Women Getting Back to Work: Tips after Career Gap

Effective Tips for Women Returning to Work

Returning to work after a sabbatical can sometimes be intimidating. There can be a host of challenges that you might face, from skill gaps to pay cuts, from the absence of a strong support system to a lack of confidence; the list is unending.
However, despite the challenges, many people decide to return to work and start the second phase of their careers.
So, if you are returning to work, this article will provide you with effective tips to cope with the changing work environment.
Below we have listed effective tips for women returning to work after a gap.

Address The Career Gap

Remember that you are not the only person who is returning back to work. Perhaps many like you are returning to work after a long career gap.
Therefore, the first tip is, to be honest about the sabbatical. Talk about it to your family, friends, co-workers, and close acquaintances; it will help you overcome the stigma of taking a break from a prospering career.
However, to become open about your career gap, you must understand that you will be judged and questioned for your choices. Be prepared to answer questions from everyone.

Showcase Confidence

Re-joining a workplace after a sabbatical can be an intimidating process. There will be times when you have self-doubt. You will doubt your professional capabilities and consider quitting.
However, braving it can open doors to better work opportunities and help you add value to the company.
The best way to overcome the ‘lack of confidence’ phase is by listing your strengths and weaknesses, reviewing things that demonstrate them, and trying to incorporate or identify them in the new workplace. It will help you regain your lost confidence.
This process is more effective and fruitful than trying to emulate others or learning from them.

Note: Have you wondered why some women are not bogged down by self-doubt? Why don’t they face confidence issues after a gap? Many women even mention self-confidence as a key skill in their resume to showcase their capabilities. A commonly known reason is that they are well aware of their capabilities and skills. Their confidence translates to their job.

Pro-tip: Preparing answers for regularly asked sabbatical-related interview questions can help you build confidence. Start with writing down answers to these questions:

  • How has the sabbatical helped you?
  • What skills did you learn during the break?
  • Have you become more resourceful?

Get Into a Routine
It is essential to have a routine, especially when you are returning to work after a gap. A well-planned routine can help you be efficient and tackle self-doubt and self-confidence issues. It can help you complete all your tasks on time and create a lasting impression on your seniors.

How to create an excellent work routine?

Here are a few tips on how to create a new work routine.

  • Analysing your needs and requirement is the first step. Before making significant changes, you must evaluate your requirements and make a routine that helps you accomplish your daily goals.
  • Understand your workplace. It will help you alter your behaviour and routine accordingly. It is essential to thoroughly understand your workspace because you will spend most of your time there. So, your training should encourage you to put your work away every day and start it the next day easy.
  • Set a benchmark or prerequisites to measure success. It will help you in achieving your professional goal and objectives. It will also help in increasing efficiency.

Monotasking
Monotasking is the opposite of multitasking. It emphasises completing one task at a time. It helps in increasing creativity, energy, and focus by giving your full attention to the task at hand.
If you struggle to balance work after re-joining, you can concentrate on monotasking. It will help you solve issues related to efficiency and coping.

Why is multitasking ideal for employees returning to work after a hiatus?

  • Reduces stress
  • Increased sharpness and efficiency in completing tasks
  • Slowing the process of burning out due to exertion

Focus On Building Relationships
Building a sisterhood or a solid professional support system helps adapt to the new work environment. You can strive to converse with your female counterparts during your coffee break or lunchtime.

Note: Building a sisterhood with your female co-workers is essential because they can empathise with your decision to take a break. Talking about your journey or being transparent about the gap can be the first step in building your support network inside the organisation.

This group will help you discuss your personal and professional difficulties and stick with each other through thick and thin.

Are Companies Recognising Re-Entering Programmes?

Businesses have embraced women with a career gap and recognise that they are not a liability to their organisation. They have understood that career gaps are not related to an employee’s capabilities. So, they are open to hiring professionals with sabbaticals.

Multi-national companies like IBM offer return ships to their female workforce. It is a 12-week re-entry programme that helps employees adapt to the changing business dynamics.

Similarly, Emeritus India has specialised learning programmes for women returning to work and finding it hard to adjust to the new technologies. We have partnered with Indian universities to offer certificate programmes in information technology (IT) and digital marketing that can help women upskill and get an edge.

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