Moms don’t get the recognition they deserve! As a business run BY local moms FOR local moms, Boston Moms is excited to showcase the hard work local moms are doing — both at home and in their professions.
Boston Moms is proud to feature Becca Carnahan, career coach and CEO of Next Chapter Careers, LLC, where she helps moms find jobs they love without sacrificing the flexibility they need.
We asked Becca to share a little about herself. Let’s get to know her!
Tell us your name and a little about your family! I’m Becca Carnahan. I’m a mom of two living in Littleton, MA, with my husband, 7-year-old son, 6-year-old daughter, and 2-year-old pup.
Favorite local restaurant? My husband and I love Great Road Kitchen in Littleton! It’s our go-to date night spot for delicious food, drinks, and a cozy atmosphere.
What do you do for work? I’m a career coach and CEO of Next Chapter Careers, LLC, where I specialize in helping moms land fulfilling jobs they love without giving up the flexibility they need. Before launching my business, I worked in higher education career and professional development for over a decade. Having kids was a huge turning point for me and for my career.
What was different professionally after you had kids? I loved my work but was eager to bring my creativity into my career while also wanting to be able to get my kids off the school bus. Lots of moms I chatted with on the playground wanted the same thing — it’s not too much to ask to have a flexible and fulfilling job. I wanted to use my professional experience to build a business I loved that would help these talented and passionate women live lives they loved, too!
You’re also an author! Tell us about your books. I’ve published three books! One is related to my work: “When Mommy Grows Up: A Guide to Parenting Yourself to a More Fulfilling Career.” It’s a career development book for moms filled with funny parenting stories and career lessons based on the things we teach our kids. It’s a book with lots of humor, heart, and powerful career coaching tools!
I’ve also written two children’s books: “Belinda Baloney Changes Her Mind” and “Benji Baloney Learns to Be Brave.” In Belinda Baloney, Belinda learns she doesn’t need to know what she wants to be when she grows up just yet and she can change her mind throughout her life. In Benji Baloney, Benji learns that being brave doesn’t always mean being big and strong — it’s also brave to feel your feelings and let them show. My wonderful sister-in-law illustrated both books!
It’s no secret that being a working mom during the pandemic has been TOUGH, and a lot of us are rethinking our careers and employment situations. What is our FIRST step? If you’re rethinking your career, the first thing to do is consider if you have a clear next step in mind or not. Neither answer is wrong, but knowing this will determine what to do next in order to be successful in your switch.
If you are clear on what you want (type of company, job function, job level, company culture, flexibility, industry, etc.), you’re going to be targeted in your approach by connecting with people in your ideal field/company, tailoring your resume, and even doing some job crafting in your current role to best position yourself for a move. If you aren’t clear on what you want next, don’t worry! (Don’t start applying to jobs just yet, though!)
How do we find something that’s fulfilling? What would it look like to have a fulfilling job? I love talking about fulfilling jobs, and the most interesting part about this conversation is that “fulfilling” will have a different definition for everyone. In my coaching program, we go through a four-step process to help you land that fulfilling job — starting with honing in on what a fulfilling job looks like to you. Having a guide through this exploration makes a huge difference (check out our free training!).
As a mom, we all need some level of flexibility in our professional lives. How do we attain that? It’s important to start with knowing what flexibility means to you. Like fulfillment, it’s different for everyone. Think about what you need and how that translates to a specific ask. For example, do you need to get your kids off the bus, which means leaving at 3 p.m. and hopping back on your computer later in the day to finish a project? Do your kids have soccer practice twice a week, so working from home on those days would allow you to get them there on time? Write out a list of what kind of flexibility you need, then go to your manager with a specific proposal. You’ll be more successful when you’ve thought through the details.
Does that also apply to a job search? If you’re navigating a job search, consider what questions you can ask in the informational interview or job interview stage to see if the company offers the flexibility you need. For example, is the company planning on staying remote or going back to the office? How is success measured in this role? Specificity wins here too!
What if I have a huge gap on my resume? I know it feels like you have a gap on your resume, but I don’t think you do! Over the past X number of years or months, what were you doing? Really think deeply about it. Were you a primary caregiver? Were you volunteering at your kids’ school or with youth sports? Did you take on any project-based work or a part-time position? Did you use time out of the paid workforce to upskill with a course? If the answer is yes to any of those things, you don’t have a resume gap — you have valuable experience to share.
For parents returning to the paid workforce, I’ll often include “primary caregiver” as a line item on their resume, and then we think about the skills they honed and utilized during that time and how those skills relate to their target job. Same goes for any project work, volunteer work, advisory roles, etc.
Remember you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience. When you’re looking at roles, don’t undersell yourself. Don’t rule out jobs just because of the “years of experience” number you see listed. You have more experience than you’re accounting for — I’m sure of it. Give yourself credit for what you’ve accomplished!
How do I know I’m being paid adequately? Salary transparency is becoming more normal, or at least we’re getting there, so there are tools you can use to benchmark your compensation. Check out Glassdoor, Working Mom Notes Salary Transparency Report, and Salary.com. I also suggest looking at job postings from states that have salary transparency laws like Colorado. Also, remember that while your resume is part of this process, when you shift your job search strategy to one based on making connections and telling your story directly to PEOPLE, you significantly increase your odds of landing a role at your desired salary range.
Where can we find your website and free training? You can find both HERE.