Like millions of Australian women, Melissa Newman had taken a break from work and was ready to get back into employment after raising her young children. Seeking to find purpose and reintroducing more adult conversation, one day she walked into our Randstad Geelong branch looking for help.

The branch regularly holds candidate information sessions to support job seekers to become job-ready and discuss current vacancies. Getting ready to get back to work after an extended period off can be daunting for anyone. Digital tools like video interviews can be unnerving for first-timers, CVs need updating and experience may seem lacking. 

During this session, Melissa sat down with Randstad Geelong Branch Manager, Sarah Lowes-Fernado to share her story. 

Prior to going on maternity leave, Melissa had been working for the Telecommunications Ombudsman. She decided it was time to get back into full-time work but wasn’t sure where to begin. It had been a long time since she had to apply for work and interview. Like many other women who return to work after maternity leave or in Melissa’s case, raising her young family, she shared how she was experiencing a lack of confidence and was overwhelmed by the job market. 

Sensing Melissa’s trepidation and being a mum herself, Sarah recognised what she was feeling. Sarah was determined to help Melissa secure her next opportunity. 

Sarah’s support included helping her to streamline her CV highlighting her relevant work experience and transferable skills.

Once Melissa’s CV was ready, Sarah helped her to navigate the job market using Randstad’s Jobfit methodology as to which opportunities would suit her given her preferences. Sarah not only looked for job matches to her skill set but also the environment and manager that would propel Melissa forward.

“Sarah, helped me get back into the Workforce. I had a big break from work when having my two beautiful children and I was very nervous to get back into full-time employment. I had not worked full time for over seven years and Sarah's guidance and her knowledge made me feel so much more confident in myself,” she says.

Melissa quickly found a role as a Government contractor administration officer for the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).

Starting in December 2019, Melissa enjoyed the workplace and the people she worked with.  

“Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. What’s more, my boss was very understanding and I get a lot of flexibility at TAC,” she says.

Once placed, the Randstad Geelong team kept in touch with Melisa, making sure she was comfortable and happy at work. 

“I was actually really shocked at the level of aftercare, as I have not had this before. The Randstad team wanted to make sure I was comfortable with everything, & checking in with me regularly. They have been wonderful,’’ she says.

Melissa’s boss, Felicity Wright Information & Privacy Manager speaks highly of her work ethic and attitude.

“Melissa keeps the team going doing all the hard work at the start of the Freedom of Information process, and she is just a happy, funny presence in the team who lifts others up with her attitude, she says”

And with COVID-19 impacting all workplaces, it’s been a tough time for the team.

“Mel is working extremely well under very challenging circumstances. Having to operate six laptops at once, deal with endless technical problems associated with her role, all while homeschooling two primary school-aged kids.

Finally, when asked what advice Melissa would give other return to work mums, she says, “do not be afraid, you can do this. I was so worried I would not cope, however, I have surprised myself! It's been wonderful getting back into the workforce, and I have met so many lovely people at the TAC. Work is much easier than looking after the kids too!