Tips for restarting your career after a long sabbatical

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By Arshan Vakil and Neha Bagaria

Sabbaticals are still viewed with scepticism and fear, though their purpose is to either take some time off to rest and relax or have a chance to step back from work and focus on personal enrichment and professional development. Whether the sabbatical is for a few weeks or a year, employees aim to return to work with more focus and energy.

Here are some effective tips to kick-start your second innings.

* Stay informed: Industry keeps evolving. Taking a sabbatical increases your chances of getting cut off from happenings in the industry. In case you aim to get started from where you left off in your professional journey, ensure your foundation is solid and can withstand unexpected changes. Come back with updated knowledge and skills.

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* The value of networking: There is unanimous agreement among researchers that building and nurturing relationships with current and former people in the industry provides a strong medium to building a vibrant career and acts like a cushion for unplanned things.

* Speak up: After a break, some people do experience a natural reticence while speaking in group sessions and team meetings. It’s okay to keep quiet but withholding a helpful comment or pertinent questions won’t do any good.

* Reasons to decide if it is time to hang on or move on: In a study on women returners by PWC, three in five professional women returning to the workforce are likely to experience an immediate earnings reduction of up to a third or likely to move into lower skilled or lower paid roles. Though it might be tempting to quit an unsatisfying job, there are several reasons to pause before submitting a resignation. One of the crucial reasons would be having higher self-confidence or having a better bargaining position as a job seeker if you are presently employed elsewhere.

* Exploring Opportunities: A gap in the resume does not look good, but trying to cover it up makes it worse. Align your social and professional networks with your resume as recruiters often check your digital footprint. Ensure your resume is created as per the trending format and is updated. Face the interview with the right attitude. Have a legit reason explaining your decision to go on a sabbatical and rejoining the work now.

(Arshan Vakil is Founder and CEO, Kings Learning; Neha Bagaria is Founder and CEO, JobsForHer. The views expressed are personal)