Have you taken a break in your career? Did marriage/motherhood or relocation force you to take a career sabbatical? Did the break extend longer than expected? Does the thought of joining back workforce beleaguer you?

For anyone who has put the brakes on career for an extended period of time, the mere thought of getting back to work can seem overwhelming and even inconceivable. But don’t have second thoughts; read on as these tips prepare you to make a smooth transition from a career setback to comeback.

  1. Mentally prepare yourself.

Extended break can give rise to self-doubts and re-entering workforce requires courage therefore first step is to build up your self-confidence. It forms the foundation of all great success and achievement. As per Lauren Zander [Life coach, author and chairperson of Handel Group] “Confidence is not a noun. It’s a verb. You have to work at it.”

  1. Keep yourself updated.

Re-joining will mean adjusting to a newer and more evolved workplace and employers prefer people who are abreast with the latest trends and developments. Just because you are on a break doesn’t mean your skills have to rust. Read blogs or journals or join an online course to update skills related to your line of work. Consider an internship opportunity geared towards experienced professionals.

  1. Network.

Often ignored networking is a great way to help you search for an appropriate opening or get good references that can increase your chances of getting selected in a job interview. Try to keep in touch with old colleagues, employers and initiate contact with other known people working in similar industry.

  1. Redraft your resume.

A gap may not look well in a resume but trying to cover it up makes it worse. Determine how the skills acquired and updated and experiences you had during sabbatical readied you for the next stage in your career. Prepare answers to specific questions such as – What skills did you learn during that time? In what ways have you become more employable or resourceful for the company?

  1. Flexibility is the key.

Be flexible and open minded while you fix a goal and timeline for yourself, especially in terms of salary as compared to peers. It is often easier to make a comeback in emerging high-growth sectors or smaller firms. Assess your current situation and interests. It is not necessary and sometimes feasible to return to the old role. You can even use this stage to make a career shift.

  1. Seek help.

Ask people around for help for small things and return the favour as and when you can. Hiring a help at home can act as a great way to reduce your work load. Usually, it is the guilt that stops most women from doing what they want. By getting rid of the guilt and detaching yourself from negative people, create a positive environment for yourself. Participate in online support groups. Talk to others who have been there done that.

Most importantly leave your inhibitions behind, revisit your career goals and work towards achieving them. Restarting a career isn’t easy but it’s definitely worth a shot.

‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream’

C.S. Lewis

About the author:

Dr Samta Mittal – Dentist by education, writer by passion. In my earlier avatar I taught budding dentists and published a book on my subject expertise. A ‘sabbatical’ from work reignited my dormant love for writing. Sometimes I do freelance writing for health/travel portals as well as blog for pleasure on social, cultural issues & other simple little things of life.

(The author is a guest blogger at Her Second Innings. The opinions expressed are those of the author.)

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