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Elizabeth Andrew's Relaunch Success Story

Elizabeth andrew headshot

Relauncher of the Month

January 2021

After a 17 year career break, I found I was completely unemployable. I had relocated from the east coast back to my hometown in the San Francisco Bay Area. I had a few childhood friends, but no professional contacts whatsoever. To make things harder, my pre-break career had been in financial services and everything in the Bay Area seemed to be in the technology space. I could not get recruiters to return my phone calls and every job application I submitted went into the "black hole"

I was a single mom with three beautiful kids to support and I needed to start making money. This was my motivator and the fire behind my determination and persistence.

With nothing coming to fruition, I was able to find a couple of temp jobs through two friends. While this provided some minimal income, the roles were mostly as an assistant which is definitely not my strength. It strikes me as interesting how several people suggested I become an Assistant in my early days of searching for work. I have utmost respect for this role as it takes tremendous attention to detail and hard work, however the only basis I have for meeting the job qualifications is that I'm a woman

My background is in Sales, so networking comes naturally to me. I had a bare-bones LinkedIn account and I worked on making connections. I treated job searching like my full time job, and used every means possible - networking, job boards, newspaper ads, to name a few.

I ended up finding my first job back through Craigslist, working for the West Region Director of Sales for Putnam Investments. It was 20 hours per week, and got me into the energy of the city (San Francisco). It was a perfect transition back, especially with kids at home. The hours enabled me to be home by the time they were out of school.

Although the role was very entry-level, I was back working and had full benefits. By the way, an unwillingness to take on junior roles is one of the key factors I hear relaunchers say that I believe gets in the way of a successful relaunch. Your first role back does not have to be perfect and, if you're willing to work hard, you will advance quickly to where you should be.

After a year at Putnam, I started searching for full time work. At this point, I felt that financial services had changed so much during my career break with regulations and whatnot, so I decided to explore transition to tech.

I managed to find my first role in a tech startup through a friend. Once again, the role was a bit out of my wheelhouse in Sales Operations, but it was a great position considering a complete industry transition. It got me up to speed on the tech tools. Like many startups, the company ended up bankrupt so, once again, I found myself in a job search.

This time it was a bit easier. I ultimately found a job through AngelList with a great company that set my career on the path that led me to success.

The big takeaway from my career reentry story is that is does not happen overnight. As the saying goes, it takes years to become an overnight success. Take baby steps, and don't give up!

Click here for a profile of Elizabeth and her advice for today's relaunchers.

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