Thursday, December 01, 2016

Mentoring Women on a Career break

I was lucky to be drafted at the eleventh hour to be a Mentor -at an event, that was the Hyderabad leg in the launch of a pan-India Group Mentoring program for women who are looking to restart their careers after taking breaks for marriage/motherhood/elderly-career, etc.
I have known Neha Bagaria, the Founder of Jobsforher & been following their interesting initiatives over the past year and a half, and am glad the movement has been beginning to get lapped up by the industry. Some of their success stories are chronicled here!
Yesterday, they had some stalwarts of the corporate world -who were willing to share their experience and wisdom. Meenakshi DhingraSmita Nair JainSharada Rao and Tanay Kediyal, who was the only other male member in the venue.
There were about 15+ ladies who had made it convenient to participate, and I am sure they would have benefitted from the opportunity to get a 1-on-1 with the senior professionals and get some insights on the opportunities in the specific domain/company and some tips to find themselves closer to their dream job
Here are my thoughts:
-I loved the energies. All the mentees had the luxury of picking the Mentor they wanted, And in turn, as a Mentor shared " had a great time today as well and definitely want to help".
-It was ironical that almost all the ladies seemed low on confidence, almost at the end of their wits. And that despite being well qualified, had stints in the industry, in India and some even abroad, and post a sabbatical! It was admirable that they had shed their inhibition and made it to the event, keen to explore how they could catch the attention of those who mattered. The senior professionals from companies like Cognizant, Google, Sears, & Wells Fargo!
As a recruiter -I let each aspirant know, that just as anxious as they were, in finding a good break, a lot of hiring managers spend sleepless nights hoping to find a talented colleague too. And rather than being defensive about the tenure/break, they ought to be focussed on being able to connect to the right decision makers, showcase their strengths, and validate their interests with testimonials of being abreast with the latest.
I parrotted that
- it wasn't always the best who got the best jobs, but often the right person at the right time- emphasising the need to be found by those looking to fill in positions.
-By being visible on social media (completed Linkedin profiles, participating in online meet-ups / groups of interest), they would do well increasing their credibility with physical networking with industry.
-Perhaps they needed to get back into the groove, by taking on projects/roles, rather than waiting for the dream job on a platter the first time. Instead consider SMEs and Startups who value their impact, and not merely apply for large MNCs-that may have a lot of systems already in place..& may tend to be bureaucratic in appreciating the value one brings.
-And yes, by tailor making a resume/CV for the specific opportunity by highlighting their accomplishments for the role in question.
Takeaways for Corporate recruiters?
-Access to experienced & committed talent pool, hungry to make a difference
-Reflect on the quality of the candidature, and the 'years on the job'.
-Time to consider flexible options -interns, part time or virtual jobs for mature professionals than eager freshers who are'nt yet sure of what they wish to do.
-And yes, those who can join at short notice, with negligible notice period.
Shout to all those reading this, there are events -happening at the major cities in India, with some topnotch women professionals from leading corporates,(Whos Who?) willing to be at Gurgaon (Dec 1st).Mumbai (Dec 2nd), Pune (Dec3rd) and Bangalore (Dec 6th)
And for the rest, bookmark the events page- that have webinars, and offline meetings offering career counselling, resume writing, and among other things -entrepreneurship!
PS. I would not be doing justice if I didn't mention the hospitality of Fusion9 ( awesome snacks!) -being just round the corner, that perhaps was the trigger to make it at gunpoint notice. Do pick up the e-book " The Way Back to the Way forward- Restarter journeys"

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