit?

5. Decide what balance is worth to you

Think hard about what work-life balance is worth to you in financial terms. While you might be paid $10,000 a year more in a workplace with a workaholic culture, you’ll likely be much happier with less money and more flexibility. Figure out the financial tradeoff you’re willing to make for a more balanced, flexible life.

6. Stress your flexibility, loyalty, and results

When the topic of children or other family responsibilities comes up, be ready with a true-life story from your current job or a past job on how you managed to juggle your work and personal roles for a win on all fronts. Perhaps you picked your sick child up early from school and finished a critical report later at home while your child rested.

7. Why parents make good workers

When you do bring up work-life balance, be ready to talk briefly about how being a parent has made you a better employee. Many parents find that having children helps them to become better at time management—more focused and efficient.

Search for your next job now:


Back to listing

The Washington Post Jobs Newsletter

Subscribe to the latest news about DC's jobs market