Tell us about your decision to take a career break
I was working as a pharmaceutical sales representative and pregnant with my son when I was part of a company-wide layoff. I decided it was a great opportunity to stay at home for a little while and enjoy the transition into motherhood before resuming my career. I looked at the layoff as a gift and thought I might also use the time to re-evaluate my career and what kind of work I wanted to do when I returned.
But soon after he was born, my husband passed away in an automobile accident. The pain was unbearable and I needed a lot more time to grieve before I was ready to think about returning to my career.
When did you decide it was time to go back?
It took me two years to feel ready to face the process of returning to work. But I knew that I needed to pick myself up and start supporting my family. I also decided that I wanted to find a career path that brought me joy. I’ve always loved working with people and had previous experience in Human Resources so I decided that was the route I wanted to take. I tailored my resume to focus on my previous HR experience and the transferable skills I gained from pharmaceutical sales.
How did the job-hunting process go?
Horrible. I had zero hits on my resume. Nobody called. I did all of the traditional things you are supposed to do. I networked with friends and former colleagues. I put my resume on LinkedIn and Indeed. I attended workshops. I had only been out of the workforce for two years and it was like I didn’t exist anymore. My resume wasn’t checking any of the boxes with employers.
Then I saw an ad for reacHIRE.
What was your initial experience with reacHIRE?
From the moment I clicked on that ad for reacHIRE, my life changed. I am not exaggerating. The process was so professional and smooth.
After applying online, I received a call right away from a reacHIRE program manager and she walked me through what reacHIRE was, how the program worked and what to expect.
Two of the roles they were looking to fill were for Fidelity Investments in Westlake, Texas near where I lived. We discussed my experience and she gave me advice on what I should highlight on my application and how to put my best foot forward. I listened to every word and did it all! I was so excited I think I applied to both roles twice!
Spoiler Alert! We know you got the position! Tell us about the process and your experience at Fidelity.
My interview took place via Zoom and went really well. I felt very prepared thanks to reacHIRE. It went so well that soon after they told me they weren’t going to interview any more candidates – the return-to-work role was mine if I wanted it, and I did!
Everyone at Fidelity was amazing. I was there for 6 months and received a mentor, a career coach and access to their career center. Being in a cohort with other professionals returning to work made me so much more confident and sure of what I wanted in the next phase of my career. Through conversations with managers about understanding what was expected in different roles, I was able to build relationships and find my perfect career opportunity.
After the 6-month cohort, I secured a full-time position as a Fidelity Talent Acquisition Program Manager and I could not be happier!
What advice do you have for returners?
There are two very important things I think all returners should know: 1. Take advantage of your return-to-work experience and 2. Keep a positive attitude and open mind.
During my return-to-work engagement with Fidelity, I was always looking for the next opportunity. I kept an open mind and was ready to roll with the punches. I spent time in different departments and made it my mission to understand all of the opportunities that were available to me. During my first few weeks at Fidelity, I attended an internal seminar about networking and met someone I went to elementary school with! That was wild.
When I was asked to speak at reacHIRE’s graduation ceremony, it was the highlight of my return-to-work journey. There was such power in sharing the experience with other returning women from my cohort. We all had different experiences but we had reacHIRE behind us every step of the way.
What advice do you have for companies?
Without reacHIRE, I don’t know where I would be today. I encourage companies to look beyond the resume and find the hidden talent that is often overlooked. reacHIRE saw me as a person and not just a piece of paper.
We can all be so critical of ourselves and the skills we don’t have. reacHIRE sees something beautiful in every candidate and finds the perfect fit.