This week we have a guest blogger: Successful career relauncher Barbara Ann Spangler shares her return-to-work story.  Barbara Ann talks about how she networked to discover an internship position and to learn what skills she needed to acquire to succeed in that role.  Barbara Ann is a panelist at the Back to Business Women’s Conference on our Panel of Women Who Have Successfully Re-launched Careers.


I began my return to work journey a couple of years ago. Through this journey I struggled with how to approach returning to work. I met with several staffing companies and the feedback was that it had been too long since I had been working and it would be a hard sell to place me in a position. They suggested I start as a temp or an administrative assistant. While I was open to exploring that, I found that the jobs they targeted for me were less than challenging. I began to explore career changes as another path. I have a BA in Economics/Business Administration with previous work experience in data and financial analysis, process improvement, and technical documentation.

I connected with a peer of my husband’s who works in marketing at a local technology company. She set up a few meet and greets with other workers within the company so I could explore what their jobs were and what skills were required as well as get ideas on how to position myself. In one of the meetings with a Senior Director of Marketing Operations, we discussed the growing area of marketing analytics and how my background in data analysis meant I already had the skill set, but did not have experience with the tools. I had already explored the business analytics program at Wake Tech and signed up for their accelerated program to get a certificate in Marketing Analytics. The Sr. Director of Marketing Operations I had spoken to had an intern position for the summer and offered me the opportunity as a way to gain experience with the tools. I am currently working with their group using my process analysis and technical documentation skills to aid their group while gaining experience and exposure.

I had doubts that networking would be of benefit to me in my journey. However, it was through networking that I met people who took time to meet with me, tell me about their jobs, and help me on my journey. They offered me advice, suggestions and insight into what tools to learn and referred me to tech staffing companies. In the end, it led to a job.

I highly encourage you to go meet with people, ask questions about their jobs, think about what you want to do and be open to where the journey may take you.


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