After 25 years living in the United Kingdom, Tamara Tudor decided to move back to the United States in the summer of 2018. Despite being at the top of her industry in London, she struggled to connect with Oregon employers and faced frequent rejection. Once Tamara stripped back the negativity she was experiencing and focused instead on what she wanted to do going forward with this fresh start in her career, she was able to unlock a new career path, without fear of failure. Tamara shares how she found a financial job, how she navigated the cultural differences between U.K. and U.S. employers and a job search in a new country, and how she learned to re-market her skills to a new employer audience.
What do you do for a career? Who do you work for?
I work in wealth management administrative and financial assistance at Keudell / Morrison Wealth Management.
How long did it take you to find this job?
I have been very fortunate since repatriating back home to the US in May 2018 as I was able to secure a role in my first week back (in the insurance industry, which was my UK career industry). Unfortunately, it was not a good fit, although it allowed me the time to re-integrate into the American way of conducting business and provided me with sufficient knowledge (and confidence) to change industries and go back to my original career route in finance, which I moved away from when I originally immigrated to the UK 25 years ago.
My current role in wealth management took approximately 10 weeks to secure. In fact, I applied and forgot about the role entirely. I was ecstatic, though, when I was asked to attend an interview 6 weeks after the initial submission of my resume.
How did you find your job?
I found the job through Indeed.com as I was actively seeking a role in either finance with a back-up plan of looking at government risk or analysis roles (I was using my core strength of being an underwriter for 20+ years as a base point for roles that were both analytical, yet customer/public focused).
What resources did you use?
I used Mac’s List for a year after I decided to return to the US. I bought Mac’s book, “Land Your Dream Job in Portland,” as I was aiming for Portland and surrounding areas before I decided on Salem (close enough to relatives, yet sufficient distance to do my own thing!). I also listened to the Find Your Dream Job podcast episodes each week, contacted Mac via LinkedIn for advice (and he replied with some real confidence boosting suggestions). I was basically starting from scratch with no ‘local’ experience or history, but with heaps of International experience.
It was tricky to navigate the US employment field from afar, to start with, and it was a challenge to prove my experience. Some of the best advice and direction was provided from Mac’s List and the various guests on the podcast. I literally studied how to get a job in the US for 6-8 months. Completely revised my CV/Resume, learned how to “sell” my personality as well as experience and never took rejection to heart… I just kept trying! I actually secured the first role in Salem (Insurance) from the UK about a month before arriving in Oregon.
I was tenacious and grateful in equal measures when going through the interview process from abroad – phoning the HR team in the middle of the night (UK time), Skyping and constantly communicating my interest.
What tool or tactic helped the most?
Learning how to be American again, which is very different to the British approach. There are definite cultural differences. I had to tap into my my hidden super-positive attitude (it had been turned down several notches while in Britain because one must be a bit more dry with sarcastic wit, which is not the done thing out here!).
I wasn’t used to ‘selling’ myself, I was used to my credentials speaking for themselves – industry exams, history, who I knew, etc… I had to literally market a new me when I repatriated.
What was the most difficult part of your job search?
Constant rejection or not even being given a ‘look in’ due to no local experience. This was when I was looking for underwriting roles specifically – I was constantly rejected, which was frustrating as I was ‘top of the game’ in the London Market.
But, this rejection was also a really positive aspect as I suddenly understood that I could reinvent myself and I could go for roles that were different and not in my ‘safe zone’ of underwriting. It helped me take a step back and really question what I was doing, what I was looking for and why. What did I really want to do? And, why couldn’t I just start over and go back to the beginning doing something I that would give me pleasure and allow me to be of service?
How did you overcome this challenge?
I did a lot of self-questioning. I stripped back everything to the basics of what I like, what I enjoy, what I don’t want to do and what if I fail totally and completely?
Once I realized that this was going to be an interesting challenge and that I was a blank canvas with no history attached and failure was not a negative, but a signpost to try again or take a different approach, then I accepted that I was starting over in midlife and it would be fun – it would a positive challenge and I decided to literally let go and go with the flow…and enjoy the experience and not seek an immediate outcome.
Then, I did a lot of research on what I ultimately wanted to do – which was return to finance and be customer focused, engage with the community and play with numbers (the risk analysis will always be a part of my career because I enjoy the actuarial side of finance and insurance).
What is the single best piece of advice you would offer other job-seekers?
Challenges entice you to think differently. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and know your strengths – use them as a baseline to delve into areas that interest you and simply enjoy the experience of learning about yourself and others during your search.
Why do you love your job?
My job is absolutely amazing and ticks all of the boxes for me, personally. I actively research and I am involved in compliance, so I’m constantly learning on a daily basis. We have fantastic clients whom I meet daily – I get genuine pleasure out of assisting in any way I can, whether it is pointing someone in the right direction or completely handling money movements and associated issues with their accounts, liaising with our partners and learning (always learning) about all the facets of wealth management as a complete package. I have the opportunity to take the new SIE exam and Series 7, which I’m studying for now! The firm is growing organically and is very community- and client-focused – the partners are truly practicing ethically and their ethos is infectious. Their attitude is to be of service and it is evident in everything we do.