I promised you we’d dig deep into Credit Suisse’s Real Returns program and I’m about to deliver on that promise big-time! Back to Business conducted interviews with 4 Real Returns participants and they have given us some great insight into what it’s like to participate in the program. I can’t wait to share it all with you: You’ll hear about every part of their return-to-work experience, including how they knew they were ready to return to work and what their first day was really like.
Real Returns…It’s For Real
Here’s the summary: This program is a fantastic path back to work if you’ve got a career break. Your opinion is valued, your experience is respected, and you are set up for success within a supportive community of relaunchers and mentors. Read on for the details from Sally, Sreedevi, Tatyana and Krithika.
The women interviewed for this article had career breaks ranging from 5 to 29 years. Sally, Tatyana, and Krithika had experience in financial services prior to taking their career break, while Sreedevi had experience in software development.
Real Returns values all kinds of work experience and Credit Suisse strives to put program participants into a role that will draw on the skills they already possess as well as challenge them to expand their skill set.
Even if you don’t have experience in financial services, consider applying. According to Credit Suisse’s Katherine Tallent: “an interest in the financial industry and a willingness to learn are the biggest qualities we look for.”
Tell Me More!
Let’s walk through the Real Returns experience with these ladies from start to finish.
These women made great use of their career breaks! Sally spent almost all of her time out of the paid workforce leading philanthropic organizations in her community. Sreedevi was the software developer in the group, and knew that it was important for her to keep her skill set fresh so she attended training and completed professional certifications during her free time in order to be ready to relaunch her career. “I am always in touch with the latest technology,” she said.
Each of these relaunchers knew the importance of refreshing their skills and highlighting their community-based activities to prepare them to return to work. Krithika reskilled with LinkedIn Learning and by completing a certification in Finance. She also did some skill-based volunteering to get experience working in an office environment. In addition, she attended a return-to-work conference where she learned ways to prepare herself and met a lot of people who were transitioning back into the workforce after a break.
“It was very inspiring to hear from people who have been down the road I just started to walk on! All of this plus my added enthusiasm to work helped me feel recharged and ready to go back to work.”
Lesson Learned: You’ll need current skills to return to work and there are lots of ways to get them!
How They Knew They Were Ready
After extended career breaks, there came a time when they each knew that returning to work should be their next step. In one case, a change in life circumstances was the catalyst, for another it was that her kids were grown. Two of our relaunchers wanted to return to work because it filled important needs for them:
“I missed being around business people and getting tasks and accomplishing them” said Tatyana.
“My time away from work made me realize how much I missed working in a corporate environment and the feeling of being an independent woman,” said Krithika.
Applying for Real Returns
Applying for Real Returns was a straightforward process for these women and they invested time and energy into their applications and interview preparation.
Sally says: “I worked very hard on the application; updated my resume using a professional service. The interviews were panel style and behavioral; I did extensive research about Credit Suisse and various roles within the firm. There was a lunch hosted by CS and I used that opportunity to network.”
Krithika had a similar experience with her application:
“The Credit Suisse Real Returns program application and interview process was seamless and I felt instantly connected with everyone I spoke to during the process right from my recruiting business partner to my hiring manager. Applicants are given the opportunity to choose their areas based on their interests to explore. I had a great discussion with my hiring manager during the interview process and gained more insight about the team and the project that I might work on.”
Apply for Raleigh Real Returns here and New York Real Returns here.
First Day Jitters?
Then the big day comes – The first day back at work after an extended career break! This is an important life moment and these women were certainly up to the challenge.
Shreedevi spent some time preparing her kids for the transition and was pleased that they seemed ready and supportive as she returned to work.
Krithika’s Raleigh Real Returns 2020 program was 100% virtual due to covid and while she was both excited and a little bit nervous on her first day back to work, she was pleased with how well the program was run: “The way the virtual program was organized and conducted is extremely commendable.”
Here’s Sally’s take on her first day, which really illustrates the importance of finding the right job and company: “I was excited and not nervous. Credit Suisse was very supportive; I remember at the end of my first day almost bursting into tears because I knew CS was the right “home” for me to re-launch and build my career.”
Lesson Learned: Don’t believe the hype that getting back to work has to be a crazy time for you or your family. With the proper preparation and the right mindset, this transition can be an exciting time of growth for everyone involved!
Mentorship Makes A Difference
One of the Real Returns perks that makes the experience special is being assigned a mentor to rely on for help. Each of these women had a productive relationship with their mentor and credited them with being an invaluable source of support and guidance. Here, in their own words, are some reflections on their mentor relationship:
Sally: “The best part about Credit Suisse Real Returns has been the connection with a “buddy” and a “mentor”. I still maintain both relationships and have benefitted greatly from the stewardship and guidance I have received. My Mentor supported a very wide spectrum: culture at CS, career advice; personality management; sounding board for presentations, supplier of additional resources for presentations, networking, advice on negotiating strategy and strategy regarding finding a conversion role. We met initially once a month and then on an as-needed basis.”
Krithikta: “My Credit Suisse mentor is very encouraging, helpful and available to talk whenever I asked for advice. We discussed effectively networking virtually and building relationships.”
Tatyana: “My mentor Christina is an amazing person. She was always available for me in case I needed her. We discussed my progress in adjusting to the working environment…I could reach out to her any time. She was always open to help and support me and I received lots of wise advice from her. She helped me a lot.”
Training is another important component of Real Returns and each of the women we interviewed mentioned that the training helped them assimilate into their new roles.
Training topics included software systems, hard skills, leadership, and career development training. Importantly, the training exposed participants to leaders from different departments at Credit Suisse, which helped participants understand where their team and role fit into the big picture and gave them exposure to people that helped them build their professional networks.
In addition to the formal training sessions, Krithika benefitted from informal learning opportunities on her team: “I received excellent on the job training that helped me be successful with my project work.”
The Insider Perspective – Beyond Real Returns
After the formal program ended, each of these women was able to transition successfully into a position at the bank. Sally is currently an Assistant Vice President (AVP) Securitized Products Operations Control Team Management. Tatyana is a Business Analyst, CS Regulatory Services. Krithika is an AVP Regulatory Reporting. Sreedevi’s title is AVP GCP DA Production Support.
Sally and Sreedevi leveraged the connections they made on other teams at the bank to secure their roles, while Tatyana assumed a position with the team she worked on during Real Returns. Krithika moved into a position on the IHC Regulatory reporting team where she works on the bank’s quarterly reports.
A Few Of My Favorite Things
I wanted to know what each person’s favorite part of Real Returns was and they did not hold back! Here’s what they told me:
Sally: “The access to absolutely anything I was interested in. We are encouraged constantly to reach out to anyone, regardless of position, to satisfy our curiosity. I also loved the autonomy I was given with the project I was assigned; I was allowed to stretch my knowledge and skillset in its completion and presentation.”
Sreedevi: “My favorite things in the Real Returns program are meeting with the cohort every week, networking sessions, and training sessions.”
Tatyana: “It helped me to get back to work smoothly and easily, without stress. With participation in the Real Returns Program, I got back confidence that I lost due to the break in my career. I received support and was provided with all the needed information and knowledge that helped me to demonstrate that I can become a valuable team member for my group. It was also a great opportunity to meet people who are professionals and to learn a lot from them. I am very thankful to Credit Suisse for the opportunity.”
Krithika: “I enjoyed everything about the program from the networking sessions, to being a part of a wonderful cohort and working on a project with an amazing and talented team where I got to learn a lot and experience the professional environment once again.”
This Could Be Your Next Chapter!
So there you have it: the complete stories of 4 Real Returns participants! I found their insights valuable and was cheering these women on as I wrote this up.
If your career break was at least 2 years, I hope you’ll consider applying to Real Returns and joining Sally, Tatyana, Sreedevi and Krithika. Returning to work at a company that values all of your experience, including the time you spent out of the paid workforce, can be an exciting next chapter in a successful career.
Thanks to Sally, Tatyana, Sreedevi and Krithika for sharing their stories with the Back to Business community!
Learn More and Apply Here
Real Returns is currently accepting applications on the Credit Suisse website.
For the Raleigh application, click here and for New York click here.
These roles are open for a limited time.
The 2021 Real Returns participants will start work on September 20th for New York and September 27th for Raleigh. The program runs for 12 weeks, ending on December 10th and 17th respectively.
Learn more about Real Returns here.
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Returnships
Brought to you by Back to Business
Returnships are a great way for individuals who have been out of the workforce for a period of time to return to work. These are internship-like programs that typically hire a cohort of people to work for a defined period of time, provide mentoring and training and then, ideally, offer the Returners a full-time job upon completion of the program. There’s a lot to know about Returnships so I’m going to really dig into the details here.
Returnships were first developed in the early 2000’s as a few forward-thinking Human Resource professionals realized that having a gap in your work history made it difficult for people to get a job. They started in investment banks, and Goldman Sachs is credited with pioneering the first returnship program in 2008.
Register for the Returnship Career Fair Hosted By Back to Business
Back to Business is hosting a virtual Returnship Career Fair on Friday, April 30,2021. This event is free for job-seekers and is your chance to learn all about Returnships and meet recruiters who are filling Returnship positions and other openings. Advance registration is required. Register here before this event fills up!
Returnships Usually Require a 2-Year Career Gap
Returnships can be an efficient and effective path back into the workforce for professionals who have some professional work experience, even if your work experience isn’t recent. Recruiting for a position that actually requires a minimum of a 2-year career gap can be a very refreshing experience for people who are job-seeking after a career break and are worried about explaining that gap in their work history to employers. Requirements can vary by the company, but the minimum 2-year career break is quite common among returnships, though many specifically state that you can qualify if you have been unemployed or under-employed for at least the past 2 years. Under-employed might mean that you took a job during the last 2 years that is not in your career field or is part-time work instead of full-time, just because you needed to make ends meet or thought it might be a stepping-stone to get you back into an appropriately-leveled job in your intended career field.
Returnships Aren’t Just for Moms
Women who left their careers to raise children were the original target of Returnship programs, but they are also a good solution for anyone who has taken an extended leave to care for a sick relative or stepped out of the workforce due to their own health issue and veterans transitioning out of the military. Also, stay-at-home Dads are welcome to apply for Returnships!
Join the Group
Returnships are often planned to include a group, or cohort, of people hired at the same time. The group is onboarded together through a new-hire orientation and continues to meet periodically for training opportunities throughout the Returnship. The group aspect of these programs is thought to be a major contributor to the success of individuals participating in Returnships. Imagine making a big life transition such as returning to work after a career break and having a built-in support system of people making that same transition! You’d immediately be connected to others who understand exactly what you’re going through and who are likely experiencing the same pressures and stresses of balancing family and work and, well, life. Cohorts can range in size from just 2 all the way up to 16 at a larger firm with a well-established Returnship program.
Returnships will vary by company, but many have skills training opportunities built into the program. These can either be at the beginning of the program, occur periodically throughout the program, or (ideally) occur at both of those times. Companies running returnship programs are investing in you and are providing training opportunities so you can refresh your skills and succeed on the job. Soak it up – if you’re lucky enough to land a job at a company that spends time and money ensuring their employees skills are sharp, you are in a good place!
Many Returnships were created to fill technical positions, such as Software Engineer. We’re all familiar with the lopsided make-up of the technical workforce and how it skews heavily male. Returnships can be a great way to incent women with technical skills to return to the workforce. The upskilling these programs provide can solve the tricky problem that many women face who understand that taking a few years off of a technical career can leave them with outdated skills.
All Kinds of Jobs Can Be Returnships
Returnships aren’t just for technical positions. In fact, the Returnship model works well for jobs across a whole range of functions. Credit Suisse’s Real Returns Returnship Program sources candidates for roles across their business units in multiple different functions. In this case, they identify positions that need to be filled on different teams and earmark those roles for the Returnship. Then they get filled with candidates who meet the Returnship criteria and who will participate in the Returnship programming.
Sourcing General Returnship Candidates
In rare cases, I am aware of companies that want to run a Returnship program and put out a very general call for candidates that meet certain criteria. The corporate recruiter who evaluates those candidates is looking for (a) a good fit with the organization and (b) someone with the potential to thrive in a role that can be molded to suit their skill set. The only company that I know of that filled their Returnship opening this way was able to do so because they had just one opening. It would be very difficult to fill multiple roles this way! It’s also difficult to apply because you don’t know what they are looking for.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced many jobs to transition quickly to remote work or work from home (WFH). Even now there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the date by which many companies will have employees return to the office. As they hire new employees, companies are having them WFH either temporarily or on a permanent basis. Personally, I think we’ll see quite a bit of flexibility surrounding work arrangements in the future, with many employers offering their people a hybrid model that includes the option to WFH a few days a week and work in the office a few days.
Returnships that begin in 2021 are likely to start as remote positions. However, this can vary by the company and depends on their corporate WFH policy. Some companies are sourcing candidates for their Returnships that live in a specific area or are willing to relocate there at some point in the future when it becomes safe for employees to return to the office. If you are interested in a companies’ Returnship program, be sure to find out if the role is either temporarily or permanently remote.
What to Look For In a Returnship Program
If you’re interested in pursuing a Returnship as a path back into the workforce, here are a few things to look for as you evaluate the program and the position:
- Will you be part of a cohort of people hired at the same time?
- Is there a plan for professional skills training for Returnship hires?
- Will you be assigned a mentor or a buddy to help you navigate the company?
- Does the company hope to hire the Returnship participants on a full-time basis at the conclusion of the Returnship program? Be sure your expectations are in line with the companies’ on the subject of full-time employment.
- If the company has run a Returnship before, what percent of Returnship participants joined the company full-time at the conclusion of the program?
These are Paid Positions!
Returnships are paid work opportunities! You will be performing professional-level work and should expect to be paid for this work at a rate in line with the job market.
Can You Suggest A Returnship To A Company?
If you are pursuing a job at a company and are encountering resistance because you’ve been out of the workforce for a period of time, you can always educate the employer about Returnships by sharing an article like this one. In lieu of a structured Returnship program, you can suggest the idea of a shorter-term project or contract work that could convert to full-time work in the future. If you and an employer are making arrangements like this, be sure to get the agreement in writing so you are both clear on what you’re committing to. And remember that both parties need to perform up to expectations in order for that conversion to a full-time position to make sense.
Returnship participants are typically assigned a mentor to help ease their transition back to work and to help them succeed at the organization. Your mentor might be in a senior position and can help you navigate corporate culture, your relationships with your manager or your colleagues, and many other situations you might encounter as a new employee with the perspective of a seasoned veteran. If you are assigned a mentor, be sure to discuss how you plan to work together, how often you’ll meet and the types of things your mentor is willing and able to advise you on. Be sure to let your mentor know of any areas that you might need extra support in, so they can be prepared to assist with those.
You might also be assigned a buddy in the organization. Your buddy might be a colleague at your same level who can provide you a perspective of a teammate and who you should feel comfortable asking any question of. Similar to your mentor, you’ll want to talk about how you plan to work together, the best way for you to communicate and if you’ll meet on a schedule or if they’ll be available on a more as-needed basis to answer questions for you.
How To Find Out About Returnships
Register for the Back to Business virtual Returnship Career Fair to learn more and to meet employers hiring for their Returnships. Returnships are also posted on company websites, specifically on their Careers page. Not every company has a Returnship program and most of those that do run them on a seasonal basis. Also, some companies might have a Returnship program but won’t be recruiting candidates when you are looking for a job. So check back often to see if / when the window for recruiting for the companies’ Returnship opens.
Companies With Returnships in 2021
Here’s a partial list of companies that run Returnship programs (there are many more!):
- Credit Suisse
- Deutsche Bank
- Goldman Sachs
Register for the Returnship Career Fair
Back to Business is hosting a virtual Returnship Career Fair on Friday, April 30. This event is free for job-seekers and advance registration is required. Submit your resume in advance in order to get it in front of recruiters looking to fill Returnship positions and other openings.
Register here before this event fills up!
What Other Questions Do You Have?
Email me at katiedunn@BackToBusinessConference.com with your questions about Returnships. There’s a lot to know about these programs and I want to be sure you are armed with everything you need to be a strong Returnship candidate!
Join the Back to Business Community
Back to Business was started in 2015 to help women return to work after taking time off from their careers. We have built a community of women supporting each other during this important transition and we host the largest return-to-work conference in the Southeast, the Back to Business Women’s Conference. Join our email list to receive our best advice for your return to work and to stay updated on our events and virtual MeetUps.
Is a multigenerational workforce a new thing? What’s different now is that as of 2016 we now have five distinct generations in the workforce. People are working and living much later in their lives. There are more Americans over 85 in the workplace than ever before.
What’s the impact on the office when you have that many generations working at the same time. Although generations are only one aspect of what people are, things like communication, experience, provide opportunities.
A good manager is a good manager, despite the generation, but today’s managers are pioneers into a new workforce.
“So it’s not about doing it all the old way or all the new way. It’s about the combinations of having a toolkit that combines the best of every era’s different ways of working to find a diversity of styles in your management toolkit.” – Lindsey
We discuss all the recent research about women leaving the workforce in large numbers in 2020. Institutional and governmental solutions are needed. This is not sustainable.
Lindsey talks about her new book
Recalculating:The Covid-19 pandemic has upended job hunting and career planning forever. Recalculating: Navigate Your Career Through the Changing World of Work is your personal GPS to succeeding today and into the future.
We discuss Lindsey’s predictions about what the workplace looks like after COVID-19.
We discuss how working from home impacts career advancement and opportunities.
- Look at your culture and what is valued and think about how you can show your value.
- Get more comfortable tooting your own horn
- Personal branding is still very important
- The relationship that matters more is your direct manager
We discuss the loss of people who are entering the workforce during this time that never experienced the traditional experience of working in an office and those starting their careers virtually.
“I think we have to really take time to mourn what we’re losing as much as thinking about the future.” – Lindsey
We talk about how job seekers have had to adapt during 2020.
- Don’t stop getting out there and applying for jobs
- You have to adapt to the new ways people are interviewing, figure out how to get good at it.
How to get started on your job search – bias toward action
Making the most of a networking event with Caitlin Hooks – the tips hold true even for virtual events -Caitlin told us to • Step 1: Research thoroughly• Step 2: Engage pointedly• Step 3: Follow up strategically
Basically – figure out who’s going to be there and who you want to meet, show up early, be prepared, do some research so you know what you want to talk about with people, and then afterward follow up with people you met to solidify the connection and keep the relationship going. BTW, much of this advice still applies to virtual events. That was episode 2.
Episode 3 was all about Joining a job search group and my guest was my friend Ellen Dalbo. Did you know that people who took part in “job search work teams” got employed 20% faster than those using traditional methods? This is according to the book “Team Up!” by Orville Pierson. Churches run groups, there are MeetUps for every kind of interest and job field and if you’re local to the Raleigh area, join Back to Business. Back to Business – the growth of a community is a big goal of Back to Business, and we have been able to connect women returning to work after a career break with each other, and with employers. Joining a job search group is a point reinforced by Dr. Dawn Graham in episode 33 who said that a job search is a social event and we should talk about what we’re looking for so others can help us. I love it when it all comes together like that!
And speaking of asking for help with your job search, this is a theme that Steve Dalton, author of The 2 Hour Job Search and I spent some time discussing. I love Steve’s take on why we have to get comfortable asking other people for help. The 2 Hour I asked Steve if The 2 Hour Job Search process still holds even in our covid-affected environment of 2020.
Preparing for an interview with Al Dea was episode #4. Al says that before you walk into an interview, you should Craft Your Story. You should take the insights you get from your research about what this company is looking for in candidates, and come up with the narrative that you want to tell about why you are the best person for the job. He even says to think of yourself as a product on amazon.com – and be ready to sell yourself as a solution that the company needs.
Jeremy Schifeling from Break into Tech describes the different tech roles – I love how he makes this so easy to digest and understand. Take a listen, this is masterful as he takes us through everything from business operations to Corporate development to Product management!
Sometimes you need professional help to get your most important job-seeking assets in great shape. That’s when you’d call my friend Mir Garvy from Job Market Solutions – she’s an expert resume writer and LinkedIn profile writer. I called on Mir to take us through the process of working with a professional LinkedIn/resume writer in episode 7. Here’s Mir talking about how she helps clients develop a resume that will get past that Applicant Tracking System.
Mir came back for an encore in episode 10 to provide us with some great Linkedin tips. Here are my 2 favorite tips for LinkedIn: (1) Have a compelling opening statement for your About section and be sure it’s keyword optimized. And (2) Tell the story behind your resume in your Linkedin profile and share a heartfelt reason why you do what you do.
Glassdoor is a good source for company ratings and in E8 I talked to my niece Ellen Dunn who was an Account Executive there about how to make the most of Glassdoor in your job search. Ellen’s best tips: Use Glassdoor to prep for interviews because people share on that site the interview questions they were asked. Also, use Glassdoor to make sure you know your worth when you are negotiating an offer. If you’re going to convince someone to give you more money, you’ll need good data to back up your claim, and you can get that on Glassdoor.
Now, in addition to negotiating, one thing you simply must be able to do as a job-seeker is talk about your strengths in a confident manner. So I spent some time with Damien Zikakis, a career coach based in Michigan, to talk about the StrengthsFinder assessment. Damien shared in episode 9 that we can make greater strides in our self-development when we focus our resources on developing our stronger talents into strengths as compared to focusing on fixing weaknesses or trying to develop lesser talents. If you’re interviewing for a job, Damien says that your ability to describe your Strengths and how you capitalize on them, both individually and as part of a team, will set you apart from other candidates. And that just might be the edge you need in an interview. So take the CliftonStrengths assessment and then lean into your strengths.
Companies have been putting more effort into hiring more diverse teams, and I wanted to understand how this works for candidates. Danielle Pavlil, a Sr. Diversity & Inclusion Manager at SAS, and I spoke in episode 11 about leveraging uniqueness in your job search. I loved that title, which Danielle suggested. I also loved some of the information she shared which helped me understand the importance of being a voice for others to ensure that people with diverse gifts are recognized and appreciated in the workplace.
In episode 12 I spoke with a technical recruiter named Dina Schweitschal about succeeding at technical interviews. Technical interviews aren’t something that every job seeker will encounter, but if you’re interviewing for a position as a software developer, you will definitely be put through a technical interview. Dina shared that candidates should be asking questions during a technical interview, rather than pretending they know everything. And for job seekers in general, you might be interested to know that only 5 or 10 % of people bother to write thank you notes after an interview and only about 15% write a cover letter. And, guess what? She actually reads cover letters and that can set a candidate apart if it’s done well. Now that’s info you can use in your job search right now. We talk with Dina about some ideas about writing thank you notes.
If you’re returning to work after taking time off to stay home with kids, here are a few gems specifically for you:
If you’re deciding if you should take the first job that comes along as you return to work, here are a few things to consider from episode 6. First, it depends on your motivation, so take stock of what’s compelling you to rejoin the workforce. Second, since every big choice we make involves a trade-off, be really clear about the trade-off involved in taking the job so you can make a good decision about if it’s the right job for you. Consider the positives and the negatives. And third, decide if this job might be the stepping stone to get you to your ultimate career goal, and if so, take it!
In episode 13, my guest was coach Farnoosh Brock. Farnoosh is so smart and if you’re not following her on LinkedIn, I suggest you do so that you can benefit from all the great content about career success that she is sharing. Farnoosh and I talked about determining where the right place might be for you to re-enter the workforce if you haven’t had a paying job in a while. She gave a tip that has really stayed with me: in addition to taking an inventory of what you are good at, you have to consider if those particular skills you possess are skills you actually want to use. Yup. Just because you have skills in one area doesn’t mean that using them will make you happy. Good stuff, right?! Because we all know we’ll be better at something and more highly motivated to do a good job if we enjoy what we’re doing.
And if you’re returning to work amid a divorce, please check out episode 18. This is my conversation with Sarah Hink, an attorney at New Direction Family Law in Raleigh NC. I know there are many women out there who are in a position of having to get a job as you go through a divorce. Sarah and I tackle the question of how getting a job before your divorce is final will impact your settlement, what happens if one spouse has been unfaithful and how to carve out money to use to upskill in preparation for returning to work.
In March, when covid shifted how we work, live, learn, and look for work, I did an episode about adapting your job search to our new virtual-only world. 9 months later, it’s clear this is a shift that will impact hiring and the future of work permanently. Interviews became virtual-only and those in-person meetups and coffee chats that I’ve always felt were important for job-seekers disappeared. My best advice for finding a job in our current environment: continue to the network by requesting meetings / informational interviews with anyone who knows anything about the job you want to get. Also, get savvy on social media and build an online presence as a professional in your field. This will help you get those networking meetings that may lead you to that person who can advocate for you for the right job opportunity.
If you’re wondering how on earth to reach out to people you don’t know to talk about career choices, and I know you are, take a few clues from my friend Nishant Motwani. Nishant was an MBA student that I met when I was working at UNC-Chapel Hill. He came to the US from India to pursue his MBA and didn’t know a single person in this country. His story is really inspirational because he needed a network and he set about building one. He was so good at it, he works at Google today. Well done, Nishant. That was episode 17 called How to Build a Network from Scratch.
And for a different perspective of networking, I talked to my friend Adam Connors. He talked about the value of rekindling older connections with people from earlier in life. “There’s no better time,” he says. Corona has reminded us that our relationships are the most important things we have and encouraged us to continue to cultivate relationships. Sending someone a note that says “I’m thinking about you and here’s why” is a great way to get started.
And if you want specific tips on doing video interviews or putting together a video resume, check out my conversation in episode 16 with Ryan Carey from BetterOn. Ryan let me in on a secret that your energy comes across differently on video and you should know how your energy translates on video: Record yourself doing a practice interview and notice how you feel as you do it. Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 for the level of energy you feel you are putting out. Then watch it back and rate it as an audience member. Ryan says you should push yourself to be an 11 on a 1-10 scale! Research shows that people won’t remember your message so much as they will remember how they felt talking to you. Your positive energy can leave them with a great impression. So take that tip from Ryan Carey and bring the energy!
Job seekers: Be sure to look for your state’s free job-searching resources. If you’re in North Carolina, check out ncworks.gov for a job board, access to career coaches, and other resources. In episode 22, I spoke with Michelle Muir, the Regional Operations Director for the North Carolina Department of Commerce. She pointed us to career exploration tools, resume assistance, and job search assistance, including a job board and even scholarships that are available for retraining. I want you to find every resource out there, so if you’re in North Carolina, ncworks.gov is a good place to look for job search support.
If you’re considering a career change or a return to work, I hope you’ll be as inspired as I am by Annie Francheschi. Annie joined me for episode 23 to talk about her book Permission To Try. If you’ve ever worried about what other people might think about your choices, you’ll want to hear Annie’s take on how much you should pay attention to other people’s advice.
As covid wore on, I sought the help of recruiter Will Barfield to talk about finding opportunities in a tough job market. Will shared some great advice that he gave to a job-seeker who needed to pivot from a job in meetings and events to a new field.
As a parent of 2 college-age kids, I spent a lot of time in 2020 thinking about the best way for them to approach college given the limitations Covid was forcing upon us. Taking a gap year began to look like a smart idea and using that time to learn software development skills at a code school and then working until fall 2021 made it an even smarter idea. So I recorded episode 24 with Jessica Mitsch, CEO of Momentum code school in Durham, NC, Mason Whitaker who is a graduate of the immersive software development program at momentum, and college admissions advisor Abby Bittler. Mason has had a stellar start to his career and it was fun to hear how learning the software development skill set and having a college degree has fast-tracked him to a leadership position. By the way, it’s not too late to join us at Momentum for a January start to this 16-week software development program if you’re a college student looking to take a semester off college until things on campus get back to normal. There aren’t that many meaningful things you can do with a semester off in 2020 given covid, but learning to code can be done virtually, so it’s a great option. Mason Whitaker tells his story and the role that his code school education has played in his success.
If you’re a career switcher, I’ve got some great stuff for you! This is such a hot topic and so many job-seekers fall into this category that I did two episodes on this. The first was with Karen Weeks, SVP of People at OrderGroove. In episode 27, Karen gave some great advice for showcasing your transferable skills on your resume and talked a lot about the value of immersing yourself in the new field you’re making a change into.
Dr. Dawn Graham weighed in with advice for career switchers too in episode 33. Dawn hosts the Sirius XM show “ Dr. Dawn on Careers” and is the author of Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Careers & Seize Success. Dawn had so much great advice that you’ll just have to listen to it! But in the meantime, Listen Dawn talking about approaching your career as a social activity.
And for all you working moms out there, don’t’ miss my conversation with Christine Michele Carter. She’s an advocate for working moms and advises companies on how to hire and retain working moms. Christine shared the need to be constantly reframing the set of circumstances working moms are facing this year in order to survive. And, she told me it was OK that my kids’ screen time approaches 11 ½ hours, so I loved that. Christine is awesome! She’s pushing for paid leave, flexibility at work, and other policies that will help working moms do everything we do.
Austin Belcak was another amazing guest. He has tons of great ideas for job seekers and advocates that you reach out to 10-15 contacts at each company you’re applying to. Yes, 10-15 people per company! Here he is talking about why it’s more efficient to target contacts on the team you want to work on rather than targeting recruiters.
There’s such a need for companies to be flexible with their employees right now, as people are juggling their kids’ virtual schooling in many cases with their own work and an elevated stress level. When I saw the recent data about the huge numbers of women leaving the workforce, I reached out to journalist Sarah Green Carmichael to talk through the data with me. In episode 34, Sarah sheds light on these disturbing statistics and shares ideas about how companies can keep the women they have. Interestingly, Sarah Carmichael and Christine Michele Carter both cited a lack of childcare subsidies and the need for more flexibility as key factors for retaining women. We’ve got to solve this one. We need more, not less, women in the executive suites at our great American companies and if we can’t keep women in the workforce, we’ll never be able to increase our numbers in leadership positions. I feel so strongly about this: I started Back to Business to help women return to work after taking a career break because I want to see women with career options that fit our complex lives and acknowledge the importance of our role as mothers. Being a mother is perfectly compatible with being a successful professional.
I have met so many interesting people doing season 1 of the Get A Job, here’s How podcast. It was a thrill to finish the season out with a truly inspirational conversation with Jamie Valvano. Jamie has such an eloquent way of talking about how she pulled herself out of a prolonged, difficult period of her life. She’s the daughter of famed basketball coach Jim Valvano and she really embodies his “never give up” spirit that we all fell in love with. My conversation with Jamie left me feeling fired up to articulate my vision and get busy making it a reality. Seriously, folks, take a listen. It’s episode 34 and it’s a good one.
Thanks for a successful first year of the Get a Job, Here’s How podcast. We’ve all had to make adjustments in 2020 to how we do things and for me, it’s been a year of trying new things, like this podcast. I’m so glad you’ve been along for this ride with me and I hope you’ll continue to listen.
The best way to stay in touch with everything going on here is to join the mailing list at Back to business. You’ll find it at www.backtobusinessconference.com Please also subscribe to the podcast and keep listening. I appreciate you!
My plan for 2021 involves publishing a series of digital courses to help women returning to work after taking a career break. I’m excited to get them into your hands because I know that as our economy turns around we’ll want to be ready to seize the opportunities.
Did you know after the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, we had the Roaring 20’s! As we near the end of 2020 and look forward to an end to the coronavirus pandemic, I’m believing for some Roaring 2020s! I can’t wait!
Merry Christmas, y’all!