This post is a guest feature by blogger Geetha Pradeep. This article appeared first on her blog.
Long post alert, Blank Slaters! I am chronicling what has worked for me and a few other women I know. So, I hope it does for you too. Take what you like, leave the rest and don’t hesitate to share what I have missed. It can help a lot of other people, like you and I.
Lately, I have been involved with a forum, Jobs For Her, for women restarters. I consider myself fortunate enough to meet a lot of like-minded and brilliant women, who are looking forward to restarting their career. For an average Indian woman, this is not an easy feat, speaking from experience.
Why is it so difficult to get back?
Well, we are emotionally wired to be with the family, once married and take care of the child, once we become a mother! That’s reasonable, but the issue is that we are taken for granted and are EXPECTED to do it, no matter what our personal aspirations! If your personal desires align with the expectations of the society, you are in heaven. For a career-oriented woman, however, life is much harder in our country!
Many families still struggle to support women on career breaks to resume their work lives. Why?
- The family does not want her to become independent
- The family fears that her independence would become a threat to their freedom
- There’s no one else to take care of household chores
- It hurts their ego or pride to let the woman of the house to be earning!
What I just don’t understand is that even in this century why the Asian women have to go through this?!!! Its way too complicated! So how can we overcome this?
Since I have a very supportive family and group around me, the path has been easy in some ways. But there were a lot of challenges that I had to face otherwise! The main challenge was to find help and support system that could guide me through the process. It took me a while to establish myself to some extent before I came across this wonderful initiative called JFH.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to talk to many ambassadors of JFH who are either well-established or waiting for an opportunity to restart. There’s a lot that I have learned and starting my blog was one of them! While I have been writing a lot for various organizations, I had never thought about my blog! Strange enough, but I was representing my thoughts and views on various aspects of career and personal life through my writings, and never bothered to ensure whether it reached the right people! It may have, but I found that such information was totally scattered and most of it was not relevant to this group! So, I decided to start with my blogs – thanks to the ambassadors who encouraged me to do this.
How do you prepare for a career restart?
I would like to present my solutions or suggestions to everyone who would benefit. The basics are the same; the issue has to be handled differently for men and women. As for the 3rd gender, they can adapt to either side as they find convenient.
Do some research before you plan your restart. You can do this from anywhere as long as you are connected to the internet and the people around you. It is important to understand what you are getting into and to prepare yourself to be able to start and sustain after a break. If you are an IT person, get down to understand the trending technologies and job opportunities available in the field.
Decide your Path
This is important because many times, we are indecisive about what we want to do after the break and end up accepting whatever comes our way. This can do more harm than good. It is better to take some time to analyze your situation and decide what you want to do. Find out for yourself how you can learn or polish the trending skills and be job ready. Sometimes, you will find yourself way too behind in your field because of the technical advances. You need to find out how much time it will take for you to catch up and whether you are ready to do that. You may have to start as a fresher all over again, but you will gain considerably because of your prior experience, and within 6-months to a year, you will be the best in your field once again. Freelancing is another option you can consider as a restarter.
You have to network extensively before you restart your career. This helps you gain a lot of friends and also a lot of knowledge in diversified fields. This is one crucial aspect where JFH is helping the women restarters considerably. I have also found LinkedIn as a very useful platform to network with professionals.
Technology, Experience, Salary and Priorities are the biggest challenges most of us face while restarting a career.
We have to adapt ourselves to the latest technology to be able to restart.
You have ample experience in your field, but the years lost cannot be compensated for. But then, during those years, you may have gained experience in a lot of other matters and use them to your advantage.
Salary is something most restarters find to be a challenging aspect. Most organizations do not consider restarters equivalent to their peers because of their insecurity or company policies. I would suggest that you accept a lower salary if you are getting a good opportunity. Wait for a few months and start looking out for better opportunities again. It is easier to get a job while you are already working.
Priorities matter more to the women folk restarting their career. Women are expected to keep their families as their priority and that’s how it is for most of us! But then, the organization will find it difficult to accept. So be prepared with your explanation of how you will be more productive, keeping your family as your priority.
Resume and Interviews
Since you have been out of the industry for some time, you better consult a professional for revamping your resume. There’s a lot of information available online on how important a resume is for restarters. Prepare well for the interview. Be ready to answer many questions on your break-time and why the company should consider you rather than someone with experience and without a break. This is crucial as the break-time is usually considered as the time wasted. You can work it to your advantage by presenting the skills you learned or the books your read and the volunteering you did during this time. Convince your recruiters that you still have the urge to compete with the current generation.
Ultimately, that’s what is going to help you out. Many organizations prefer to recruit people who are go-getters. They are willing to train these energetic and confident personalities whatever skills are required, provided they have the basic aptitude and interest to learn.
Learn from every step you take. Learn from all your experiences and use them to prepare better next time. The job market is quite competitive, but many organizations are coming forward to provide talented women with the right opportunities with the dignity they deserve these days. It is only a matter of time till you find the right employer who is looking for a candidate like you. Define you own priorities and work on them.
Have patience and keep looking out for a great career restart. The road may be a little bumpy, but not for too long. Help yourself to achieve your career goals. You have to take the first step towards your career.
- Social Media trends of 2016 and probable trends of 2017 - February 14, 2017
- Women Restarters – Find your own way - January 13, 2017