Explore your opportunities with career coaching

Is it only possible to return to work after a long career break? If so, how to start a job search and explore opportunities?

Vera’s story

Vera is an energetic lawyer from Russia, happily married to a Malaysian, living in Kuala Lumpur. The past 10 years, she was on maternity break. As her kids grew older, she felt pressured to go back to work.

She was seeking professional help from a coach because they only recently moved to Malaysia, and she needed someone to help her navigate the local job market, to kick-start her job hunt.

Vera had a clear vision for herself. She saw herself holding a job where she can use both her creativity, organizational skills, and legal expertise.

From me, she expected support with her job search and applications (including CV and cover letter review) as well as preparation for the interviews.

As we moved forward in the conversation, it became clear that fear was holding her back.

On one hand, she was looking after her kids for many years as a stay at home mother and she did not know how she could deal with the extra responsibility of a full-time job on top of that. On the other hand, she was doubting her job market value because she hasn’t been working for such a long time.

Her real challenge was to find her inner confidence that she will be able to navigate life just fine as a working mother.

Her expectation was that if she can deal with the job hunt in a very disciplined and structured way, that is going to give her the confidence she needs to deal with the extra responsibilities that come with having a full-time job.

My job became very clear. First, to address Vera’s dis-empowering beliefs and replace them with more empowering ones, that support her to move towards her goal. Second, to develop a structure, daily habits that allow her to work in a systematic and planned manner.

To build up her confidence, I asked her to recall a time in her life when she was navigating a major change successfully. She told me the story of her move from Moscow to Barcelona with 2 little babies, and how she managed to turn the initial overwhelm around.

As she was recollecting her past successes and listing her strength and proven techniques, her voice changed, it became more definite and lively.

With the support of her newly gained confidence, we started to work on the job-hunt plan.
Vera quickly identified 2 areas she wanted to focus on:

  1. To have a more organized life, meaning, to give a better structure to her days to free up time every day for job search.
  2. To start applying for jobs in a systematic way, to break down the job market into smaller categories that are relevant for her to be able to plan, track and evaluate her to-dos.

To organize her life better I have introduced Vera a weekly planner that not only allows her to schedule her priorities better, but also helps her to prioritize.

With regards to the job search, I used the following approach: We chopped the job market into subcategories based on the industries she was interested in. For each category, she had to find the key players on the market, understand their human resource needs, think about how her expertise and skills could support them, see the available job offers, find the right contacts/recruiters and introduce herself to them.

Vera created a spreadsheet for each focus area to outline her action plan and track her progress.

A series of tracking sessions were set up to monitor Vera’s progress on a bi-weekly basis. We spent time to discuss what went well, and what needs more attention. We made slight modifications to Vera’s action plan as we got more insights.

Even though Vera faced rejections and experienced a few setbacks, her eagerness to act and progress grew exponentially. During or first 2 conversations she seemed down and hopeless. That state of mind has faded away as soon as she finished journaling her daily activities and realized how unproductive her days have been. With planning her month/weeks and having a clear schedule for her days she could accomplish more in less time. She also switched gears in execution. She blossomed and started to enjoy life more.

It took Vera less than 3 months to receive her first job offer. She celebrated her first anniversary at work in September.

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Gyongyi Andrea Grill
Gyongyi Andrea Grill

The Supply Chain Clinic is a coaching and consulting firm specializing in building supply chain resilience. We facilitate planning enhancement, processes optimization and people development in SMEs. We create a direct and measurable impact on companies' bottom line, resulting in lower costs, increased customer satisfaction and reduced ecological footprint.

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