People leave the workforce for a variety of reasons, many times related to caregiving. Sometimes after they leave, they want to come back. In those situations, a long gap in a resume can seem an insurmountable barrier to rejoining, but there are programs created specifically to assist in the transition. And ReadyTalk has a success story.
John Bortscheller was a stay-at-home dad for seven years, but before that, he was a corporate account manager at Verizon. He had fantastic skills and a great attitude, but didn’t consider rejoining the workforce until the summer before his second son entered kindergarten. Even at that point, he wasn’t actively looking for work. He was concerned that he’d have to accept suboptimal positions to regain experience.
Meghan Deangelis knew what a gap in her resume might feel like. Last year, she planned to leave her job to care for her child. She even gave her notice, explaining to HR that while she loved ReadyTalk, she needed to be home. That’s when they mentioned their interest in the Path Forward program, an internship for caregivers who’d left the workforce for a while, but were ready to return. HR offered her the opportunity to work part-time searching for potential hires through the program. Meghan accepted, agreeing to stay on working contract hours.
She posted positions all over, including a Denver neighborhood forum. Ironically, John rarely looked at that forum, but saw the post from ReadyTalk by chance. “That forum is usually for moms,” he admitted. “For some reason, that day I decided to take a look.” Out of all the resumes Meghan received, John’s stood out.
What made it work — to bring John into ReadyTalk?
John: Having an established program where I could network and meet people gave me a lot of confidence about returning.
Meghan: John had energy. He had great skills despite a gap in his resume, and not only was he eager to learn, but he was able to pick up where he left off. From start to finish, we had an outline of how we were going to run the program, and that step by step process allowed everyone to succeed.
What were the specifics?
Meghan: We started small and moved slowly — intending only a few people to join us as we piloted what we now call the “Ready to Return” program. We surveyed people at regular intervals and ensured they had the tools needed. We were also careful not to promise employment. And we ensured the departments’ managers were onboard. It wouldn’t have been successful without them.
What advice do you have?
John: Network. Don’t sweat the small things about your resume. Trust yourself. You’ll get back in the swing of things faster than you think.
Meghan: For people interested in getting back into the workforce, cut down on your resume to what you know. Many times, people assume they need to fill in everything from after they graduated from college. That’s not true! Companies are looking for skills that match what they need, not necessarily your entire working life.
In the end, the project proved a success — so successful ReadyTalk is interested in bringing in more caregiving interns. John proved a great hire, and HR kept a valued member. The next Ready to Return program has started. Go to our careers page for more info.