Are you on a career break? On National Education Day, here’s how to use your academic degrees to get back to work

On National Education Day, Vanshika Goenka the founder of Kool Kanya, an online career community for women offers some tips on how to use your academic qualifications to get back to work, upskill and get ahead
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Sometimes people need to take a step back from the world of work for several reasons such as continued education, personal responsibilities, break from stressed environments, maternity leave (if they are women) and many other reasons. Regardless of these career breaks being planned or unplanned, returning to work after a long break can be a daunting task.

National Education Day is celebrated on November 11 to commemorate the birth anniversary of independent India's first education minister, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

As National Education Day rolls around, it would be a good time to consider restarting your career and using your academic qualifications to the fullest. And though people worry about the challenges of getting back to work, like a lack of opportunities, low salaries and the notion that employees with career gaps are not desirable, it is a known fact that you can get ahead with the right tools and knowledge.

Here are some ways by which people returning to work can ensure that they still have an edge over their competing candidates….

Assess your work requirements

The right research will reap benefits

Rather than laying all your bets on job listing portals, where you are likely to be passed over due to your career break, first, do the tough job of assessing your current requirements, and craft a job search strategy accordingly.

Based on that, target the right companies and people. For example, flexibility might be a big criterion for you now. Do some research to find out which companies offer flexibility to their employees, and try to find employees who work there and reach out to them.

Catch-up with the industry

Connect with peers and friends

Long-breaks can present a major disconnect between the ongoing developments within the sector and your knowledge about the industry and your workplace. The second most essential step after assessing your work is to learn everything about the industry to catch-up on all the developments. In order to do this, apart from the obvious step of reading up, identify the thought leaders in the industry and follow them on social media.

Reconnect and begin networking

Network to make the best connections

People are said to be the most essential component of every job. Being a part of a network allows you to educate yourself about all the happenings within the industry. While catching up with the industry it is essential that you also use social channels and contacts to connect with relevant people who work and operate within your choice of work industry. These connections can further help you to be introduced to their companies and earn you a referral.

Increase the weightage of your skillset

You may need to upskill or re-skill for a new role

After you’ve built some rapport, and your research is done, it would be best to create or enhance your skill set. This becomes an important asset for you to show in your resume that could possibly create a positive impression about your candidature. Enhancing your skill set could also portray the fact that you have been making use of your break to be better prepared to return to work. This can be done by taking extra courses, upskilling, learning all about new software and studying more about the industry that you plan to join.

Brush up the interview toolset

Now that you have understood the bare essentials the next task is to brush up that resume. The most challenging part is writing about the gap in your career.

The best way to approach this topic is to be upfront and honest about it. Put it down in the cover letter and also discuss it openly in your interview. Also, learn about skills that would be relevant and essential for you to present in the resume. Be prepared with knowledge and news that would help you to make an impression on your recruiter. 

Now that the basics are covered it is now time to understand what the next steps should be.

Use the network

Online interviews are the norm nowadays

After you do some research on your area of expertise, reach out to the connections you make and former colleagues and friends to inform them that you are looking to return to work. Learn from them about the developed work sector and seek knowledge. Any leads and intelligence from within your network would help you to connect with people who are likely to be more understanding of your situation.

The final step to take is not to be stressed and approach each and every situation calmly and patiently. Once you get a response, present yourself and your skills efficiently. However, remember not being discouraged if things don’t work out the way you want them to. Getting back to a job during this pandemic can seem to be a challenging task. Perseverance, focus and hard work will help you through this period.

Edited by Asha Chowdary

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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