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Quotable Podcast Episode #69: To Hit Your Sales Targets, Tap “Career Relaunchers," with Carol Fishman Cohen

Host: Kevin Micalizzi, Christina Petersen
When you think of hiring for sales, you probably don’t think about those professionals looking to return after a career break. But you should. Join Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO of iRelaunch, as she shares the secrets to connecting with this growing source of sales talent, and how career relaunchers can steady your aim as you shoot for ever higher sales targets.

If you have sales talent, it doesn’t go away just because you took a career break.”

Carol Fishman Cohen | CEO, iRelaunch

Episode Transcript

Kevin Micalizzi: Welcome to the Quotable podcast. Today, we're talking with Carol Fishman Cohen, who's the CEO of iRelaunch.

And today, we're going to be talking about career breaks and getting back into the workforce as well as, for our hiring managers, what you could be doing to take better advantage of this talent pool to give yourself a competitive edge.

Carol, welcome to the program.

Carol Fishman Cohen: Thanks for having me.

Micalizzi: Before we get started, I know a lot of our audience is not going to be familiar with you and the work you do. Would you give us a quick overview?

Cohen: Sure. So iRelaunch works with people who are returning to work after taking a career break. And also, we do a lot of work with employers who are interested in engaging with this talent pool.

We have a national and an international community of about 5,000 people now. We run conferences and events. Our iRelaunch Return-to-Work Conference is the longest running and largest dedicated career re-entry event in the country.

Micalizzi: Excellent.

Cohen: And we work with over 30 blue-chip companies to introduce, implement, and expand career re-entry programs of all kinds.

Micalizzi: Excellent. I'm excited to dig in. This is definitely an important topic.

I'm Kevin Micalizzi, Executive Producer of the Quotable podcast. And today I have a special guest joining me, Christina Petersen, product marketing manager here at Salesforce and also one of the vice presidents of the Salesforce Women's Network.

Christina Petersen: I'm so glad to be here. Carol and I have actually met. So I'm really excited.

Micalizzi: Fantastic.

Petersen: Yeah. It's great. It's great to be here.

Micalizzi: I love it. So let's start, Carol, by defining career break.

Cohen: Right. So we're not talking about a maternity leave. We're talking about an extended career break of one to over 20 years. It could be for child care reasons. It could be for elder care reasons or pursuing a personal interest or a personal health issue.

We're looking even more broadly at the return-to-work population to also include nontraditional candidates such as retirees coming out of retirement, expats repatriating, or veterans transitioning.

Micalizzi: Where I want to start is — obviously — people have been taking career breaks probably forever. And it seems like this topic is only now starting to get attention. Why the shift? What's changed?

Cohen: Right. We ask ourselves that a lot. Because I relaunched my career back in 2001. I took an 11-year career break myself. And then I went back to work in a major investment firm, then leaving to write a book called Back on the Career Track, co-authoring that book, and then co-founding iRelaunch.

So we've been working on this for over 15 years now. And suddenly, it feels like it's a hot topic. And I think what's happened is a number of things. First of all, we have started to see more and more companies think about engaging with this pool because they're recognizing the merits of the pool. If you think about people who are taking career breaks and interested in returning to work, they have a very stable life stage.

If companies are connecting with them after a career break for child care reasons — if it's a woman, unlikely to take more maternity leaves, fewer spousal or partner job relocations at this stage of life. And there's a mature perspective, great work experience, and an enthusiasm and energy about wanting to be working again precisely because we've been away from it for a while. So I have greater recognition of the merits of the pool.

Also, as more companies and huge global companies start to run these programs, often involving some kind of an internship-like experience, the hiring rates that we're starting to see out of these programs are consistent and impressive.

So that is also happening, along with — just in general — more media attention, academic studies, and the work that companies — like we at iRelaunch — are doing to focus employers on why they should be paying attention to this pool.

Petersen: Well, I think about what you are doing: the companies that choose to actually focus their time on this and the culture that it creates within the company of like, "Oh, I know that I can take this break."

And when you work at a company that treats you right, and actually allows you to take that break, and then come back and have a re-entry possible — the companies that allow for that and do it right and network with you and partner with you, those are the companies that are going to attract the talent.

Companies need to focus on this these days in order to have the entire workforce, the talent that they want to see, come to their company.

Cohen: Yeah. It's a really interesting point that you're making. Because there's some new studies that are out. One — I'm recalling right now — that came out about a year ago from ManpowerGroup was a study of millennials. And the study showed that 84% of millennials, both male and female, were anticipating a career break at some point. Now how they defined that career break might have ranged from four weeks to four years or longer.

But the idea that when companies do establish these programs, it's very important signaling, as you're saying to employees across all the different age groups that "we recognize that people move through life stages, and some people might decide to take a career break. And we not only want you back, but we've created this formal pathway."

Petersen: Right.

Micalizzi: Right. So are you finding a lot of folks in your communities are re-entering the workforce with the company they left with? Or are they finding entirely new opportunities?

Because I think you've got the difference between "I did this for 20 years, and then I took 10 years off, and now I want to get back into the same thing" versus "I've reached the point where I'm like, 'No, I don't really want to go back to what I used to do. I want to try something new.'"

Cohen: Right. So I'm glad you brought that up. So there are companies who set these programs up especially to connect with their own alumni. But, in general, the programs and even companies that don't have programs, who are interested in hiring people directly into full-time roles, are connecting with people who worked for the company and who didn't work for the company.

But from the individual side, we find that people tend to fall into three camps. One is that they were on exactly the right career path to begin with, and that they're very fortunate if they were. And then if they fall into that category, then they're likely to return to exactly what they left.

Then there are the people who loved what they were doing before but maybe there was something about that role. They were traveling 50% of the time or they had 24/7 accountability. And now, in their current life stage, they are interested in doing something related to what they left but not exactly the same.

And then there are those people who realized they were not on the right career path to begin with. They either fell into something without a lot of thought and then took a second job in that field. And then the next thing you know, they had a career. Or they were fulfilling someone else's expectations. And then, this time around, they're thinking, "I am going to do exactly what the right thing is for me without anyone else's opinions involved."

But the other piece is that people evolve. And if they're on long career breaks, they really have to do — and this is the hardest first step that we tell people to take — they have to figure out what they want to do all over again. They have to get clarity on where their interests and skills are strongest now. And until they get that clarity, they can't really move forward with the rest of their relaunch.

Micalizzi: Right.

Petersen: So how do you find these people? If you have taken a break for a really long time, getting re-engaged in the workforce is actually a challenge all on its own.

So where do you come in? And how do you find the people that need the help and need the assistance to actually get back in the saddle?

Cohen: Right. So we're the pioneering company in this space. We've been around since 2007, and we were even actively involved in it before we officially became iRelaunch.

So over the years, we've made over 260 presentations and run programs for more than 35,000 people. And so we connect with a lot of people that way.

I have a very popular TED Talk that I did locally in Boston a couple of years ago. And there were 84 talks given that weekend. And 4% of them were elevated to the big TED platform, and I was fortunate that mine was one of them. So we've had almost 1.6 million people view that talk. And it's been translated into 29 languages.

Micalizzi: Wow.

Petersen: It's gone viral.

Cohen: Yeah. [Laughter] I know. It's amazing. And every week we hear from employers and individuals all over the world who have seen that.

I also write for a whole range of publications. I write for Harvard Business Review. I actually have what's regarded as a seminal article there called "The 40-Year-Old Intern" that came out five years ago about this whole concept of mid-career internships that we could talk about. But I write consistently for them on other topics on career re-entry.

And then I write for publications such as Fairygodboss about all sorts of topics like "Why people take lower pay when they return from career break? Five reasons why." Or "Here are five things that you should make sure that you say and not say in an interview," — so very practical-actionable-type advice.

So people find out about us in all different ways.

Petersen: Do you find yourself working more with the companies or more with the people trying to re-enter the workforce?

Cohen: That's a great question. Because it's really evolved. We started out as a conference and events business. So our iRelaunch Return-to-Work Conference, we have run it 21 times since 2008. It's our flagship event. We've had over 6,000 people come to just that one event in aggregate.

And then we run events at colleges and universities around the country for alumni. And I do a lot of webinars for alumni as well. So we reach people in that way too.

But over time, our work has shifted to be doing a lot of work with companies to create career re-entry programs. And we do manager training and recruiter training. And we speak in the orientations for these programs. And we publicize them. And we work with companies as they're creating the programs, both individually and with groups of companies.

So I'd say it's really evolved now to about half and half — half conferences/events, half working with companies and then to create programs.

And then we have products for individuals. So we started with the Back on the Career Track book. But it came out 10 years ago. So we have a new product called Roadmap, which is a multimedia, updated version of Back on the Career Track. That's self-paced and takes people through five stages of relaunching. Plus we have free tools and resources for people. So that's always been a priority of ours to connect directly with the individuals who are relaunching.

And most of the people on our growing team are relaunchers themselves. And having gone through every phase of the transition firsthand myself, I feel like I have this authentic connection to everyone who's in our community. And I think that's a part of why we're so effective.

Petersen: That's fabulous.

Micalizzi: With the managers you've talked to and the folks you've interacted with, I guess that — what I want to ask you is, I think a lot of sales hiring managers tend to go for the fresh college grad. And I'm assuming, in part, because compensation tends to be a little bit less, and you've got a chance to develop them in your sales methodology.

And so, I think a lot of sales managers and leaders have missed out on the fact that they could bring in someone who already has a lot of these skills and a lot of those talents.

But, I'm curious. Have you seen reasons for why we tend to skew to people at the beginning of their career as opposed to advanced in their career?

Cohen: Well, I really think it depends upon the kind of sales that you're talking about and the kind of product. And we have seen these very impressive return-to-work stories in sales across all the different industry sectors. Whether it's pharmaceutical or technology or finance.

And I think that companies are starting to embrace this population now more than they have in the past. And, in part, it's because they need to see examples of how people have been successfully reintegrated, especially in a sales role.

Micalizzi: If somebody is shown how it worked then —

Cohen: Yes.

Micalizzi: Yeah.

Cohen: And so one of our missions at iRelaunch is we have over 300 return-to-work success stories including success stories in sales. On our website, we're probably sitting on another thousand that we just haven't had a chance to formally document and upload.

But two reasons that we have those stories up are: one, to inspire individuals who are coming off of career break that "yes, it can be done" in all different fields and work configurations and after career breaks ranging from one to over 20 years. But also, to show the employers success story after success story of how people have been reintegrated and have been effective.

Let me just talk about one area where they are specifically targeting people who are older. And that is in sales of financial products. And, in part, that's because I know myself. I'm in my 50s. I don't necessarily want to sit across the table from someone who's the age of one of my kids in their 20s to give me advice on how to invest my retirement money, for example.

So I would much rather sit across the table from someone who, I feel, has life experience. So that's a sector where you can be more effective if you had some years under your belt.

But the other piece is — we feel — that people who are talented salespeople don't lose that talent just because they take a career break. And so when we're talking to employers, we tell them to think about the people who might have left, who were high performers, and to get back in touch with them.

Because we're now seeing these stories of people being very effective once they've been back. They'll tell you the fundamental sales strategies have not changed. The tools have changed but not the fundamental sales strategy.

And just as an aside, we see that reflected in a whole bunch of sectors. Like people will say "the fundamentals of multivariate statistics haven't changed, just the tools to translate or work with them." Or the fundamentals of analyzing financial risk. We even had a librarian talk to us about cataloging.

So we'll hear relaunchers, as we call them, say that the fundamentals of whatever their field is haven't really changed that much. They have to learn the new tools in order to function now in their current roles when they relaunch.

But we used to say "the technological obsolescence is temporary." Once people learn the technologies — and sometimes they're learning a technology along with current employees because it's something new that everyone's learning — then they're not technologically obsolete anymore.

Micalizzi: And things change so quickly now no matter what tool it is.

Cohen: Yeah. And actually —

Micalizzi: Always something new to learn.

Cohen: You know, we have these incredible stories of people in engineering and IT who have been out for a number of years and come back into these highly technical roles and are thriving. So you think that's the extreme of how to move beyond technological obsolescence. And if we can see success there, then we feel like we can see success in a whole range of other fields.

Petersen: So you and I have met. We met during the Lean In Leaders Conference. It was such a fabulous gathering. I've been there twice now. Have you been all the years?

Cohen: No. I've only been there twice too.

Petersen: Okay.

Cohen: So the year that I met you, two years ago, was also my first Lean In Leaders Conference.

Petersen: That's awesome. And the reason you're invited, the reason I'm invited — we're impacting our communities. And so I would love to hear more about how you've been brought into that Lean In part, and the impact you're having on women in your community? I would love to hear more about that.

Cohen: Sure. And it's just so great to be able to be sitting here with you —

Petersen: A reunion.

Cohen: Yes, after we met two years ago. And then just recently, a few months ago, we had the second conference together.

So our major pro bono initiative is to create the Lean In Return to Work chapter for the Lean In organization. And two years ago, our mandate was to create the chapter. And this year it was to grow the chapter. So we now have 236 members in 17 different circles because everyone creates Lean In circles within the chapter.

But the Lean In Return to Work chapter is a little different from a Lean In chapter that might be at Salesforce, for example. Because our circles are primarily job search, accountability, and goal-setting groups. And we went ahead and put onto our chapter, six sessions of free curriculum that our circles can follow when they have their meetings. And each one is about a different aspect of career re-entry strategy.

But ultimately, the idea is they can start out talking about one of those curriculum topics. And then the next half of the circle meeting has to be each individual setting goals for themselves that they're going to try to meet before the group meets again.

Because one of the keys to job searches in general and also for people who take career breaks is if you go through the process as a group, then you're more accountable to meeting the goals that you set for yourself. And you can keep your momentum up in the job search. Whereas, if you're on your own and something comes up and three weeks go by, then you're in the same place you were.

Petersen: Yeah. That self-motivation kind of fizzles after a bit.

I feel like it's such a fabulous platform to engage in the content that you create. Like that book, it's an easy piece to follow. And then, yeah, it's getting that community together to help each other — this is huge. And I feel like Lean In circles are such a perfect platform. And they marry together very well.

Cohen: I totally agree. And we're really excited to see the growth rate of the chapter and of the circles.

Petersen: You know, taking breaks — and we haven't really talked about the different types of breaks. But we do see them commonly in women. And so if you could talk about women taking breaks or other types of breaks. I know you work with vets as well. So what are the different types of breaks that you see that you work with?

Cohen: So if you want to get into the numbers a little bit, the largest subset of people who are on a voluntary career break are women who are taking career breaks for child care reasons. And if you look at Bureau of Labor Statistics microdata at women ages 25 through 54 who have children under 18, who have a bachelor's degree or higher, you will find that about 22% of them, which is about 2.6 million, are not in the labor force.

And then there have been some studies on this group, more than one. But they range from maybe 70 to 93% of the people who are in that category who are not in the labor force are interested in returning to work.

Micalizzi: Interesting. Okay.

Cohen: So we think, at any given time, a little over 2 million women are in this category. And it's a dynamic group of course, right? Because people are constantly leaving the workforce to join this group and then leaving this group to rejoin the workforce. So that's that particular group.

And then we don't have those kinds of statistics on men who take career breaks for child care reasons. We know that that group is getting bigger. But it's nowhere near the number of women.

And then we have men and women who take career breaks for elder care reasons or — as I said before — pursuing a personal interest or a personal health issue.

And then it's been pretty interesting to watch the emergence of programs to focus on veterans who are transitioning and military spouses as well who also face career continuity issues.

And then, more broadly, we are seeing some interest in retirees. People are living longer, working longer. They think they want to be retired. And they try it for a little bit, and then they don't want to.

Petersen: "No, I'm bored. I want to get back in."

Cohen: Or maybe they have financial issues? And that propels people back into the workforce too. That's the number one reason people go back. It might not be an immediate financial issue. It could be through divorce or death or disability of a spouse. There are reasons why people feel that they have to generate income immediately.

And sometimes they have to take a not-so-perfect-job to pay the bills while they're strategizing for the next job that's going to be their true relaunch.

Petersen: I just feel like these are such serious, powerful issues that don't get talked about as often. We don't talk about like, "Oh, yeah. I had to leave to take care of my parents."

Micalizzi: Right.

Cohen: Right.

Petersen: And it's just — your work is fabulous. Kudos to you.

Cohen: Thank you.

Micalizzi: I expect with the aging baby boomer population that the potential for that number to increase is incredible.

Cohen: Absolutely.

Micalizzi: For folks who need to take time off — rather than for child care — for elder care.

Cohen: Yes. And sometimes when people are just about to relaunch — because their child care role is diminishing as their kids get older — all of a sudden, they're hit with an elder care role. And then they continue their career break for that reason.

But sometimes people will see some sort of a looming financial issue like, "We have to pay three college tuitions, and we're not saving enough money for that." Or "We have to start planning for retirement." So that might propel them back.

And then also, during the recession, people were feeling like — in a relationship, they don't necessarily want the whole family to be reliant on a single employer. So that was propelling some people back into the workforce as well.

Micalizzi: It's that kind of financial security feeling?

Cohen: Yeah.

Micalizzi: I can definitely see that.

So one thing I want to do after we're done with this interview, we'll go through and talk about some of those resources that you mentioned. And we'll make sure those are in the show notes for the listeners, especially if anyone is listening and on a career break, wanting to jump back into sales. Or for the folks who are listening who potentially are missing out on that pool of hiring talent, we'll make sure we definitely include those in the show notes —

Cohen: Okay. Great.

Micalizzi: — which will be phenomenal. That way people can take those resources and use them for what they need.

Cohen: Great.

Micalizzi: So, Carol, I want to make sure we kind of bring this home for the listeners. Let's start with the listeners who are on a career break and want to either pivot to sales or they used to do sales and they really want to get back into it. What do you recommend? Like, what's the best thing they can do right now?

Cohen: Right. So the first thing that they have to do is get clarity on their career goals. So they've decided that they want to be in sales. Do they want to be in the same industry sector that they were in before? Or are they interested in a different sector now?

And I would encourage them to go on the iRelaunch.com site and look at some of our success stories of people who have started in one area of sales. For example, Elizabeth DiGaetano started in financial sales. After a 17-year career break, transitioned to technology sales, and she's a senior sales executive for HelloSign now. So she would be a great example.

We have another example, Mara Feldman, who was a top sales producer in pharmaceutical sales and took a nine-year career break. Had a really hard time getting back initially and had to take lower-level contract sales roles here and there before she was finally hired by Novo Nordisk, where she is now being promoted and doing extremely well. She always knew that she could, but she had to have that opportunity to prove it to others.

So, I would say, look at some of these examples to see how people made their way back and the kinds of steps that they took. And look at their LinkedIn profiles to see the specific jobs that they had on their way back.

You might want to get in touch with your alma mater and see if they have alumni career services and if there are people who are working in organizations or in sales roles who you can get back in touch with.

And, we say, a great way to re-establish a relationship or establish a new relationship with someone when you're coming off of a career break is to let them know you're in information-gathering mode, and you're becoming a subject-matter expert again on your field.

You know you have some catching up to do and ask them: Which experts do they follow? Which books have they read? What websites or online newsletters are they following? And who has the best thinking? And then once you hear that, make sure that you are reading and getting yourself up to speed.

Because one of the issues that people have that center around ageism has to do with how they're perceived. And so we say, "Become a subject-matter expert and practice delivering the information that you have." If you go to a professional event and someone is speaking: "Did you read his last book? I just read it and this is what I thought. Did you see the article that so and so just put out? It was so controversial. What did you think?"

And so, first of all, you don't have to make awkward small talk at these events as you're talking about something substantive. Secondly, if you deliver this in an energetic and enthusiastic way, people are going to be focusing more on the content of what you're saying than the fact that you just came off of an eight-year career break.

Petersen: Yeah. You almost present yourself as a thought leader in the area — to getting yourself up to speed and ramping up on those topics.

Cohen: Yes.

Micalizzi: I was going to say, most people should be doing this to begin with. And so it's probably even more important.

Cohen: Right.

Petersen: And that's such practical tips to give. That was actually — like those are perfect pieces of advice for anyone. Yeah. That's fabulous.

Micalizzi: And I do love — one of the things I've heard you say is people tend to have a fixed impression of you. And they don't see the intervening five years, ten years, however many years you were out. So don't be afraid to reach out. Because they're going to remember "the you" they worked with.

Cohen: That's exactly right. We call it being frozen in time. So when you get back in touch with those people from the past, people with whom you worked or went to school, they are going to remember you as you were.

And you're exactly right. I can tell you this firsthand: The longer you've been on career break, you can experience a diminished sense of self. You have to reconnect professionally and update skills and reinvigorate your networks. And that's a whole process.

Petersen: That's hard. That's hard though.

Cohen: It's very hard. But it's a really good point that the people from the past -- they don't know anything about you having a diminished sense of self. They only remember you as you were. And their enthusiasm about your interest in returning to work can be a real boost of confidence.

Micalizzi: The takeaway is: Do not be afraid to start that process.

Cohen: Exactly.

Petersen: I think that's fabulous. Because you went through it yourself. And that wouldn't be a piece of advice you would know to give without actually experiencing it yourself. That's such a good insight.

Micalizzi: Having lived it.

Cohen: Yeah.

Micalizzi: So for our hiring managers who are listening, who may not have considered this talent pool, what should they be doing differently?

Cohen: Well, I first want to give some examples. There are some industry sectors, the financial services in Wall Street, and some of the more legacy, technology companies and other companies that rely heavily on engineering. We have worked with them as they've built programs.

And the hiring rates that are coming out of these programs are really impressive. So there's a lot of precedent for people who have gone through programs that are like internships, except they're mid-career internships and they're paid.

And either we've worked with companies individually or with the Society of Women Engineers through an initiative called the STEM Re-Entry Task Force.

Micalizzi: Excellent.

Cohen: So companies in the STEM Re-Entry Task Force — which include IBM and General Motors and Northrop Grumman and Ford and Johnson & Johnson, like huge companies — we have 14 of them involved right now. Between 60% and 100% of the people who have gone through those programs have been hired at the end of the program.

Micalizzi: Fantastic.

Petersen: And actually, 89% on a weighted average basis. And those are people who are transitioning into IT or engineering roles after long career breaks.

So that data is out there. And it's very consistent. And it is reinforced by what we've seen on Wall Street. You know, these Wall Street companies are really old. So they've seen generation after generation of employees go through all these life stages. And that's why they've had more of a sense of urgency around creating these programs in the first place.

They want to see more women in mid- to senior-level roles. And then, once the programs get rolling, they see the caliber of the candidate that comes in so the programs expand. And those programs, we've seen between 50% and over 90% of the people who participate in them are being hired.

Petersen: I want Salesforce to get involved. We need this.

Cohen: Well, we think these programs are really effective and hope that companies will follow the lead of some of these others that have started.

Petersen: I mean, it is an interesting point that you bring up. That more of those mature companies that have seen it and gone through it with their workforce are putting the emphasis on this and focusing on it. So, I mean, it is what it takes. But I also feel like we should be listening, and Salesforce should definitely jump on and other companies. Because that's impressive numbers too.

Micalizzi: Even for a startup, this could be a critical differentiator.

Petersen: Yeah.

Cohen: Yes. Absolutely. So I would say to companies, "Get back in touch with your high performers, your regrettable losses, people who were high performers who left to go on career break. But also be open to the idea of having someone come back in who has been gone for a while, with the idea that if you have sales talent, it doesn't go away just because you took a career break."

And the reason these programs that involve paid internships are so popular among companies is that they get a "testing out" period. So if the manager is worried or skeptical about engaging with someone who is coming off of a career break, these programs run from nine weeks to six months—  you could have a testing-out period.

You could see an actual work sample instead of a series of interviews and base your decision on that. And you don't have to make the hiring decision until the internship period is over.

So that's one of the reasons that we're seeing them proliferate.

Micalizzi: That's kind of a low-risk intro to the hiring.

Cohen: So consider that.

Petersen: Yeah. You spend that time investing in them and when they do choose to fully hire them, they're that much ready to just hit the ground running too.

Cohen: Right. And people who worked with you before, if you invested in them, and they take a career break, and then come back and work for you, that's another place where you see that higher ROI over time.

Micalizzi: So, Carol, I want to ask you our lightning round question here. If you could take all the knowledge and experience you currently have and go back to the beginning of your career and give yourself one piece of advice, what would you tell yourself?

Cohen: I'd actually give myself two pieces of advice. And we talked to people who are early in their careers about what they can do now if they — anticipating even the remote possibility of a career break — two key pieces of advice. Number one: document. Start an efile and start taking notes of the significant milestone moments, positive and negative, in your career, anytime you've learned something.

Because we tell people who are coming off of a career break that they need to have, in their back pocket, an anecdote from each of their prior significant work and volunteer experiences. So if you're taking notes in the moment, then your post-career-break self will thank you for having that information, rather than having to re-create it from memory.

The other piece of advice is to nurture your relationships with people in all directions. So of course, you might think, with your boss and people senior to you or with peers in your organization. But don't forget about the junior people. Because if you decide to go on a career break — and this happened to me — those junior people are going to be moving up. And they're sometimes in a position to open a door for you.

So in my own case, I worked in an investment banking firm with a very young analyst. I was out for 11 years. He was moving up. He became a managing director at Bain Capital. He's the one who opened the door for me to go interview there, where I ultimately got hired.

Micalizzi: Wow, that's phenomenal.

Petersen: Yeah. It's really interesting.

Cohen: Yeah. Nice.

Petersen: Do not burn bridges above you or below you. Like, you never know.

Cohen: In any direction.

Petersen: Yeah, right.

Cohen: Right.

Micalizzi: That's good advice in general.

Cohen: Yes.

Micalizzi: Because you never know what the future holds.

Cohen: Absolutely.

Petersen: That's correct. Eleven years. Who's thinking that far in the future? — that sort of thing.

Cohen: Who knew?

Petersen: You never know.

Cohen: That's right.

Micalizzi: Awesome. Carol, thank you so much for joining us in the studio.

Cohen: Thanks for having me.

Petersen: It was awesome.

Micalizzi: And, Christina, thank you for jumping in.

Petersen: Oh yeah. Absolutely.

How to Craft the Perfect Sales Pitch By Annie Simms,
Account Executive, Salesforce
The Simple Client Meeting Rules Every Salesperson Should Follow By Laura Stack,
President and CEO, Productivity Keynote Speaker and Author, The Productivity Pro, Inc.



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