I worked as a Software Engineer, Module Leader and then Project Manager at Tata Consultancy Services. I moved to the USA for my husband's job and the 1 year break turned into 7. After a pivotal conversation with my daughter, I decided it was time to return to the workforce.
I did a post graduation course in Data Science and Business Analytics in 2021. I got quite active on LinkedIn all year posting about my learning journey. I got in touch with my colleagues and mentees whom I had mentored before. They helped me, boosted my confidence. I also joined various data communities and received support from many people. One of my acquaintances with whom I had interacted 12 years back, followed me on LinkedIn for quite some time and reached out to me when I graduated and offered to refer me for this internship in the company he works for. I wanted to explore the data engineering side as well and I grabbed this opportunity to learn more about data pipeline, ETL (extract, transform, load) and everything around data.
My second innings started soon as I joined as a Data Engineer Intern at Cubic Corporation! I loved getting back to building, coding and problem solving. My curiosity to know more makes me go back to my laptop even after my work-hours. I still don't feel very confident, I keep second guessing myself and keep checking with my manager how I am doing. He is very supportive and happy with my work so far.
I was hoping to get into a senior role at the same company and was also recommended by my supervisor in March 2022. But as luck would have it, the organizational structure changed and this turned into a never-ending process.
In May 2022, I was in denial that I would have to start my search again.
In the first week of June, I updated my resume and started preparing for interviews, still hoping something would turn out in the organization I was working for.
In the last week of June, I started applying for jobs on Linked in and also submitted my resume on Indeed, Dice, and Glassdoor.
I got many rejections and calls from consultancy companies who were offering contract positions and were diminishing my 10 years of IT experience and 8 months of data engineering experience (intern), and my various certifications as a data engineer. They were offering the lowest possible hourly rate for data engineers, and some were asking me to manipulate my break, or not call out my break.
I was very sure of one thing: I am not going to manipulate my break and only join at an entry level, the compensation I deserve and the job has to have immense learning and growing opportunities.
I came up with plan B. I signed up for a LinkedIn Premium account on June 26, 2022 so that I could reach more recruiters. I posted for 56 days continuously on LinkedIn to increase my visibility. I posted about what I knew about data engineering, and what I was learning, my life experiences and my relaunch journey. I started getting messages from at least 5 recruiters every day, some for full-time and some for contract positions. This put me directly into the assessment and interview stages. I was very upfront about my break and my salary expectation.
By the 1st week of August 2022, I had 2 offers, and the company which I was working as an intern for also wanted me to join them. So three offers in all. Finally, I joined a company that respected my break and gave me the compensation, and the job title I wanted, and the role has tremendous learning opportunities.
Lesson learned: Respect your gap, your experience, and the skills you bring to the table, keep upskilling, and stay visible on LinkedIn! LinkedIn helped me get my internship and this new job. Put your foot down, nobody is going to do it for you, you are your own advocate.!!!
We caught up with Yogita to dive a little deeper into her relaunch story and the advice she has for other relaunchers...
How did you approach relaunching your career in a new country?
Restarting a career in a new country where you don’t know anyone professionally is difficult. I started my relaunch journey in a career that none of my friends, family, or colleagues are into. So LinkedIn was the only way to connect with people professionally and learn more about the Data Science and Engineering field. I followed many people silently to understand how I could leverage this platform and be part of the data community.
➡️ My first step was to post on LinkedIn and share what I was learning. Because the best way to build a relationship with your connections is by providing value first – which you can do with your content.
➡️ Last year when I started on LinkedIn I was only connected to 200 people who were my colleagues, college friends, and some of my clients. All of my connections were from India.
➡️ Posting on LinkedIn got me connected to various communities, people all over the world who are now my support system, my cheering team, and my listening ears when I just need to talk to someone or discuss ideas. We share the same passion for learning and we encourage each other at every step.
➡️ LinkedIn is a perfect platform to showcase what you have been learning and help others. Sharing what you learn not only helps others but also helps you to revisit what you have learned, increases your confidence in your skills, and helps you to reflect on your accomplishments.
➡️ Last but not least, posting and building connections on LinkedIn, got me the internship at Cubic Corporation. A former acquaintance reached out to me about an opening in his company after witnessing my learning journey through many of my LinkedIn posts. Now, he is one of my mentors and a good friend.
➡️ Posting on Linked in led me to my mentor Thom, and many other friends like Hitesh, Ugochukwu, Neema, and Elena. I love to interact, share ideas, and seek advice.
I participated in #LinkedInhardmode for all the reasons above and to get back into a habit of constantly posting, building relationships with like-minded people, adding some value to the data community, helping people who are restarting or transitioning careers, and last but not least there are not many women data engineers who are posting and I would like to encourage them to do so.
If you’re not posting content on LinkedIn, you are not leveraging all that the platform has to offer. Whether you’re a job seeker, an entrepreneur, or just looking to build your personal brand, you have to post.