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2024 Virtual Return to Work Conference, May 14-16

Episode 215: How a Marketing & Communications Professional Relaunched in UX Design, with Eraina Ferguson

Eraina Ferguson headshot

Episode Description

Eraina Ferguson is a Marketing & Communications Manager who spoke on our Successful Relaunchers Panel at our October 2021 iRelaunch Return to Work Conference. She is a special needs advocate, UX (user experience) designer, journalist, and TEDx curator who took a 10-year career break to stay at home with her four children before returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eraina discusses her experiences freelancing during her career break and why it was important for her to share her journey about raising a daughter with special needs prior to her relaunch. She also shares her pathway to relaunching in a marketing and communications career, including how she upskilled by participating in a UX design program that ultimately led to her current full time role.

Read Transcript

Carol Fishman Cohen: Welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch, the podcast where we discuss return to work strategies, advice and success stories. I'm Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO, and co-founder of iRelaunch and your host. Today, we welcome Eraina Ferguson. Eraina spoke on our Successful Relaunchers panel at our October, 2021 iRelaunch Return to Work Conference.

She's a special needs advocate, a UX, meaning user experience designer, journalist, and TEDx curator. Eraina took a 10 year career break, staying at home with her four children before deciding to return to the workforce in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode, we'll speak with Eraina about her experiences freelancing during her career break, and her pathway to relaunching a marketing and communications career.

We'll also learn about how she upskilled by participating in a UX design program, and how that course applies to the work that she's doing. Eraina, welcome to 3,2,1 iRelaunch.

Eraina Ferguson: Thank you. So excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Thank you for speaking with us. And maybe we could start at the beginning of your career path. If you could give us a summary of your career path that was leading up to your career break, and then what led to your career break.

Eraina Ferguson: Thank you. So the backstory for me is that the key component here in my story and how I navigated the traditional path of college and grad school, was that I became a mom of a special needs child at the age of 20. So I was a single mom in my sophomore year of undergrad. So that is a base to my story. That's not everyone's story. So I finished undergrad and I went on immediately to move to New York. And I decided to move to New York to pursue a teaching career with a teaching fellows program and to get a master's degree. And so I taught and I learned a lot. I taught in an inner city school in New York, in east New York, Brooklyn, and I raised my daughter.

And I found out, she was born deaf, but then she also was diagnosed with autism during that time. And so I really had to decide early on, I had to have a good life for her. That was career based, so I had to make sure that I had a career. So teaching was ideal because of their special needs.

So my first career was actually education, it was teaching. I took a year off and then went to Boston College for my first masters, and Yale for my second masters. And in between those times I was able to do educational research policy, and I was able to do a couple of different things. I taught long-term subbing for a bit in between those times. But I thought that I was going to originally be able to go back to work full-time as an educator post my Yale masters in New Haven, but that didn't go so well.

My daughter's autism flared up and I had to take time off. Little did I know that it would take me 10 years to get back to work.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Wow. We hear people, I hear this over and over, people say they expect their career breaks to be much shorter, and then the next thing, five or 10 years go by. And I know I said that on this podcast a number of times, and that's because we hear it so frequently.

So that's quite a long career break, 10 years. I actually took 11 years off myself. And we have people who take 25 years off, but that's definitely a sizable career break. And actually we have another podcast with Suzanne Wall talking about the 10 years that she took off because she also had four children, the fourth child was a child with special needs.

So that's another resource for our listeners who are interested in what happens on a career break with a child with special needs, and how you manage a relaunch in that situation. Can you give us a little more background about what happened during the career break, during that ten-year period, were you a hundred percent focused on your kids or your child, and what else was going on during that career break?

Eraina Ferguson: Thank you for asking that. It definitely is so funny when you look back, you're like, exactly, what was I doing? Like why didn't I go back earlier? Even when you get on the other side, you're wondering, what were you doing at that time? Actually, after it did not work out with me teaching and I needed to take some time off, I actually reconnected with a guy that I knew from high school on Facebook. He liked my profile picture, he sent me a note asking about me and my daughter, and he was a popular basketball player back then. His name, you had to say both his first and his last name. That's how popular he was. I was not super popular like him.

I was just like regular default cheerleader popular. But anyway. He reached out, and I was thinking, "Oh my God, Jason Ferguson has reached out to me." And so we connected and started to talk over the phone, and we just really gelled. In fact, it literally was 10 years ago this month.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Wow.

Eraina Ferguson: That we just had our first date in New York. We decided to meet there. And so that really was the huge change that happened for me because we dated and I actually moved to Chicago for six months. And we eventually got married another six months after that. He proposed under the stars at the observatory at Northwestern.

It was ridiculous. It was awesome. I love that guy. So after that I knew, "Hey, what's going to happen now? I have a career." I was applying so hard. I actually applied to Northwestern probably 10 times. I had a consultant look over my resume. She had me in tears telling me how mediocre my resume was, even though I went to Yale. Yale has been used against me a lot honestly, over the years. And so it's been interesting, that's a whole other conversation. But nonetheless, I decided during that time that I started a blog and my dorm room at Yale. So I decided to keep writing. I was working in communications at Yale and doing expository writing and article writing. And I worked part-time as a student worker for the religious studies department.

So I knew that I could write at a basic level. So I decided, I reached out to a blog called Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune blog, and I started writing for them for free. And that became in my mind, a job that I was accountable to someone for that was connecting to a larger brand. And I did that a lot over the next decade.

I did that with probably close to 10 publications, from Huffington Post to Fairygodboss, which is an amazing company now, to Ebony magazine, some I did get paid for, DFW Child, my first print article that I bought like 10 or 12 of the actual magazines, I was happy to get that first check.

Really as late as 2016, I got my first check with my name on it from a print article. And I did a lot of that, so that I knew that I needed to make sure that my resume was not stale, that I had built a portfolio of writing for when the time came. So as the late 2000-some things came into play, by the time 2018 hit, I became a curator for TEDx, which was huge.

I gave my first TEDx talk first. Didn't go well. So I wrote about it. And then I was hired to become a curator, that's when things really started to piece together for me as a brand, to have the opportunity to even say, "Hey, soon I'm going to go back to work."

Carol Fishman Cohen: All right. So I just want to highlight and dive into some of this a little bit. So first of all, I want our audience to hear what Eraina is saying about writing for free, that there was a period of time, you're just establishing yourself initially, and it's like volunteer work. It's strategic volunteer work, you're writing for free. And then ultimately, I don't know at what point, somehow it turned into that article that you got paid for at the print publication.

And then after that, did things change that you were realizing, "I'm now only going to write if I get paid." How did that work?

Eraina Ferguson: The in-between part to getting paid for the articles versus not getting paid for the articles actually came before influencer culture was defined. It was my daughter's 17th birthday, and I wanted to have a party for her at American Girl. We had a one-year stint in Texas where we lived, long story, no questions. We were living in Texas during an election year, and my husband's job had moved us there for that one year, the veteran nonprofit that he worked for. And literally, how I got in DFW Child is that I used everything that was in front of me to win. That magazine was a magazine in the library, when I would take the kids out and I had a newborn, and a two three-year-old and a special needs child. And here I am a stay at home mom. Everything in front of me I used. I went to the editor's page on the second page, and I pitched the editor. And that's how I got it. And so the same thing happened with my next wave of content.

My next wave of content came by way of partnerships with brands. And this happened because my husband said, “I get paid a week after her birthday. So we're going to have to wait until a week after her birthday to do her birthday party.” And I said, "No. I want the day of." So I wrote a letter, there was a doll coming out called Melody. She was the second black American Girl doll that was like a big deal. And I always loved American Girl. So I reached out to them and I pitched them and said, "Hey, I will write an article for you on my HuffPost blog," before HuffPost got rid of all their bloggers, "I will write an article for you if you give us the opportunity to maybe get a doll." They said, "Not only will we give you a doll, we will give you the entire party."

I had a four year relationship with American Girl on my daughter's birthday every year. In fact, my husband's uncle, who's a former Temptation, sang in 2019 on her birthday. I have that video where he sang in a private room in the corner at The Grove in Los Angeles.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Oh my gosh!

Eraina Ferguson: Probably a $700 bill, but they paid for it, because of the paid content piece.

And so before influencers were influencers, I learned how to partner with brands. And that was like a key piece to how I learned to pitch and how I learned to deliver. And because, I think, even when we are off work, the word boss sometimes sounds intimidating. So I won't say boss. I'm happy I thought to not say that. We need leadership. We all need a level of leadership. And so if people don't want to call it a boss, that's okay. You need someone to be accountable to, that's going to critique you and that you are going to be working for, that's going to help build your stamina, so that is not such a shock when you go back to work and you have a boss. I've had editors as my bosses. Oh, that was an important piece. So that was the filler between the non-paid and the paid. And then it crossed over.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That's incredible! It's amazing. And you're right. This was before the influencers as we know it today. But the idea that this started because you wrote a letter or email to the American Girl people? Wow.

Eraina Ferguson: That woman to this day really changed my life, not because we got that stuff, it was amazing for Taylor and it was an amazing opportunity, but it also, again, gave me the confidence of the “yes” and the trust of a stranger to say, "I trust you. You're going to deliver. I want to make your daughter happy. You're legit. You're going to make sure that you write the article you post. And most of all, I want to make Taylor happy." And we still are in love with American Girls. In fact, I shipped three off myself that I am now giving to girls. So I just shipped three off today.

So no, all that to say that it does come with getting the opportunities and having another person, sometimes a woman, to just say, "Yes."

Carol Fishman Cohen: Amazing. I want to also focus in on something else you talked about, becoming a curator for TEDx. So I'm just thinking again, about volunteering. I know about TEDx cause I actually did a TEDx talk myself, a while ago.

But it is run by volunteers, TEDx. And so again, you have this volunteer situation, but one, it feels like, it's just the ultimate network opportunity. You're meeting so many people. And I wanted to know how you even thought to start doing that? And what happened once you got involved in it?

Eraina Ferguson: No problem. Thanks for asking. I knew my fourth daughter was like a Spitfire and she should be, because she was the impetus to so much change. I actually decided to do a TEDx, when I found that I was pregnant with her. She was my fourth child. She was a surprise in the beginning of 2018. And here I am, January 2018, just when I'm thinking I'm hitting my stride, and I'm about to go back, I get pregnant again with Winnie. And I knew that year I had to not only do a TEDx, but I needed to write a book. And I needed to get this story out and talk about my journey with Taylor and just get it out, just get it out. And not because I wanted the platform or any money, or I want it to get that out so that I can move on and go back to work.

I think that not telling my story was holding me back from that next phase of my life. I wanted to do whatever I wanted to do on the other side, even if it was working at Starbucks, I didn't want it to necessarily be a thing. And so that was a big key for me. So I knew in that year I really needed to do a TEDx.

I applied for it, and I knew that I would be about seven to eight months pregnant when it happened. But I didn't tell the curators, because we actually never met in person. There was no Google hangout back then because it was pre COVID. So we actually talked over the phone and we connected and they didn't know that I would be very pregnant when I came in.

So actually, I have a reel on YouTube that shows me coming and riding to it and coming up with my big belly and my blue dress. And they were like, "Oh, hi! You're pregnant! Awesome!" I was like, "She's just an extra person, no worries." I get on stage. I prepped just for the feeling. I got on stage, I prepped,I'm excited. I found out the day before that I'm the first person.

I hired a videography team because that's just Eraina. I was worried for some reason, which I guess I had right to be in my gut that, "What if something went wrong?" And I also wanted to be able to film my experience leading up to it. I had a female led videography team, one male producer, and they followed me in and they were great, and it's downtown LA. And I get on stage and the sound goes out.

Carol Fishman Cohen: My gosh.

Eraina Ferguson: I'm talking, and I hear the sound of the people talking in the back of the stage out of my mic. But I did not stop talking. I finished it. I didn't freeze. I stayed confident. I somehow knew it was going to work out. My mentor and my husband are sitting in the first row and I just kept talking, kept telling my story. And I walked off stage and it was so bad that the TEDx team had tears in their eyes.

And they were just like, "How could this happen?" And the saddest part about it is that they didn't listen to my videographers, who tried to tell them how to plug in the house mic. My videographer, my lead, was a woman. It was just a pivotal moment. I went backstage and my mentor ran out immediately, a four foot Jewish woman, all Eraina, all Eraina team. She's all team Eraina all on her own. She's the power of 8,000 men. And she said, "They better let you do that over. This is not okay." And my videographer said, "They should let you do that over." So they let me do it over at intermission with no audience there but my husband.

Carol Fishman Cohen: But you do it over.

Eraina Ferguson: My team filmed it because my team was there. No one got their footage from the event.

Fast forward, and which is devastating, because TEDx is all video, so months later, a young woman reached out and she just kept getting upset on the thread, "Where's our footage? Where's our footage?" She was one of the TEDx speakers. She said, "This is the greatest thing of my life. What happened? Did you not get the footage? What happened?" They would not answer her. I felt bad. I had a newborn by then. When he was born healthy that July, it's August, so I went on the TED site and applied to be a curator, TEDx women, 2018, which was a life changing moment. So that's how I became a curator. And I did it three years in a row, including last year during COVID. We filmed, no audience, under COVID safe conditions right before they did the second shutdown for Los Angeles. We filmed in late November, early December at a huge, open space. And we sent everyone who was over 45 home after they did their individual talk, and had everyone on separate couches, because this was pre- vaccine.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Wow. That's quite a story. So let me just move on though, cause I want to get into the actual relaunch part, and I know that in October of 2020, you started working as a copywriter for a digital marketing firm, but then you decided to leave. And I want to know if you could just walk us through how you got the role, and then what was it about it that made you realize it was not the right fit? And then what happened? How did you go about leaving and how did you feel when that happened?

Eraina Ferguson: So I decided on the phone with my husband, probably September of 2020, during everything that I was just not happy, I wanted to go back to work. I couldn't put my finger on it at the time, but I was able to decompress later and reflect and say, I was angry.

I had a lot of anger. I knew that something needed to change and I knew I wanted to go back to work. And I knew that the circumstances under COVID weren't going to change anytime soon. So I actually just made the decision, and then I got an inbox from a recruiter about a copywriting role at this digital marketing firm, that they needed someone to help them rebrand into this new brand.

And they wanted me on it. They were an east coast team. I would work from 5:00 AM to 2:00 PM. And it was like a copywriting sweatshop. We were on a time clock. It was good for me. I loved it. I loved going to work. I loved getting up in the morning. I had my snugly house shoes. It was such a small apartment in Los Angeles.

We live in North Carolina now, but we were in Los Angeles. We had such a small apartment that I had my desk, this is crazy, I have an office now, I had my desk seated in my special needs daughter's bedroom. And so I was there in the dark with my laptop, working from 5:00 to 7:00AM. I put her on the bus, and I come back on and then my nanny would come to do remote learning for the girls.

And then I was able to do lunch and then she would leave. And then my husband worked five blocks away for the consulting firm that he worked for. So it worked out great that we had that timing. And it was wonderful. I loved it. But then I realized that when they hired me, they knew that I was overqualified for the role, but they hired me under a young man who was about 25.

And I think they were using me to probably push him out and have me as the head copywriter. So it created a thing with us, where we were like, I was Scottie Pippin, he was Michael Jordan. I did all the ego things that women do to make sure that the man feels confident and that "I got you and we're a team." But women, how did our mothers do it, when you do it at home and you do it at work? Like, how did they even do it? I just want to send every mom a thousand dollars right now. Because I don't even understand how they navigated it. It was hard. And I was breathing into it, and then I said, "I'm in this program, just pledged to a quality scholarship program with Udacity, I'm taking a UX design nanodegree, which is going to catapult me and finally give me the technical skill that goes along with what I do." And I didn't know until another woman told me four or five months ago that UX design, and I met her enrolled in a conference that was going on in the last few next few days, UX design merged with content, it means that your content designer. And that really helps me to place myself in something that I never had a name for. All that being said, at the time I knew I needed the UX design degree. So I focused solely on that, especially when I found out that this company, Udacity, had an internship that would be paid for the summer.

So I put all of my energy into that and decided to resign from the role.

Carol Fishman Cohen: And when you saw that internship, this is the program that you're talking about? Is this normally for people who are right out of college and you are a non-traditional candidate or is it for people with a range of backgrounds?

Eraina Ferguson: Great question. They called it almost the wrong word, which is why I like relaunch instead of interns. They should've called it more of a fellowship, more of even a returnship, because the people that were enrolled in the internship, we were all older, had professional standing. And so having us be interns was another kind of smack in the face.

So it's an interesting dynamic to it. And I can speak more to that later, but it definitely was challenging. And it was only 10 of us when we, actually less than 10 of us. But, out of the thousand people who applied for the nanodegree program, there were only 10 slots or less for the internship.

But I knew I was going to get one. Because every Sunday I was on as a student leader, I was on their Slack. I was very involved, but in order to do that and go full throttle, finish the course and be front and center to apply for that, I needed to not do my full-time role and place my bet. And I won, because now I make double the salary as I did at the time. So I needed to take that gamble.

Carol Fishman Cohen: It's a gamble though. And you did it. That was an internship, for lack of a better word, that lasted through the summer. And then you started, you got a contract role out of that at Udacity, or what happened?

Eraina Ferguson: No, I got a full-time role.

Carol Fishman Cohen: You got a full-time role. So Udacity itself hired you at the end of this program?

Eraina Ferguson: At the end of this program, Udacity hired me. They hired me as a marketing communications manager. However, there was a point during the time, where I have to be transparent, and Udacity knows this as well, that we weren't sure what was next. We weren't sure that it would lead to that.

So I had to set myself up, and this is the part that I hope women can take away as well. Even when you think that the obvious is coming and it's not set up for you, you still have to pivot. I thought that they were hiring me for sure. And when I learned that they may not hire me for sure, I had to go and apply for 60 jobs, and I had 20 interviews.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Wow. That's an amazing yield of interviewing from 60 applications.

Eraina Ferguson: Sixty applications, 20 interviews. So I had to be aggressive because I knew that all of the work that I had put in to be back working, it wasn't just the financial, it was what I had waited on for 20 years. And that's what I try to explain to people when they see the shiny and they see "Oh, Eraina you're amazing," or, "Oh, you did blah, blah, blah."

And I'm like, it only took me 20 years of me walking out of the hospital with a newborn to finally get to what I would have loved to be a decade ago or 15 years ago. So it's no regrets. But it's definitely to say, I knew that I wanted a six figure salary in tech, period. And I knew that I had to stay the course until I got that.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Wow. When you were taking this course, did you feel intimidated at all? Was there a technology piece of it that you thought "whoa," or were you just like open and curious and you just took it and that wasn't a factor?

Eraina Ferguson: It wasn't my first go at this particular platform. I had taken a front end developer course while I was pregnant.

And when I was pregnant with Winnie back in 2018, I had taken a front end developer course with Udacity, and I didn't do well. And I was devastated because I knew that everyone I talked to in tech, everyone everyone I talked to in the startup world, is that if you're not technical, who are you?

They make you feel like you don't matter. And so even if I knew one day I wanted to launch a product or have my own startup, I had to have a technical skill. So when I learned about UX design, it was so great because actually, the course work was not challenging for me in that, it was just about going through and practicing.

And it was one night, I know it seems so stereotypical, but it happens for a lot of women and men. It was one night when I had my daughter just on me at midnight, she was still up and I was working through the design sketches and it was a hard lesson. I think it was like lesson three or something. And I knew right then, I knew I loved what I was doing. And I knew that I had worked hard enough to cross over to that threshold of, "I like this." And I'm sure you find this with your career now, it's that threshold of like, "You know what? But it was worth it, This is what I want to do." And so that sweet spot came with the challenge.

So sometimes it's about just going through it. It's not formulated. It's still going to be a personal and professional process as you up-skill. It's not super easy.

Carol Fishman Cohen: You know, that's one of the things we talk about with relaunchers. I was 42 years old when I figured out what I wanted to do. And it's something that makes us stand out and makes us great in that we're more fully formed. We know ourselves better and we're in a better position. We're not in the exploratory career mode so much, as we should be when we're earlier in our careers. And the career break gives us this opportunity to reflect on where our interest in skills are strongest now. And that is one of the reasons that when you're talking to a relauncher you're talking to someone who's gone through that process and really knows themselves well. So, perfect illustration. I just want to ask you one question about the comment when you said you took that front end development course, and you didn't do well. But then you still had the resilience and the just, I don't know, the grit to move forward and ultimately get to this part of technology that was this right combination of things in UX design that was perfect.

But what happened in that moment when you didn't do well in the course? Were you discouraged in that moment, and then it took you a while to start to come back, or what happened there?

Eraina Ferguson: I was definitely discouraged. I remember telling a friend how I finished it and I know I didn't learn it. They were like, "If you finish something, and you know you didn't learn it, you can't replicate it." And that's what happened with that course, it was moms can code, moms who code, moms can code. They were just a small group that I had met, got connected with on Facebook. They were game-changing for me. Again, every little piece, they're the ones who actually sent me to do press, what I have been doing in partnerships, pregnant, to Mountain View, to Silicon Valley, to a Udacity conference. So they actually helped me stay connected to Udacity, because I had taken that course, though I didn't do well. And what also helped me, and this is a trigger alert, I won't stay on it long. I did have a miscarriage years before, back in around 2015, that made me stop using the word failure. Because I used to, coming from the east coast, coming from New England for nine years, being on the east coast for nine years, it can be a little intense. But, we cute. We're nice. We can be intense. I love Boston.

Some people in New England, not everyone, can be intense. And so when I was at Yale, it was either you win or you fail. You have this bar. The reason why I didn't get my doctorate is because they told me I had to be twice as good as a woman of color. I had to be perfection, even with a special needs child. My score had to be perfect.

You either win or you lose, or you're excellent or you fail. There was no in between. And so when I had that miscarriage, that helped me to not see the things that didn't go well as failure. I stopped that. So that's what helped me get over, to answer your question, helped me process the front end developer, nanodegree.

I was like, "Okay, I didn't do well. It's okay. You didn't fail." Because the word failure keeps you in a space that is just psychologically unhealthy. It didn't work out, it's going to be okay. I'm going to get another chance. I can rest and try again. So when I saw that opportunity, I applied.

And you always apply. And you always apply, because although sometimes it'll take a ton of applications. And I've heard a lot of no's over the years, but the yesses have really worked in my favor.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Very strong messaging there. I hope everyone is listening closely. Eraina, can you give us a window into a typical day? And what do you do in this role? And was there a leap that you had to take from what you learned in the course to what you're actually doing on the job?

Eraina Ferguson: Thank you for that. The thing that really honestly, so to walk you through a typical day, I have a team, I have Slack, I have a supervisor that I'm accountable to.

I'm under the director of communications, PR person for Udacity, so she does all things communications and PR. But she also is over the blog, which is our content stream for Udacity. There are so many layers to Udacity, so many different jobs, so many different roles. My typical day is making sure I'm supporting the blog.

We had another person that was over the blog before, some things are transitioning, so I have a coworker. I just hopped off with her about an hour ago in California, who I made sure I tried to see every day and treat her like she's the coworker next to me, be positive, affirming, supportive, available. And she's basically my main coworker. I don't have a large team right now as the content team is built out. So that's my typical day making sure I do my assignments. Have the assignment board, communicating in Slack. Keeping my dates up to date. I think the thing that I would love women to know, to teach them, is about the current systems of communication and what the day-to-day looks like and the professional aspect of work, because it's changed so much.

Thankfully for women who come in now, they aren't under this rigorous system and they don't have anybody trying to come on to them in the break room. No, it's just some different protective measures so that they can have flexibility around home and life. I decided to rent an office at a coworking space. I'm here about three days a week and we have an office at home that I use. And then, my husband has his role and I gave him a desk.

His desktop is over there, but it's pretty cool.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Oh, wow. That's amazing. And we're wrapping up now, so I want to end with the question that we ask all of our podcast guests, and that is what is your best piece of advice for our relauncher audience, even if it's something that we've already talked about today?

Eraina Ferguson: The best piece of advice that I can give relaunchers is two parts, take what you've learned in your relaunching time from PTA, to volunteering, to your alumni groups, to your projects that you've worked on, even your home life, make sure to keep those going. Even some that are tangible, that have supervisors of sorts, or leaders that you are under, or teams that you're a part of. And lean into those roles, the head volunteer role, learn more, learn as much as you can about systems, about technology, even at a basic level. And don't be intimidated. And even if you are, go ahead and try your best and ask questions, that's the first part.

But the second part is to take those things I just talked about and put them on your resume. Your resume is very important. Your resume and portfolio are what people are gonna want to see. So by portfolio, if you're a writer or a designer or artist or photographer, right?

So imagine even if you do photography on the side at home, you get that Canon camera and you can create a portfolio as an option to show that you know how to design things and you have a creative piece. Your resume is very important. I can't stress it enough. I love My Perfect Resume, it's really less intimidating than sitting down at your computer and trying to do that. Don't do that. Use a template that is gonna be built for you, that you can fill in and use a resume generator that's going to allow you to just put your experiences in and it populates it for you around technology, Google what you need, and generator. I promise you it's out there. There are even name generators. You don't even have to think of your baby name anymore. There are generators for everything. There's generators for titles. My coworker, I just gave her a website to generate blog titles with the key word. There are generators for everything. There's a biogenerator out there. There are biogenerators where you just fill in five different parts and it populates it for you.

And now there's AI around writing copy. So there's so many generators. If you feel intimidated, say headline generator, Twitter biogenerator. Just Google it and see what you can find. Pass the ad portion, five rows down, go down a little lower and just explore and see how technology can help you generate what you need without having complete panic attacks or stress. But the resume is huge.

Carol Fishman Cohen: That is such great advice. No one has ever said that before. There's a lot of discussion about your first line of defense, even once you're on the job is doing search and looking at YouTube videos. But the idea of your topic, and then adding the word generator next to it, we're going to have to incorporate that into suggestions for relaunchers generally. So thank you very much.

Eraina Ferguson: No problem. With a resume to cost so many anxiety attacks and overwhelming and procrastination.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Alright Eraina, thank you so much for joining us today.

Eraina Ferguson: Thank you so much. It was great to be a part of this. I hope that this chat helped women and helped their competence around what next steps are. I'm so grateful to be able to give it, I needed it, for sure, and still need the support.

Carol Fishman Cohen: I know people are going to gain so much from listening to this podcast, so thank you. And thanks for listening to 3,2,1 iRelaunch, the podcast where we discuss return to work strategies, advice, and success stories. I'm Carol Fishman Cohen, the CEO, and co-founder of iRelaunch and your host. For more information on iRelaunch conferences and events, to sign up for our job board and access our return to work tools and resources, go to And if you liked this podcast, be sure to rate it on Apple podcasts and your favorite podcast platform, and be sure to share this podcast with a friend on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media.

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