Cable Operators

Career Coach: Self-Belief Is Essential

3/12/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

When women who have stepped
away from careers determine that it’s time
to get back in the corporate saddle, they are
often hamstrung by a lack of new skill sets,
holes in their resumes and a general dearth
of self-confidence, Nancy Collamer, a career
coach and host of, said.

However, off-ramping doesn’t have to
be viewed as a deterrent to returning to the
workforce, Collamer said. Indeed, taking time
off can be an advantage if the time is used to
update skill sets or learn new skills that might
not be undertaken when a worker is continuously

“I tell moms to update their skill sets, particularly
technical skills,” Collamer said.
“Technological advancements are measured
like dog years: one year of tech is like
seven years of something else. The pace of
change is enormous, so learning as much
as you can before
you start
your job search
is a good idea.”

The moribund
economy can be
a double-edged
sword for women
— and men
for that matter —
because when
someone takes
time out from
their career,
there’s a good
chance that they
will not command
the same
salary as someone
who has
been employed continuously, Collamer said.

“Employers may feel justified in offering
a lower salary to someone who is returning
to the workplace after taking time off,”
she said. “And that can favor women coming
back into the workforce if a company is
trying to save as much money as possible.
Lower salaries are great but it’s a reality.”

Off- and on-ramp policies are becoming
more prevalent, but they aren’t designed for
workers who have left their jobs and want
to jump back into the worker pool unless
they want to go back to their old employer
and studies have shown that the majority of
women reentering the workforce go to other
companies for employment.

Here is the No. 1 piece of advice Collamer,
a former Oxygen Media columnist,
would offer to women wanting to on-ramp
their careers: “One of the biggest things
that stop people from successfully reentering
the workforce is that they doubt their
abilities. You have to believe in yourself before
you can expect others to do so.”


1. Clear your calendar: Ideally, plan to spend at least 15 hours each
week on job-hunting activities connected with your back-to-work search.

2. Reformat that resume: Resumes formatted in the traditional reverse
chronological style can cause problems for women who have not
worked for an extended period of time. Try a “hybrid” or “combination”
format that blends a chronological resume with a functional resume.

3. Enlist a success team: Consider enlisting colleagues and former
clients for guidance and advice in looking for a new job and/or career.

4. Dress for success: When interviewing, a good rule of thumb is to
dress for the job you aspire to, not just the job you are interviewing
for. And tune into the vibe of the office. If everyone in the office wears
jeans, opt for a pantsuit or wear tailored pants and a cardigan set.

5. Be proud of your decision to stay home with your children:
Remain upbeat about the decision to step off the corporate grid.
Use phrases like “I elected” or “I chose” to emphasize decision was
planned and deliberate.

SOURCE : Nancy Collamer, job and career coach

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