21 Nov 2018 10:00:00 AM

Returning to the career ladder

Returning to work after a career break can be a daunting experience. But TalentCorp’s Career Comeback Coaching Programme gives women the help they need to make journey easier. 

In our last article, we shared about the Career Comeback Coaching Programme Recruiters’ Edition, a one-month mentoring and coaching programme for women who are keen on making a career comeback.

In this joint programme between Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp) and several Malaysian recruitment companies, participants were coached on a number of things such as personal branding, how to manage job interviews to speaking confidently.

The mentees expressed their excitement about making a career comeback and being selected for the mentoring and coaching programme. 

“I was working at a local oil and gas company as a Finance Manager,” said Nurul Amalina Abas, 42. “I took my career break in 2014 to have more time with my young children.

“I’ve been working all my life since leaving school. So, when I took a career break, I thought it was going to be easy. I had more time with my kids but a part of me still wants to come back to work. And having a qualification, an education, I didn’t want to leave it just like that. I did try some other things like managing the family business, but I think my career is more towards working as an accountant,” said the chartered accountant.


When I took a career break, I thought it was going to be easy. I had more time with my kids but a part of me still wants to come back to work.

Najihah Najwa Mohd. Saleh, 28, left the workforce two years ago to care for her baby. She  wanted to make a career comeback because she wanted to be a good role model for her children.

“After staying at home for some time, you tend to get overwhelmed with home matters. And I wanted to achieve something. That is why I want to return to the workforce – to support my family and my husband financially and show my kids that I can be a good role model for them,” she said.

For the mentees, gaining clarity of their career path and being able to secure and do well in a job interview was the main objective of participating in the mentoring and coaching programme.

For 46-year-old Zarina Md. Desa, who left her banking job to relocate to Bahrain with her husband in 2009, the challenge was to be able to decide on a job that is most suited to her.

“I have banking as well as education industry experience,” said Zarina. “I think I am open to any industry as long as I can get back into the workforce, although deep down, I think I want to go into banking. These are my challenges – I want this thing but I also want the other thing. That’s why I want the recruiters/mentors to help me with this – to have a fixed objective so that I can move forward with my choice.”

Janice Wong, a 30-something marketer who left the workforce in 2013 to focus on her family, felt that her current problem is to secure an interview.

“Employers see the career gap years on my resume which I can’t hide. Although it was a four-year gap, you still need to explain to the employers why you are not working.

“My mentor told us to think of five topics that we need the most help with so that they can train and coach us. I am looking forward to that,” she said.

Following the month-long programme, participants went through an individual pitching session before graduating from the programme. This was followed by suitable placements in various companies and organisations. Both mentors and mentees were confident of a positive outcome upon completion of the programme.

“After being home for two years, my confidence in presenting myself has been a challenge. So, I am hoping that this programme will boost my confidence to get back into the workforce,” said Najihah.


“It’s a new thing, this career comeback. People don’t normally talk about those going back to work, they only talk about fresh graduates. It’s a competition, definitely, but I think it’s going to be an opportunity,” said Nurul Amalina.

The mentors unanimously agreed that employers should seriously consider taking in career comeback women as these women had a wealth of skills and experience to offer.

“To my surprise, most of these women are highly-capable corporate women and this programme will help them create more avenues to secure a job. As long as they personally have the desire to return to corporate, they just need to catch up on the market changes that has happened during their ‘break’ and they will be back in action to create value to the workforce,” said CareerXcell’s Director of Business Development, Grace Marippan.

“Being a career comeback woman myself, as I was out of the corporate world for six years, I truly believe that it is possible to make a comeback and contribute to any companies who are fortunate to hire them. These women are usually back being more focused than before, and they are aware of their priorities at the workplace. They are determined to deliver their best and they are already equipped with a mature mentality to handle the challenges,” said Ee Leen Gui, Senior Consultant at Hydrogen Group..


Employers see the career gap years on my resume which I can’t hide. Although it was a four-year gap, you still need to explain to the employers why you are not working.

“I think it’s a matter of time. As we start to push this to our clients that there are these talents out there, I think we will be able to help these women get back into the workforce. Yes, everybody’s looking for fresh graduates but once companies and recruitment agencies are made aware about the career comeback segment, we will be able to bring light to the agenda and that’s where we can pick it up and be on par with these fresh grads,” said Amy Andrew, Consultant at Michael Page.

“Our overriding principle is not just to help these women do better but we are expecting to see trends so that they can, in turn, go and influence women outside our reach. We have an agent of change and this agent of change can go and spread the knowledge of employability,” said Lee Ha Nnah, Consulting Manager at Capita, a Persol Kelly company. 


The Career Comeback Coaching Programme Recruiters’ Edition was launched on 12th September 2018.Twelve participants were coached by five recruiters from Kelly Services Malaysia, Michael Page Malaysia, CareerXcell Sdn Bhd, Ambition Group and Hydrogen Group. This Coaching Programme is an extension of the Mini Career Comeback Fair Recruiters’ Edition held on 1 August 2018 at TalentCorp.


Find out how you can be a part of TalentCorp's Career Comeback Programme at our website