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5 Golden Rules to Begin the Second Innings of Your Career

Posted on Jul 14, 2018
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Career Second Chance

For many reasons, you may have wanted to take a career break. In the case of women, the common reason is that they have decided to get married, have kids, raise a family, go on a vacation, or recuperate from a long term illness. In the case of men who usually are the breadwinners of the family, they may take a sabbatical to explore their entrepreneurial aspirations, go on a long vacation, or to support their working spouse by becoming a stay-at-home dad. When personal life takes priority over professional, most people find it difficult to maintain a healthy work life balance.

This state of affairs has created record levels of career mobility – but it has also lead to more uneven career paths. Extended breaks from the workforce was uncommon earlier, but these days, they’re not all that unusual. As the workplace becomes increasingly digital, work from home opportunities have created the availability of a talent pool that was so far not available to the job market.

If you are coming back after a long sabbatical to join mainstream corporate jobs, you may find it difficult to re-enter. There are numerous reasons for this barrier to entry:

The world around you has gone through a sea-change, since you quit your previous job.

You probably have not been in the loop, but a lot of things may have changed since your previous role. Job requirements change; roles and responsibilities may have evolved. Companies may be reluctant to invest the time and effort in re-training you.

You may have lost your edge.

Companies shy away from picking applicants who have been out of the radar. Even a job which is a step-down from your previous role may seem like a challenge.

You may lack self-esteem.

In many cases, job returnees tend to undervalue their own potential. They have self-doubts, often stemming from poor self-esteem. You may fear that the younger crowd has moved ahead far too rapidly for your comfort.

Returning to work after a long career break may seem impossible to some, but it is not all that difficult. You require to pursue the job hunt with zeal. And with the right attitude. Here are 5 golden rules to adhere to if you choose to get back to the workplace:

1. Start Networking and Building Corporate Relations

You’d be surprised how many job opportunities are out there waiting to be tapped! Right from friends who connect at a kiddie birthday party, to connections in your yoga class, to your neighbourhood dog park. Sources suggest that as many as 80 percent of available jobs are never publicly advertised. These “secret” openings comprise the “hidden job market” – and the only way to tap into this market is by networking smartly.

Start opening casual conversation with friends, family members, former co-workers, to find out what’s going on in the world. Talk about yourself, the work you did and the achievements you had in the past. Establish your authority in the domain that was your speciality by offering advice, free service, or help if possible. Showcase your personal brand as unique, with the level of experience and expertise you have gathered. Make it known loud and clear that you are planning to get back to the job scene, and you are open to exploring new careers. If you get into the game early, you greatly increase your chances of landing a job.

2. Build Yourself With Glowing Recommendations

An influential inside contact who can vouch for your character and skill is your gateway to your new career. Find people who will speak highly of you.

3. Carve Your Niche and Hold on Tight.

The worst thing to say is: “I’ll do anything.” Such job seekers come across as “desperate and unfocused.” It also makes it difficult for others to know how to assist in your job search. If you are good at website designing or sound mixing, that’s what you want to talk about, not that you can do anything. To carve your niche, a good first step is to look at each of your prior, significant work and volunteer experiences. Break them into components and identify which of those components you love the most and are best at. If you go through this process for each one, you’ll end up with a list of transferable skills and experiences that can be applicable to new career paths.

4. Skill Up. Get Ready for the Big Game.

Fix a target, goal, and timeline for yourself. While you do so, be flexible and open minded in eliminating any sort of pressure from your mind. Taking up a course and finding out new options for yourself is the first step. Since you have been on a break, see what it is to move out and the problems that you face while doing so. Internships and a part-time job could also help in the initial ice-breaking. You can take many online courses that are being offered by reputed MOOCs. YouTube is also a storehouse for good video tutorial on just about anything. If you are looking for a hands-on experience, take up apprenticeship or internship with someone for a short period of time. Make sure to get good recommendations so that you can use this to launch yourself to the next level.

5. Harness Your Social Media Platform Connections to Maximize Your Reach

Join various groups available on social media networking sites. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are great sources to scour information on job trends, career opportunities, among others. Use this media to help you reach out to your potential employers.