Whether you’ve taken 10 years off from the professional world to raise your children, been recovering from an injury or caring for a sick family member for a few years, it can be intimidating trying to get back into the job market after a significant absence.
Before you get too deep in the job search, assess your motivations for returning to work. Do you just want to work part time and make a little extra money for the family or do you want to get back into the career you went to school for? Knowing what you’re looking for can guide the rest of your search.
If you’ve been out of the working world for a while it’s important to get advice from friends and family about current trends in finding and applying for jobs as well as types of interviews.
Resume and cover letter trends change pretty quickly so do some research on current resume styles and look for examples to see how your resume compares. Remember to add any activities you’ve been involved with during your time off that could be relevant to the job you’re applying for. Organizing a bi-annual charity event or running your child’s Parent Teacher’s Association is still experience.
If you haven’t been involved in any activities related to your field, start looking for ways to reconnect. Take on freelance or contract work to start brushing up on your skills and making contacts, or start volunteering once a week to freshen up. This will make the transition to full time work easier.
Your first order of business once you decide to get back into the job market should be to contact previous colleagues. This is a great way to learn about new developments in the field and see if they have any ideas of where you should begin your job search.
You may not realize the huge impact social media has made during recent years. If you’re not online, start creating a profile and connect to companies and forums in your field. You can even start a blog related to the field to connect to others.
If you’re just getting back into work after a long absence, you may need to start out small before jumping into a full time position. Be willing to take on part time gigs or look for new avenues for your job search if you’ve acquired new skills and interests during your break.
If your field has new requirements you don’t have, try brushing up on your skills or enrolling in a class to update your knowledge and prepare you to re-enter the labor force.
If you haven’t interviewed in a while it’s important to practice before you give it a go. Remember that it’s helpful during an interview to account for where you were during a long absence but you don’t need to apologize to employers for taking a break or explain your actions. Have confidence in your abilities and decisions and stay positive.
Job searching isn’t easy for anyone these days, especially if your work experience isn’t current. Be patient with the process and keep talking to different people and applying where you can.
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