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Managing Successful Career Transitions

Pushpa Baskaran

(This article is sponsored by Masala Art)

IIT-AGNE (indian Institutes of Technology Association of Greater New England - http://www.iitagne.org/) organized a workshop on "Managing Successful Career Transitions" on 9-Nov-2016 at Tufts University.  It was attended by 35+ people.  Though this workshop was women focussed, men also participated.

The event started with networking.  One could tell it was going to be a lively event already.  There was contained excitement and anticipation among the participants as they introduced themselves to each other and started exchanging business cards even before the workshop started !

Mondira (Mandy) Pant, a core member of IIT-AGNE, opened the workshop by introducing herself.  She said that there was a conscious effort to encourage women in technology as an outcome of the Aug 2016 PAN-IIT conference and this workshop was the first of such events.   She asked all the participants to introduce themselves and what they wished to get out of this workshop.  The attendees were a mix of young and experienced, long running veterans in the same field vs those that have already switched careers multiple times, folks that are re-entering work force after a break, folks that were thinking about switching careers, and college students looking to start a career.

Ranjani Saigal - another powerhouse of a woman, also an IIT Alumni - introduced the speaker Anjali Sidhu.  Mrs Sidhu is a results-oriented Talent Acquisition specialist working at a leading consulting company, while raising two kids with her husband. She started a company in India before moving to USA and has several years of progressive experience in the Information Technology industry. She shared her personal story with passion and drew a vivid picture of the career transitions she had successfully made.  She encouraged folks looking for a career change to recognize their own strengths, passion, interests and do a market study to determine what kind of job will make them happy along with the type of company they see themselves fit in.  She emphasized being honest, passionate and showing eagerness to new experiences.  She gave several tips about writing resume with a "career summary", showcasing and quantifying accomplishments and certifications, using keywords to make the resume standout, using soft skills in interview, negotiation, etc., She encouraged using tools such as LinkedIn to build powerful resume along with gathering recommendations from peers and associates.  Promoting yourself on job boards, building personal and professional network, gathering experience in a new field by volunteering are some techniques that she shared with the participants.  The five steps she outlined are - (1) Discover yourself, (2) Study the job market, (3) Make a decision on where you want to work, (4) Build your profile, (5) Promote yourself and land your dream job.

Mrs Sidhu's presentation was followed by animated and engaging question and answer session facilitated by Ranjani Saigal.  It was a huge learning experience to just be in that room listening - the knowledge and information shared by the presenter and the attendees was invaluable.  Several tips, techniques, hints were shared freely. We could see the participants becoming friends, sharing business cards and setting up follow-up meeting among themselves.  

This was an enjoyable, learning workshop that connected me to smart, hard working, accomplished people in the New England area.  Everyone thanked IIT-AGNE for organizing such wonderful event and expressed interest in similar future events.

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