Second chances are not always destined, actually most of the time you have to seek and create that opportunity for yourself. This is actually true when we talk about women's careers. Women who want to make a comeback after a break are often not supported by corporations. A LinkedIn report found that 77 percent of working women in India were stigmatized for taking a career break.
It is imperative to understand that taking a career break or a gap year is not the end of professional life.
Agreed, that women might witness many challenges along the way while going towards the second innings of their career but as William Hazlitt once quoted, “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” It’s all about confidently moving on the road to your second chance.
During and post-pandemic period, a great number of women quit their jobs for multiple reasons. According to a report by businessinsider.in, about 58% of working women in India quit their jobs because of home and family responsibilities.
Of course, that’s a major reason but not the only one, the report also shows that 27% of employees credit that lack of recognition from management as the cause of women employees quitting. There are other concerns too such as, lack of support from family, increased domestic load, burnout, lack of sufficient salary and policies, etc.
The good thing is that despite such challenges and setbacks our motivated female population is more than eager to bounce back to their career. And the statement can be proven by a survey done by Indeed which tells us that 58% of the women workforce are already in the process of joining back to their respective professional roles.
But as a woman has more than one responsibility on her shoulder to carry on, it might take contributed efforts from people in our society to make it more promising and easy for them to get back to work.
How can women resume after a career break?
So returning after a career break might seem like crossing a long bridge and it will require hard work and determination to do that, but remember that you are not alone. There are thousands of people who are restarting, returning, and switching their jobs and career options irrespective of their age and gender. And this thought alone could be a great starter motivation for you.
But moving forward a bit, let us discuss a few tips on how a woman can resume their career after a break.
Get out of your comfort zone
Entering something new even if you have already lived the same experience before can be scary, and that scary space is called the comfort zone. It is important for everyone to get out of their comfort zone especially when it comes to their career. If you don't take risks then you won't get a reward too. It will be that continuous loop of what ifs and buts. And the most disadvantageous thing that can happen is, you might lose your golden opportunity.
Why did you take the career break?
All you have to do is be honest about the reason why you took a career break. You’re not required to go into full-depth detail, but giving the interviewer some kind of generic or copied answer cannot give you any positive result. There are various reasons a woman can quit her work, starting from taking care of her newborn, prioritizing her mental health, switching her career, further studies, etc. You will be asked about the gap in your resume and that time you answer it by mentioning the duration of your career break, then moving forward explain the reason behind it and finally wrap it up by shedding some positive light on how you made the gap productive. Just remember you don’t have to be apologetic about it, own it.
Do not forget to network
Connecting with people from your industry with similar interests is something that will help you speed up your job search. Online and offline both kinds of connection are needed when you are restarting the second innings of your career. A platform like LinkedIn which is specifically designed for professional relationships can be very helpful. Reach out to people, recruiters, and professionals who you think can be of some value for your job search like, a recruiter, startup owners, CEO, like-minded people, or someone who is in the same field as you. Networking might open several new and old gates of opportunities for you.
Optimize your resume
It is given that if you are starting over your career again you will need an effective resume. And to make your resume notice worthy and effective you have to optimize it. How do you do that? Opt for ATS-friendly resumes because recruiters nowadays are all about computers and software that makes the process easy and convenient. Add a few keywords related to your job role. Add the accomplishment that you achieved during the gap time and put a positive light on that period of time. And remember not to over stuff with keywords and information, that's a big red flag for recruiters and HR.
Develop new skills
With digitalization, we are going strong with all the IT and digital marketing things and you can miss out a lot if you don't arm yourself with at least one new skill in the market. Show your career break in a positive light and to do that adding some extra skills you learned at the time or some certification course related to your field might be a very helpful step to take. This step will show your potential employer that you are updated with what's going on in the industry and eager to learn more.
How can companies and recruiters help women in the second innings of their careers?
Keeping in mind there are various reasons a woman might quit or take a break, companies and the HR department can do many things to make it a bit easier for them.
1) The first thing to do is they can reduce the barrier to entry. Practicing gender diversity can be one way to do it.
2) Workplace flexibility is crucial not for only women but men too. Offering options like full-time, part-time, variable shifts, work on a project basis, non-mandatory overtime, etc. are a few ways to offer flexibility.
3) For women work-life balance is an important factor to consider because most of us juggle both professional and personal life simultaneously.
4) Give them a chance to grow in their element by providing training and mentorship opportunities.
Family and personal health are important but so does career, and we women know it very well. You might get anxious, doubt your decision and skills, and doubt yourself, but remember you are not alone, there are more women like you who are restarting their careers and are doing that successfully. All you need is to trust yourself and just go for it. If you are also looking to restart after a career break then you're at the right place. QWEEN can help you find the right opportunity! Just sign up and apply for the relevant jobs.
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