The following blog was written by Kelly Olin, Certified Career Coach and Trainer. Read her bio after the post!
If you are planning to re-enter the workforce after a long-term gap in employment or voluntary leave to care for children or other family members, then you might find yourself overwhelmed with today’s environment. From the challenging economy, to the use of new technology such as social media, it can all feel overwhelming. But don’t worry! There are some tips and resources to help guide you through the process.
1) Care to Prepare:
Before pursuing your former career choice, consider other options. Ask yourself: did I really love what I was doing? Did I work with passion? Does my career choice fit with my lifestyle preferences today? If you can’t answer with a solid YES, then now is the perfect time to consider other options. If you don’t know where to start, career and personality assessments can help you un-biasedly identify the top career choices that fit your personality characteristics and professional strengths. More information on these assessments can be found on my site here.
2) Freshen Up:
Before you start applying for jobs, begin re-building your professional network and confidence by joining professional organizations, attending networking events and continuing education courses in your career field. Many colleges offer courses to update your skills, and community centers are also offering social media and technology courses to help catch you up. Use your social media networks to reach out to your former colleagues to see what they are up to. Take these relationships off line and invite them for coffee to reconnect. You never know where these conversations might lead! Because of your break in employment, you might not look as good on paper as you do in person. These personal relationships could be the key to getting you hired!
3) Take the On Ramp:
After staying at home for a prolonged period, transitioning to a 9-5 can be quite overwhelming. So don’t feel pressured to jump right back in full time! There are many other options for employment these days such as part time, temp work, work from home, flex time, job sharing, independent contracting and entrepreneurship. Consider which option works the best for you and seek companies that support these flexible options.
4) Be Confident:
Just because you have been out of the workplace does not mean you have to start from the bottom. As you write your resume and prepare for interviews, emphasize the transferable skills that you have gained over the years and can apply to this new position. And when it comes to salary, do your research. You deserve today’s market rate for the position you are applying for, not what you were paid before your absence. Today’s work deserves today’s pay! Glassdoor.com is a fantastic resource for information on salaries and employers.
5) Be Patient:
Finally, it is important to remember that today’s economy, although improving daily, is not the same workplace as it was 10 years ago. For that reason, it might take a little longer for you to find your ideal position. Don’t let this discourage you! Overcoming rejection, managing your emotions and perseverance are critical skills for success these days. You are valuable! Surround yourself with a support system that boosts your confidence and reminds you how truly fabulous you are. In time, you will find the right fit. Just keep on keeping on!
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