The older I become, the harder I find CV writing. I’ve had three careers: media, healthcare and consulting, and a lot of jobs in the past 23 years. It’s a case of what do I keep in and what do I leave out now, and how do I present it – chronologically, or skills-based. I tried skills-based on this occasion and quite liked it for its conciseness.
I was meeting an old friend and work colleague at Ernst & Young, who I had first met in 2008. We had worked together for 2 happy years before feeling forced to go our separate ways as the boutique consulting firm we worked for was bought out.
An agency had contacted me recently about a back-to-work scheme run by Ernst and Young called EY Reconnect. This is a 12-week paid programme of support to get you back into the workplace after an extended break. I had the right qualifications so, before applying, I reached out to my friend to ask for her advice. She kindly invited me to her office in London Bridge for a catch up and to introduce me to a few of her colleagues.
It was an exciting afternoon. London Bridge has become even more of a bustling and interesting place to work in recent years. The smells of the restaurants and cafes alone had me excited just walking from the tube to EY’s office. A short pep talk later, I noticed that The Thames was a stones throw away from my friend’s office and that Tower Bridge was visible at the end of the street. The view made me realise how much I still love London, having arrived here as a student 27 years ago.
Seeing my friend again was a hugely happy event, and hearing about her transition from government work to people services and how much she was enjoying the change, and her new colleagues, was inspiring. I was reminded how I had previously enjoyed the professionalism of a good consulting environment, the training, thought leadership opportunities, comradeship and support, the preparedness and organisation, access to good technology, a comfortable working environment and the more-often-than-not rewarding work.
Meeting one of the first EY Reconnect employees was an unexpected pleasure, and I was able to explore how work-life balance, travel and getting back into work was for her. The fact she took her kids on a holiday to Dubai at the end of the programme had me wishing I could do the same. Well, to be honest, any holiday would be nice. By the end of the conversation, I realised I really had all to gain in applying, but that my confidence was seriously lacking now having been 14 months out of working environments where the world changes very quickly.
I then had the pleasure of being introduced by my friend to the Head of Leadership, a field which has fascinated me for years. Throughout my twenties I was a member of International Business Systems, which was a programme of training through books and seminars on a wide range of leadership and management skills (my bulging bookcase to this day still stores the evidence). The quarterly seminars in Wembley gave me the opportunity to hear inspiring speakers including, Matthew Pinsent CBE, rower and winner of 10 world championship gold medals and four consecutive Olympic gold medals; Richard Noble OBE, land speed record holder, 1983-1987; Tracy Edwards MBE, skipper of the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race; and Simon Weston CBE, veteran of the British Army who is known for his recovery from severe burn injuries suffered during the Falklands War.
It was an opportune moment, as after a glowing introduction by my kind friend, her colleague quickly mentioned that there were roles available in his team. A second later, my CV safely in his hands, I said I hoped he would consider me! Fingers crossed.