If you haven’t held down a traditional job for some time, reentering the workforce can be daunting. Even skilled, experienced workers may wonder if they will be able to secure good positions if they have large gaps in their employment or aging skill sets. What can you do to avoid these problems? Here are a few tips you can use right away.
1. Focus on Qualifications
Most resume writers immediately put their job experience into a chronological order for their resumes. But this only serves to highlight any gaps in your employment history. Instead, structure your resume to draw attention to what you bring to the table. You might categorize accomplishments under various skill sets or experiences, such as Office Experience or Team Projects, and then include a variety of examples of each.
2. Work With a Professional
Seek out a trained professional within the employment industry who can help get your resume, skills, and interview techniques updated. Many services, including temporary placement agencies, are experienced in helping people get back into the job market.
Ask for tips such as how interviews have changed and what to expect or how to address questions about your employment gap. If the service provides free or low-cost classes related to your field, use these to update or refresh what you know. And consider taking on temporary assignments to help get acclimated to today’s work environments.
3. Include Non-Paid Work
Have you spent your non-employed time working on other projects? Most people involve themselves in a variety of resume-worthy activities that can demonstrate your skill, temperament, and work ethic. The challenge is seeing these projects as part of your job experience.
Not sure how to frame your volunteer efforts? Consider a parent who coached their child’s sports team. They have learned to work with others, to handle high-stress environments, and to solve problems. Volunteered for a community group? You might have learned to manage cash at fundraisers, to prepare or work with a budget, to work in a team environment, or to speak in public.
4. Differentiate Your Past and Present
If you left the workforce due to a specific set of circumstances, make a clear distinction as to how that was in the past. If you left to raise young children, for instance, follow up with the fact that the situation is now different and your kids no longer need you at home with them. Because you found fulfillment in your career, your goal now to is to return with all you now have to offer.
Acknowledging the change in your goals and circumstances helps draw a line under your departure and refocus on how you can now help the company interviewing you. You might even briefly express how your journey makes you a better candidate. If you stopped working to help your spouse build their business, for example, point out how much (and how varied) business experience you are returning with.
5. Be More Flexible
Things probably will be different now than when you were in the workforce consistently. So you may need to think more creatively about what you’re willing to do and interested in doing for work. You might need to take a lower position than you’d like or accept temporary work for a while. Maybe you can get into the industry you want but not quite the field you desire.
Flexibility in various aspects of your return helps you find a great company to work for or to gain experience in a new field. Remember that nothing needs to be permanent, but getting an in gives you a boost of confidence and shores up your resume for future endeavors.
Want more help easing back into the job market? Start by consulting the employment pros at Tulsa’s Green Country Staffing. We work with job seekers of all types and backgrounds to find you the best position no matter what challenges you face. Call today to make an appointment.