I resigned from my job as an IT senior consultant in November 2004 with the intention of taking a six month break before looking for another job.
I didn't realise that it would take me so long to find another - after all I had more than 20 years experience in IT development. I spent months applying for jobs relevant to my experience only to face rejection at CV submission or first interview. I even tried jobs which required very little experience in IT but to no avail.
Last month I reached was a very low point in my confidence and was ready to accept early retirement with a feeling that my experience was being wasted. That was when I read in Computer Weekly that Equalitec and BCS were holding a career workshop for women and decided to attended. It was one of the best decisions I made.
The first workshop was not only inspiring and confidence boosting but made me realise that a lot of other women were in a similar position to myself and that there were organisations out there who were willing to employ me such as the BBC and Google and that my career break should not be an obstacle.
It also showed me that even if I did not find a job immediately, organisations such as the Equalitec and Daphne Jackson Trust were ready to sponsor me to retrain and update my skills.
That evening I came home really energised and with restored confidence. Next day I decided to put into practice some of the lessons learnt in the workshop about the importance of networking. I managed to get an interview within a few days and a week later a job as a senior consultant in an IT consultancy!
Networking is important
I found the job via a contact. I had tried using other contacts before but I believe this time round I went into the interview with a more positive and enthusiastic attitude. I believe that is what helped me to get the job.
I have a very cynical attitude towards recruitment agents, and especially their views people over 50 and those who have taken a career break, hence the importance of keeping up to date with one's networks and contacts and joining informal networks to help in job searches.
I think it is really important that organisations such as Equalitec and BCS Women play a vital role in getting women back to productive IT jobs. I do believe forums like these workshops are really important in giving women a confidence boost, especially to those women who have been out of work for a while and feeling isolated at home. I for one was glad I came to one.
This lady attended the first of two BCS-Equalitec workshop pilots. The second was on opportunities in healthcare.
They formed part of Equalitec's and BCS Womens Forum's remit to increase the number of women in IT, electronics and communications jobs.
BCS and Equalitec are reviewing feedback from the pilot workshops to decide on the format for future similar events.