Blog

Information, helpful advice, and commentary about topics relevant to relaunchers.

Are You Doing What You Do Best?

Relaunching your career can be overwhelming at times, especially if you do not know where to begin or you are stuck at one of the steps along the way.  

When this happens, take a few minutes to return to the building blocks that make up all that you offer: your values, interests, experience, and strengths.

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You Got the Interview! Now What?

You did it! You figured out what type of work you want to do upon your return from a career break, you have your resume and LinkedIn profile "just right," you applied to various open positions, and you successfully networked your way to a job interview. Think of an interview as a conversation -- just two people trying to learn about each other and determine whether or not they want to work together.

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A Relauncher’s Salary History: To Share or Not to Share

Nancy, a financial technology sales professional, took an 8-1/2 year career break to parent her two children and was preparing to relaunch in the same industry.  She was excited about a job posting for an ideal position at a major media firm that would allow her to use her stellar sales skills and develop expertise in new areas.  When filling out the online application, though, she hit a brick wall: Salary History.  Concerned that her dated salary would automatically deflate any possible future one, Nancy tried to bypass the Salary History questions.  However, the online application system would not allow her to do so. She then tried to insert “Willing to Negotiate,” but the system would not accept the text.  Frustrated and angry, Nancy abandoned the application and continued her search elsewhere.

Sound familiar? 

Requests for salary history have been the subject of much recent debate.  Last fall, a bill was introduced before Congress that would prohibit employers from asking prospective hires about past wages and salaries.  While the future of federal legislation is far from certain, the City of Philadelphia and State of Massachusetts have enacted similar laws, and other states and municipalities appear to be following the trend. The rationale for such laws is to prevent those historically disadvantaged by wage gaps (including women) from being shackled by lower wages and salaries.  

Relaunchers are particularly vulnerable in responding to salary history requests.  They often have extended career breaks, dated salaries, and/or low hourly rates from consulting or project gigs with which they filled their employment gaps.  But if they decline to share salary history, they may fear that employers will “lowball” them.   This may leave relaunchers feeling confused and conflicted about responding to salary history requests.   Below are five tips to help navigate this tricky terrain:

  1. You may not even be free to share your last salary.
    Your past employers may have had policies or agreements whereby you are not allowed to share salary information with third parties.  A prospective employer requesting your salary history may even have such policies in effect for its own employees! If you were subject to confidentiality restrictions at your last employment venue, you may want to decline to provide the info, or, depending on the circumstances, state that you’d be willing to share it once the position has been negotiated, an offer has been made and salary is being discussed.
     
  2. Make informed decisions based on your own good judgment and unique circumstances.
    While providing salary history is often not advantageous for relaunchers, some circumstances will warrant providing it.  Perhaps declining to provide the info will risk an opportunity that you’re unwilling to lose.  Maybe the prospective employer has a set amount that he/she will pay (regardless of your salary history), and you’re willing to accept it for a chance to relaunch.  Or it could be that you feel so confident that you’ll be able to effectively convince the employer of the value of your current skills that minimal significance will be placed on your salary history.  Either way, thoroughly assess the risks and your negotiating power in the situation.
     
  3. Prepare your approach.
    Don’t wait until the salary history request is made – and you’re in panic mode – to decide how to respond.  Consider some options in different contexts:   
    •    If the request is made in person, state your salary history accurately or request to postpone such discussion until later in the screening process or decline responding either due to confidentiality or because you believe your past salary is not a relevant basis upon which you should be valued for the current role.
    •    In an online application, state your salary history accurately or insert characters or numbers (a series of 1’s or 0’s) that are clearly not accurate but allow you to complete the application and/or explain in a dialogue box.   
    •    In a paper application, state your salary history accurately or write a note in that section explaining that you are declining to respond as discussed above.
     
  4. Do your research.
    Whether you choose to provide the info or decline to disclose, move forward in conversations with a prospective employer armed with research about competitive salaries and the market rate. Also, as always, be prepared to articulate your value!
     
  5. Always be truthful.
    Misrepresenting salary history is never worth it. You may be able to overcome other challenges like rusty skills, a long gap or a lack of expertise, but you cannot overcome an employer’s doubts about your credibility and character.
     

About iRelaunch Career Coach Carroll Welch

Carroll Welch is a career, executive and leadership coach who supports individuals at all levels on issues involving career and leadership development, transition and reentry into the workplace.  As a fully committed collaborative partner, Carroll coaches her clients through the work of articulating a career vision and setting goals to make progress and experience results.  As a past director of a program for reentry professionals, Carroll has extensive experience coaching individuals in communicating about their strengths and anticipating and planning for obstacles in their job searches. Prior to becoming a coach, Carroll was also a practicing attorney at two major law firms; her work included the representation of management on employment law issues. She is a member of the iRelaunch coaching team and has facilitated Boot Camps I and II.  Carroll also coaches participants in the On Ramp Fellowship, an attorney reentry program.

Carroll received a certificate in Executive and Organizational Coaching from New York University, is a member of the International Coach Federation and holds their Associate Certified Coach credential.  She is also credentialed as a coach in the Five O’Clock Club’s job search methodology platform. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law.  She serves as a mentor and member of the board of directors of Campus Bound Scholars, a nonprofit that supports first generation college bound students.

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50+ Paid Corporate Reentry Internship Programs Around the World

At iRelaunch, we have been tracking career reentry programs of all kinds since 2008. In 2012, we published a report on the growing use of of internships or internship-like experiences as an effective vehicle for professionals to return to work after time away.  We described the phenomenon as "quietly emerging" at the time. Not anymore. We have seen a huge uptick in the number of corporate reentry internship programs created since 2012 and are expecting this growth to continue. Global hubs of reentry internship program activity center in the U.S., U.K. and India. Shoutout to Women Returners for their work in the UK career reentry space and their list of UK programs which was a helpful resource for us. Artwork credit goes to Harvard Business Review, as it accompanied iRelaunch CEO Carol Fishman Cohen's seminal HBR article "The 40-Year-Old Intern."

At this point, we thought it would be helpful to the iRelaunch community to see all the corporate reentry internship programs on one simple list, including links to program information wherever possible. The list is below. Remember this is a list of active corporate paid reentry internship programs. Some companies that may be testing the concept with 1 or 2 returning interns, or that have not set up a landing page to formalize the program, may not be included right away. Also if a company is listed more than once with different program names, that means they have separate programs running in different geographic areas, as opposed to a single program with cohorts in different locations. 

We would like to crowdsource the updating of the list!  If you are aware of a program that is missing from the list, one that has become inactive, or have any other edits, please email us at [email protected]. Thank you.  HERE'S THE LIST

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6 Key Tips to Kick Off Your 2017 Relaunch

It's 2017! Maybe you are considering taking a career break. Or perhaps you are on career break and this is your time to return to work. Follow these great tips to be best positioned for returning to work after your career break, or to start the relaunching process with a giant leap forward.

1) DOCUMENT

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How should I deal with "relaunch resistance" from my family?

“What does this mean for me?”

As your first day back at work approaches, you will probably begin to hear family members’ concerns about the impending changes at home. The time you have spent away from work running a household and/or acting as the go-to parent has likely been very helpful and convenient to those around you. While they are excited for you and the increased family income, they are likely wondering what this means for them. 

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This is YOUR Relaunch!

“Welcome everyone! We are going to start now and I can’t wait for us to experience this incredible day!  This day is about learning the best return to work strategies, having conversations with employers who understand the value that we, relaunchers bring to the table and what a great talent pool we are, and it’s really about the future of relaunching.

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Honoring Brenda Barnes with our First iRelaunch Pioneering Relauncher Award

This year we were thrilled to honor one of our heroes, Brenda Barnes, the former CEO of PepsiCo North America, who famously left that role to spend more time with her family in 1997. It was front page news of the major newspapers. She made the news again when seven years later, she returned to work as COO, and then CEO, of Sara Lee Corporation. Brenda Barnes led a major restructuring of Sara Lee and also started [email protected], one of the first corporate reentry internship programs, in 2008. In 2010, Brenda suffered a stroke which forced her into permanent retirement.

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