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5 Things You Should do to Restart Your Career After a Sabbatical

5 Things You Should do to Restart Your Career After a Sabbatical

Lot of women now take a sabbatical from work to have and raise children. While there is nothing wrong in it, a long break often puts them at a disadvantage when they choose to return to the working world as they find it difficult to match up to the current pace. "Many of them feel that matching their skill set with the specific needs of a company is a daunting task, as many companies have undergone a huge change," says Neha Bagaria, Founder and CEO, JobsForHer, which offers mentoring services and career counseling to such women.

She also shares with us some important things second career women should do before they dip their toes back into the workforce.

Upgrade your skills
A sabbatical from work is the best time to upgrade your skills in your particular field of expertise. There are plenty of online tutorials in whichever skill/subject you feel you would like to work in. Additionally, you could take classes/workshops, attend meetups, watch videos on YouTube and attend online webinars. Upskilling yourself will not only show how passionate you are about your field but will also boost the professional development section of your resume. It will keep you motivated and well prepare you to handle questions at interviews.

Get acquainted with everyday technology
If you've taken a long break, you will need to polish up your everyday technology/ computer skills. There is no getting away from the online world, today═ż whether we like it or not, it's here to stay. Therefore, knowing one's way around a computer and internet tools and being savvy with current techno speak are imperative for women returnees. The best way to flex that muscle and keep it alive is to volunteer at a company a few times a week in a non demanding role that isn't deadline intensive or stressful in any way, but allows you to use a computer at work, with a team. You will quickly learn from the others what to do and what not to do, what tools work best for what requirement, how to optimize your research online, and how to lessen your workload, with the help of technology.

Start networking
You will need to develop your networking skills. Reach out to your past network and connections that you formed while you were working. Stay in touch with old colleagues and bosses through LinkedIn and other social media channels.

Update your resume
Get creative with your resume. Write a short summary on top of your resume as you wish to be seen. Highlight your skills and weave in new experiences you've gained in your time away, to better sell yourself as a great candidate for the job.

Also, you need to be applying to at least 10, if not 20 jobs a day if you are trying to get back into the workforce. Attend as many interviews as you can. Once you start interviewing you will gain more and more confidence in yourself, what you've done, what you can do, and what you offer to the company where you're interviewing. Confidence sells like nothing else can. Build it by exercising it!

(Also read: Use 'Elevator Pitch' Technique To Sell Your Idea At Work )

Prepare for salary negotiation
Negotiating a salary after a break can be tricky if you're not well prepared to handle the questions at your interview. You could mention that your break gave you time to explore new opportunities in your personal life and if you've reskilled yourself, mention what you could bring to the table in your next role. Make your break look like a planned one, where you utilized it well.

Take a stand: Be confident in your interaction. Chances are you will be appreciated for it, more often than not.

Give and Take: Think of the negotiation process as a collaborative one, with two parties willing to come together.

(Image Credit: Thinkstock)

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