Getting back to work in IT after a career break

I am a software engineer with 6 years of experience (SAP Consultant)  in India. After marriage I had to relocate to UK and take a career break to care for a family member. Then, my pregnancy followed. So its been 3.5 years now. I am totally depressed sitting at home. I am very career-oriented and never expected this kind of break in my life. I have been trying to apply for jobs now and I am facing rejections. One more reason could be my visa – I am on a tier 2 dependent visa. I am very competent and ready to learn anything new. Is it possible to work back in IT with this huge break? If yes, then how to prepare myself to get a job ? If not, then which sectors/exams/certifications should I focus to get jobs ? I am really confused and I have been learning a lot of new technologies. I am learning Data science, selenium testing etc.

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I can hear your frustration in your email. Being at home full time in a caring role for children and family members is not for everyone and it is clear that you are not feeling fulfilled from this and need to return to your career.

Coming back to the workplace after a career break can seem daunting. You may have lost confidence in your ability to perform in your professional sphere, feel that your knowledge is out of date or worry about how you are going to marry together the two identities when you do succeed in getting a job.

You say you are getting rejections for your job applications and I wonder whether you are getting to interview or not getting any response to your application. If you are not getting to interview it would be worth getting someone to review your application or CV to check that you are marketing yourself as well as you can. So often people have the required experience for the job but do not get to interview or if they do they don’t get the job because they are unaware of what an employer is looking for in their application.

Have a look at the advice on the Open University careers website about applying for jobs. You can also contact the National Careers Service to arrange an individual consultation in your area to get your application reviewed.

You have been trying to learn new technologies to ensure you are up to date in your knowledge and in an ever changing environment like IT this is probably going to be necessary. The key here though is knowing which new technology is going to make a difference. One way of checking this out is to look at the person specifications for roles you are interested in and see if there is a gap in any of the competencies they are looking for. A good website to try is IT Jobs Watch.

I would also recommend that you use social networking sites like LinkedIn to extend your professional network in the UK. You can search the site for people in the UK working in this role and connect with them. Find out what Linked In groups people in this field are part of and join these to both extend your network and find out what the current issues in this field are today. I did a quick search of SAP consultants in the UK and found this profile of someone working as a SAP consultant in Birmingham. He has written a post you can read at the bottom of his page on why SAP certification is not enough to survive. Connecting with him and other people in this field could help you move forwards.

Lastly, I would suggest you get involved in some voluntary work in IT in your area. There are often small organisations or charities who are looking for people with IT experience for targeted projects but are unable to pay them. Getting experience in this way could meet a number of your immediate needs in terms of getting you out of the house to meet people, getting some experience of working in the UK and building your confidence. The website do-it.org is an excellent starting point for searching for opportunities in your area as you can conduct a search on your postcode, the distance you are prepared to travel and the kind of work you would like to get involved in.



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