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Journey back to work: Melanie’s success story

The scene

Melanie (not her real name) was out of the workforce for 7 years being the full-time carer for her father. Before that she was an Executive Level (EL) 1 in government with expertise in human resources (HR). She had a Bachelor of Business (HR Management) and led a team of 20.

After Melanie’s father passed away, she began looking for a position that matched her skills, experience and passion for HR. At 56 years of age Melanie was concerned about age discrimination. Her resume was out-of-date. Also, the HR work world had changed with organisations still navigating the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Melanie wondered if she would still be relevant in this new environment.

A friend suggested that Melanie reach out to face2face Recruitment. Melanie had never used a recruitment agency but was told good ones offer quality support to take the pressure off.  The friend also told Melanie that recruiters have access to positions that are filled before being advertised. Melanie called face2face.

How we helped

face2face arranged an initial consultation with the Talent Manager who gave Melanie a contemporary resume template and worked with her to update her resume, including the best way to explain her time away from paid work. The Talent Manager reinforced that Melanie’s skills were still valid and in-demand, especially with a shortage of HR professionals in government.

Melanie was assigned a recruitment expert who highlighted the skills she refined while being a carer, including multi-tasking, problem solving, and communication skills in a complex case environment. The recruiter also supported Melanie to work on the type of language to use in a government job application.

face2face explained how the recruitment process worked and recommended that Melanie look for a government contract as a first step. To alleviate concerns about re-entering the workforce in a high-pressure role, Melanie decided to look for an APS 6 position. Once she was back in the swing of things, Melanie would be better positioned to apply for a permanent EL position.

To build Melanie’s confidence, we reviewed relevant job descriptions against her resume to pinpoint her skills, strengths and experience. This powerful exercise shone the spotlight on Melanie’s relevance. We continued working with her to identify the skills she had that could easily be transferred into a new government role, such as:

  • engagement and retention strategies
  • leadership qualities
  • expertise in complying with legislation and policy
  • HR reporting
  • active listening
  • understanding key HR metrics
  • working collaboratively with colleagues.

face2face supported Melanie to update her LinkedIn profile and write a dynamic one-page pitch, something an increasing number of government departments are looking for. We also directed Melanie to expert articles on our website, covering trends like the growing importance of cultural fit. Melanie expanded her knowledge and felt renewed confidence in her abilities.

face2face soon identified several roles Melanie could immediately apply for.

The result

face2face placed Melanie within 4 weeks into a full-time, 12-month contract in a HR division of a government department. After 7 months in her APS6 contract, a line manager selected Melanie for a non-ongoing EL 1 role. Within 13 months, Melanie won a permanent EL 1 position.

We kept in contact with Melanie throughout her journey and now Melanie has gone from being a candidate looking for work to being a face2face client looking for her own staff.

Lessons learned

Melanie learned that using a recruitment agency quickens the pace in landing meaningful work. She learned how to calibrate her language and leverage her caring responsibilities in a strong resume tailored to the public sector.

Another lesson was the value a recruiter can play in marketing candidates to prospective employers, including with potential issues surrounding age. In the end, Melanie’s fears of being irrelevant in the workplace were unfounded.


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We can help you find your perfect job

Whether it’s your first job, a new job, a career change, a promotion or re-entering the workforce after a break, we’re here. face2face will help you create a winning resume, boost your interview skills, and support you to find your perfect position.

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