The MentorForHer program was held in Bangalore to help women who have taken career breaks and also to put them in touch with industry experts who could guide, mentor and build confidence in them to return to work.
It was attended by almost 50 participants and 11 mentors. Each participant got to spend time with at least four mentors. Mentors were industry experts from companies like Dell, MindTree, Capgemini and more.
“Women on a break should always remember that it is not because of the break that they are not getting jobs, it is because there is too much supply."
Women who take career breaks often feel disconnected from the working world and they feel low in confidence and positive energy. Meeting someone face to face and talking about their feelings and their doubts gives them a boost in confidence. Most women who attended the workshop had the same concern. After they took a career break, they had applied to companies but didn't get responses. Neeraja Ganesh, Technical Director from Capgemini responded to this by saying that, “Women on a break should always remember that it is not because of the break that they are not getting jobs, it is because there is too much supply. Your CV needs to stand out when you apply for a job or it just lands up in a pile no one looks at. You need to catch someone’s eye for your CV to go to the next stage”
Other concerns the attendees had were about cover letters, CV writing, networking and taking courses. Natasha Shirazi, Consultant for Sales Operations at Dell told the mentees that they need to be social media savvy and start making new connections online,
“You need to be aware of social media and how it can be used as a tool to network. Nowadays people connect through LinkedIn for a professional network, so having an updated profile and connecting with people is a must”
Confidence was the key word to the seminar. Most women felt like they needed someone to boost their confidence and that is what the mentors did. Sunie Paul, Technical Director, MindTree Limited told the mentees, “You have to brush up on your skills because you have been on a break. The moment you are an expert, people will hire you. The career break doesn’t really matter as long as you go into an interview with confidence about yourself and your skills”
“The event helped me understand how things have changed since I last worked, and what is going on in the real world. When you are at home, you’re out of touch with that."
Most of the women who attended the workshop felt like they learnt a lot from all the mentors as they got different perspective from each mentor. Kanika Vyas, an attendee at the event told us, “The event helped me understand how things have changed since I last worked, and what is going on in the real world. When you are at home, you’re out of touch with that. Bringing like-minded people in a common place is great as it gave me the confidence to ask questions”
Another attendee, Plabini Kumari said, “It gets difficult to return back to work after taking such a long break to be a mother. When we are returning back, we need to think in a different direction. This event has given us the support and confidence to go out and get a job. It is different when you talk to someone face to face about your concerns rather than online”
The event went on for about two hours, where the women got a chance to talk and interact with each other as well as the mentors. The mentors also understood different perspectives from different women and guided them according to each individuals needs. The event was held at the Prep School so that while the mothers attended the group sessions, the kids could play in the play area.
SheThePeople is a partner to the JobsForHer effort