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5 Tips to Overcome the Fear of Going Back After A Career Break – Career Coaching Advice for Returning Professionals

Career breaks happen! Whether you took out time to raise your children, took a break to deal with health problems, pursued higher studies or took a much-needed sabbatical to travel the world – there are times when personal needs demand your full attention and work takes a back seat. Getting back to work after a few years might seem a bit daunting at first, but with professional career coaching, you can find a job that values your experience and education!

I guess you are reading this article because you are now ready to head back to work. Right? For most people, taking a career break is equated with loss of money or rank – people expect to get paid less or be demoted!

A study by PWC conducted in the UK found that 3 in 5 women get lower-paid or less skilled jobs when they return after a break! The numbers, if reported, will probably be even more depressing in India.

This is exactly why returnees have such a stressful time starting again. They settle for either less money or less meaningful work, and when you know you deserve better and can do more, the chances are you will end up deeply frustrated and unhappy.

To avoid falling into this career rut, we have put together some helpful career coaching tips to get you started right -

1. Assess and Research

Don’t just jump in and start firing off your CV to all and sundry. Take time to focus on what you want to do and assess your strengths and positives. You can find a career coaching service near you or online and get some professional help to you decide what you actually want to do.

You also need to research the various options that are available in your industry. For this, you can browse through job portals and well-known job communities on Facebook or LinkedIn. If you have kept in touch with industry publications, you could also make a list of any significant policy, strategic or technological changes that you might be expected to know.

2. Network, Network, Network

Break out that contact list, open LinkedIn, call old colleagues and bosses – get the word out that you are ready and looking for work.

Most people hesitate to call or reach out – trust us only the first few calls will feel awkward. Your friends, old colleagues, acquaintances are all nice people – they might not be able to help, but no one will be rude to you.

Spend some time drafting an email or practising your call and just get started. Dropping a personal message on LinkedIn or Facebook is the easiest thing to do!

3. Upgrade your Skills

If you are in a technical profession and have been away for more than a year then polishing up your credentials with a specialised course might be helpful.

With so much high-quality education available online, its possible to find a course that fits your interests and budget. You can also work with a career coach to find out relevant options – this is especially helpful if you have decided to change your profile significantly.

4. Aim Small

You might have left a job at an MNC, but maybe a small start-up is more suitable to restart your career.

Bigger and more established companies tend to have stricter policies and more competition, whereas a small firm would be happy to use your experience and might offer you the same profile and salary as well as more flexibility. So, don’t just consider the big-name companies, explore small or medium-sized concerns as well.

5. Focus on the Job Profile

If it comes down to money vs. job profile, pick the work.

Re-entering the job market could entail some sacrifices, and sometimes you just need a little bit of time to acquaint your employer with the skills and experience you bring to the table.

Look for an environment, a work profile or a team that allows you to grow and learn. A more challenging work profile might not get you the paycheck you are looking for – but it will certainly speed up your learning and help you fill in the time you lost while you were away.

Once you are back up to speed, there is always room to negotiate for a better salary or a higher designation.

In this situation does Career Coaching help?

Well, yes!

If your initial research has not thrown up any clear ideas on how you can start your job search or if you are thinking of changing your professional path altogether, then a coach can be very helpful to point you in the right direction.

Our advice - just start! It’s the first and the most daunting step. Stay focused on your life goals and give it time.

Are you looking for some help getting back in the saddle? If yes, then our coaching program for returning professionals is the perfect starting point for kickstarting your new professional life. Click on the Request Consultation button above.

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