Career Break – No Longer a Lean Phase!

 

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Article by:  Dr. Divya Kumar , Associate Manager – Research, AVTAR Group

It was a Saturday evening. The mall was gearing up with shopping enthusiasts who were eagerly awaiting for the Grand New Year Sale. I was running around to grab my best choices amidst completely charged kids who were playing hide and seek with their clan. A young mom unexpectedly was sprinting to catch hold of her kids. I was surprised and thrilled to see Nita – my career role model, when I started working for a MNC, eight years back. Currently, Nita has taken her career break for her maternity. Five years on, Nita has no clue on how to get back on aboard.

Nita’s is not an isolated story, rather a sample from the 36 percent of Indian Women Professionals who take a break from work. Interestingly, almost 91 percent of women who take a break want to come back to work. Women professionals take career breaks due to 3M’s – Maternity, Motherhood and lack of Mobility. In Indian society, women take career break for Elderly care too. Gone are the days where career breaks were considered a black dot on resumes. Times have changed! Array of initiatives have been taken by companies to bring in women returners.

Here are some Career Returnship pointers women can utilise during their break and forward it for their successful come back.

Upgrade your Skill-Sets

In era of digitalisation, woman on career breaks can deal with the fast changing job market and a gap in their skill-sets from home. Returnees can upskill via Paid and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) There are free online courses available from top universities and colleges. These platforms provide reasonable and flexible way to gain knowledge and new skills. Such courses enables you to upgrade both technological and non-technological domain. In addition, there are life skills coaching such as Time management, Prioritisation etc. that will add value to your curriculum vitae.

Build a Strong Network

Women are good at networking by nature. It is important to build your networks that will support you in your career come back and advancement. Construct your Relationship Inventory in order to identify networks. Network effectively by utilising powerful networking strategies. LinkedIn is a potential medium to serve the purpose for positioning in a career comeback. Never, miss opportunities to attend training sessions, workshops and webinars, which are a great window to meet like-minded people.

Invest on Support system

In Indian society, we are constrained to the support extended from our immediate family. Nevertheless, this support cannot be depended on all the time respecting their personal commitments. You need to invest on a continued external support like a maid, or day care centres or baby sitters/nannies.

Create your Personal Brand

Personal branding is a form of promoting and marketing yourself as an individual.  Where you create an image that exhibits your tenets, attitude and overall character. You can write a powerful introduction of yourself – countering what you are the best at, who you serve and how you do it uniquely. Reinvent yourself by creating your own signature style!  

Wipe off Self-doubts

Women are often held back by the limitations set by others on her. It is imperative to have distinguishing markers – what defines an individual from others. Be matured and prepare your family to be independent from the beginning. So, wipe off all your self-doubts. Be BOLD and CONFIDENT that you are not alone anymore!

Remember – The decision to take career break is more difficult than a comeback. Cheers!

Views expressed are personal.