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“Are my skill sets enough in this country?”

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Ghanaian HR professional overcomes challenges to relaunch career with Upwardly Global

In Melissa’s first year in the United States, she applied to over 3,000 jobs. A stream of rejection emails followed, if she even heard back at all.

Prior to immigrating in 2019, 39-year-old Melissa had spent over a decade as an HR Manager in one of the largest hospital systems in Ghana. With extensive experience and a master’s in public administration, she had envisioned an even brighter future for herself after moving to New York City.

Applying to jobs in the U.S.

“One of my biggest concerns when I came to the U.S. was to quickly land a job,” Melissa says. “I didn’t really know much about the U.S. workforce. I just thought of it as any other workforce in any other country.”

At the time, U.S. employers completely overlooked her resume, which was three pages long and formatted in the Ghanaian style. Her degrees and experience seemed to count for nothing.

“I was doubting myself. ‘Are my skill sets enough in this country?’” she recalls. “Not getting any positive feedback was largely demoralizing — my confidence level dwindled. I got frustrated, packed my bags, and was close to leaving the United States when a friend of mine talked to me about Upwardly Global.”

Connecting with Upwardly Global

For over two decades, Upwardly Global has directly supported nearly 11,000 immigrants, refugees, and asylees in regaining their footing in the U.S. workforce. They provide guidance on U.S.-style resumes, cover letters, interview skills, and career navigation for newcomers unfamiliar with the U.S. system.

Once Melissa connected with the organization in 2021, the pieces quickly fell into place.

“I was immediately introduced to a job coach who took me through a couple of trainings, like U.S. resume writing, interviewing skills, [and] job search,” says Melissa. “Upwardly Global helped in interpreting my decades of experience in HR to the American context.”

 

Paying it forward at NewYork-Presbyterian

By the following year, Melissa landed a temp position as a Patient Navigator at NewYork-Presbyterian, one of the largest hospital systems in New York City. 

Their returnship program, crafted hand-in-hand with Upwardly Global, recruits and onboards newcomers into temporary roles that serve as an on-ramp into the professional world.

“Now, I feel seen in the American job market,” says Melissa. Since joining NewYork-Presbyterian, she has risen to full-time Talent Acquisition Specialist.

With an employer that understands the value of immigrants — their resilience and depth of experience — Melissa’s work in HR now primarily focuses on recruiting and hiring other immigrants facing similar challenges.

“I just want other immigrants to know that, with time, it gets better,” says Melissa. “Now that I’ve landed my dream job, I’m helping other Upwardly Global job seekers relaunch their careers and see what they can be.”

Learn more about Upwardly Global’s returnship program with NewYork-Presbyterian.

Want to find meaningful work with Upwardly Global and help immigrants and refugees restart their careers in the U.S.? Find all of our current job openings here.

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