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Don't let sabbatical dampen your career comeback

Taking a break from your career can be a refreshing experience. Whether raising a family, due to health challenges, pursuing further education, or taking time away from work can give you a new perspective on life. However, getting back into the workforce after a long break can be challenging, especially in a field like information technology (IT) that is constantly evolving. If you're a woman who has taken a sabbatical and is looking to restart your career in IT, here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Learn new trending skills: Technology is constantly changing, and it's essential to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and software. Assess your skills through many online platforms like HackerRank, Xobin etc to understand your current reality.

Join courses that offer handholding and practical experience to gain real confidence to face the interviews rather than just online certificates.

You can also volunteer for tech-related projects to gain practical experience.

2. Career Coaching: After the break, sometimes it would not be very comforting to explore new opportunities. Hence engage with career coaches to guide your next step based on your current interests and time availability to pursue new career opportunities. Guided journey helps you to navigate the transition with ease.

3. Network: Reach out to old colleagues and make new connections in the IT industry. Attend networking events and conferences to stay informed about the latest trends and job opportunities. Joining professional organizations and industry groups can also be a great way to connect with like-minded professionals.

4. Update your resume and online profile: Make sure your resume and online profile (such as LinkedIn) accurately reflect your skills and experience. Highlight any relevant projects or certifications you have earned, and ensure that your profile is up-to-date and complete. Also, it is important to be active to connect with the right people and share the new learning you are doing to upgrade yourself in the industry.

Most of the time, applications are shortlisted at the first level by ATS – Application Tracking Software hence it is important to update the resume with the right keywords to pass the criteria for next-level screening.

5. Apply for Returnship programs: Many companies offer programs for women returning to the workforce. These programs provide hands-on training and support to help you transition back into the workforce. They can also help you build a network of contacts and gain experience in a particular field.

6. Finding Industry Mentors: By joining the right platforms that support bringing women back to work helps to find the right mentors to help fine-tune skills, interview preparation, technical knowledge upgrade, and motivational support to be in the industry networks. Signup and be systematic to build your connection with trust to move up the career ladder.

7. Be flexible: Be open to different types of opportunities, such as part-time or contract work or sometimes volunteer opportunities. These can help you build up your experience and make connections in the industry. You can also consider remote work, which has become increasingly common in the tech industry.

8. Be confident: Be confident and ready to showcase your abilities to potential employers.

Remember that your sabbatical was a valuable experience that allowed you to develop new skills and perspectives.

Restarting your career in IT after a sabbatical can be challenging, but it's also a great opportunity to start fresh and pursue new opportunities. By staying up-to-date with the latest trends and networking with professionals in the industry, you can make a successful transition back into the workforce.

About the Author:

Manjula Dharmalingam is a trailblazing women leader with over three decades of experience in various industries, including social entrepreneurship and angel investing. She is the Founder of Her Second Innings, an initiative dedicated to creating career opportunities for women post-sabbatical.

As an IT Professional, Entrepreneur and Mom, Manjula has made it her life's mission to use her business acumen to support communities and create a better world for future generations.

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