Re-entering the job force after a break in your career can be a little overwhelming. Crazy thoughts may race through your mind. Where do I begin? What if there are no jobs? What if there are jobs but no one will hire me?
Yes, looking for employment is always unnerving. But, with a little planning and calm thinking, you can make job re-entry a positive turning point in your life. Here, then, are a few steps you might consider while making the move to re-enter the job market:
1. Recognize all your options. Don’t be limited by the work you were doing in the past. Make sure your previous work was something which really made you happy, not just a way to earn a living. It can be dissatisfying to get a job, be there a few months, and then realize it’s no longer something you want to do. Consider all your options, because, yes, you do have options. Make sure that resuming your previous career is the right path before heading back in that direction. Accepting temporary or freelance work would be a good way to experiment with new fields and opportunities. Many temp agencies these days are offering more benefits, such as health insurance and vacation pay, which makes the experimenting a lot easier on your budget.
2. Be realistic. If you choose to go back into your previous career, be mindful that significant changes may have occurred in your career, making it impossible for to step back into the same position. You might have to actually take a step back on the career ladder. For example, people who were once mid-managers may now need to consider entry-level positions until you gain the necessary skills.
3. Brush up on your skills. If you’ve become “outdated,” do whatever is necessary to become marketable again (especially in highly technical fields). Luckily there are enormous educational opportunities out there which will help you become marketable once again. Many community colleges, while offering A.A. degrees, also offer certificate programs in many different fields. There are also many different colleges or institutions which offer online courses, which you can take at your own convenience. Check with the local unemployment office to see what classes they may offer. Volunteer work is also a way to gain some updated skills.
4. Be positive and enthusiastic. Yes, there are obstacles, but it’s important to focus on the advantages. People re-entering the workforce have experience, skills and knowledge that make them more desirable candidates than those entering the workforce for the first time.
5. Update your resume. Go through your resume to accentuate the positives. If you have access to career counseling, take your resume in for an expert’s opinion. Perhaps a career counselor can give you pointers about your resume.
6. Prepare for job interviews. Invest in a new suit or business clothes. If there are any classes on interviewing skills taught in your community, take them. A little preparation goes a long way in an interview.
7. Use connections. Let’s face it; sometimes it’s who you know. Often the best way to re-enter the workforce is to contact former bosses and colleagues, and use networking to find out where the opportunities are.
Re-entering the workforce can be a challenge, but it’s one that can be overcome. Having a plan and being prepared will help to make the re-entry a successful and rewarding experience.
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