Carla: Bank of America Merrill Lynch Returning Talent Programme*

I recently returned to work after a long career break, to the Global Banking and Markets COO group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. This was made possible through my participation in their 2015 Returning Talent Programme.

After several years of staying at home to raise my children, I began to think about returning to the workforce last year.  During my break, I had stayed active with a couple of board positions and a small accessories business, which I founded and ran. However, as my children grew up, I was eager to return to a full-time corporate role.  Previously, I had worked as an Institutional Equity Salesperson and I wanted to find a position that was a good fit for my skills and experience.  However, when thinking about my return and job search, I was unclear about other areas in financial services to target and unsure how to market myself as a candidate.

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Returning Talent Programme helped me to address these uncertainties. The conference and follow-on coaching workshops not only provided me with advice and information about the job search process but also gave me the tools to consider what types of role and organisational workplace would suit me best. This reinforced my decision to target a clearly-defined role at a large established organisation. I also benefitted from the talks from senior female leaders, which offered exposure to different areas of the bank and a means of developing networking contacts.  Just as importantly, taking part in the Programme was also a great way to meet and connect with other returners. This created a back-to-work support system for me, which I had found difficult to do within my regular social group and school network.

My advice to other women wanting to return to a City role is:

Note on the Programme

* The Returning Talent programme 2012-2015 consisted of a conference and a series of training workshops, together with liaison with the company’s recruitment department. From 2016, the programme will also include a returnship