Article: Restarting your career after a sabbatical

Employee Engagement

Restarting your career after a sabbatical

Starting a second career inning is certainly more difficult than your first one and therefore the approach needs to be changed. There are biases and mindsets to be fought and successes to be proved. Here are things that you need to keep in mind before re-joining workplace:
Restarting your career after a sabbatical

Natasha Arora, an IT professional, had quit her well-paying job after working for 5 years with an MNC IT firm. She was a satisfied employee and a workaholic of sorts but after her marriage, her family became the top priority. To strike a balance and to spend more time with her husband and her new family, she decided to take a sabbatical. 

Once their daughter turned 3, she was ready to join work again, but to find a job after a 4 year break proved to be difficult. Recruiters constantly disregarded her application owing to the gap in her resume. She had utilized this period to complete an executive MBA degree through a distance learning programme and though she got jobs, none were suitable for her profile or the experience she had gained during the gap years.

Here are certain aspects that need to be considered, when starting a second career:

  • Build your confidence: Work on yourself for a little while each day. It doesn’t matter as to why you took the break in the first place. Spend quality time reading inspirational books, autobiographies, learning a musical instrument or a new language or any other skill, or join a good local NGO, or do some volunteer work to polish your skills. This will play a significant role in improving your confidence and self-esteem.

  • Reconnect and re-network: Stay connected and well-networked with your peers and colleagues in the industry so that when you plan to return to work, they will help you significantly. This will help to keep you socialized and mentally motivated and ambitious. Do coffees& lunches together every now and then, it will help you get a pulse of what is going on in your field of work in general.

  • Upgrade your skill : Keeping up with the changing times is the key. A Sabbatical is a blessing in disguise as far as work is concerned since it is the best time to upgrade your skills in your particular field of expertise. There are a myriad ways to do this – attend vocational classes in your local neighbourhood, apply for distance learning programmes that are offered now by many reputed institutes, do online tutorials in whatever skill/subject you feel you would like to work in for your second career. There are additional armaments that your CV can boast of.

  • Rediscover your second career path:  When you are finally ready to get back to work, you may realize that your skill sets do not match with the company’s requirements because the time period when you have been away is the same time period when your company underwent a period of sea change. Today, JobsForHer gives you an opportunity to apply for jobs in companies that offer an array of flexible options as they recognize the need to staff skilled and talented women like you, who are choosing to restart their careers. Many companies now offer returnee internships, flexi-time and part time opportunities. The idea is to make use of these opportunities.

  • Build a support system: Everybody needs a support system, no matter how self-sufficient you are and this support can come from any quarter, be it your husband, a co-worker, parents, siblings, friends etc. They can play a significant role in making your transition to work life a fun and smooth ride.

  • Go all out: If you want to get back to the grind, do so aggressively. Apply for atleast 10 jobs per day, if not more. Appear for as many interviews as you can as it will build up your confidence levels. Confidence sells like nothing else can. Build it! Interviews will also reveal where you really stand and how best you can contribute to the company you are willing to join.

  • Finally, communicate the reason for your break and exude confidence at all times: Never be apologetic or shy away to state the reason for your sabbatical. It happened for a reason so clarify your reason. Talk about the professional skills you have developed while you were on a sabbatical or any voluntary assignments you had taken up and completed. Showcase your learning. Against popular myth, such an attitude will increase your chances of bagging a great job. 

 

Re-entering the professional world after a break can get challenging. The road might be hard and undulated. But by taking a well thought of and a meticulously planned approach and a right frame of mind, confidence and skill set, you will be soon be on your way in charting success, yet again. 

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Strategic HR

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