Real inclusion – creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable and confident that they belong – means looking beyond things you think you can see on the surface, like education, previous companies and job titles. A resume can’t tell you about a candidate’s passion, personality or values. It doesn’t take into account a hunger for knowledge, organizational acumen or killer people skills. It doesn’t explain the reasons behind career moves or time away from work. And a resume definitely can’t tell you whether or not someone will be a “good” employee. People are more than keywords; their worth should be measured beyond check boxes on a job description. It’s important that we create spaces in which every candidate can bring their whole, authentic self to the interview, and eventually to your workplace.
It is crucial to take life experiences into account when assessing candidates. Consider those who have left the workforce to raise children, take care of an elder in their family or start their own business. Instead of viewing a resume gap as a red flag, go deeper to understand what this experience tells you about the person’s resilience, fortitude and personal goals. Dig in to find what unique skills they feel they’ve honed or bring to the table, likely because of the journey. Being a parent or managing two households when caring for an elder requires time-management, multitasking and collaboration skills, along with healthy doses of compassion and empathy … all traits we want in a candidate. As a mother of three myself, Visa believed in me and my background and helped me gain growth and leadership opportunities, even amid my own family expansion.
The next time you have an open job to fill, I challenge you to look beyond the resume and consider pools of talent that you may have previously overlooked. Consider those who have taken risks, followed their passions or embarked on unconventional paths. Imagine the diverse perspectives and innovative ideas these people will bring to the table. What will that do for your workforce? What will that do for your company?
This month, Visa will be opening its doors for the third year to one of these exceptionally valuable talent pools: those who have taken extended time away from work to care for family. Our Ready to Return program, taking place Thursday, July 31 in Foster City, CA, provides tools returnees need to shape their résumés, perfect their interview skills and network with recruiters, hiring managers and others on the same journey. In addition, some attendees will be invited to apply for open roles at Visa, and all applicants will receive access to additional online resources and training. Our goal is to inspire, empower and equip these men and women to get back into the workforce with confidence.