You were part of BlackRock’s Returners program. Can you tell us what a ‘Returner’ is and what this program entails?
A Returner is someone who has taken a hiatus from their career for at least two years and is looking to get back into the industry. Many Returners have taken a career break for several years, after which it is slightly more difficult to return to work, especially if you have done something completely different during that time, like caring for family. In my case, I went back to university and worked in health sciences during my break.
Coming into the firm through the Returners Program, you join with a cohort, so you share the experience of starting at a new company with a new job among others in a similar situation, which is nice. Returners in the U.K. also receive coaching from Women Returners, an organization specializing in returners programs that guides us through aspects like building your brand and networking effectively.
The Returners Program makes returning to the industry and acclimating to a new role much easier and more structured. And, for companies, these programs provide access to a talent pool that would otherwise be difficult to reach.
How were you supported throughout your participation in the program?
In addition to the coaching described above, Returners are allocated both a buddy and mentor, who can each be extremely helpful in connecting the dots and navigating the firm. We also have access to a variety of strong employee networks at BlackRock (like our employee-led Women’s Initiative & Allies Network (WIN)), which can help make the transition easier as well.
Finally, what is your top advice for others who are looking to return to work after an extended time away?
- When thinking about restarting your career, be open-minded, including to career paths you haven’t experienced before.
- Don’t be afraid of your break. Take the time to analyze your skills and strengths, and identify how they are transferable to the roles you’re applying for, even if it’s in a new space.
- It takes time. Be patient with yourself and use every interaction in your return-to-work journey as a learning moment.
This article was originally published on Fairygodboss.