By Dawn Rossetti, CPRW & Melissa Brodeur, CPRW, RelaunchCareerAssociates.com
Contemplating a return to work after a period of time off? Re-entering the workforce takes time, energy and tactical planning. Here are 10 tips we recommend to refine your road map back to success.
Consider your current circumstances. What sort of work arrangement will best suit your lifestyle or your income or benefit needs?
2. Get Focused
What is the job market like in your geographic area? Is your industry of interest hiring? If you feel paralyzed by choices, a career coach can get you on the right track.
3. Update Your Skills
If you've had a gap in employment, whether by choice or as a result of a long term layoff, you may need a skills refresher. Great, inexpensive resources include: local libraries, community colleges and adult learning centers. It may even be a good time to enroll in school and start completely fresh. Take advantage of campus career centers and advisors to help you on your journey.
This can provide diverse, up-to-date experience that can be included on your resume. Non-profit organizations provide the opportunity to contribute in a variety of ways, expand your knowledge base and support a worthy cause.
5. Temporary Employment
Short-term assignments can help to close the gap with related (or unrelated) work and help you to build your resume and transferrable skills. Communicate with the placement agency and let them know you are looking for a permanent arrangement. Even if it does not turn into a long-term position you are still building valuable contacts and references.
6. Develop Your Confidence
If you can't promote yourself, who can? Once you have defined your re-launch strategy, determined your goals and began updating your skill set, you have to be comfortable telling people that you're looking for work.
7. Build a Professional Network
If you've not maintained contact with past colleagues, reach out to them and begin to build new relationships with people from your chosen industry. Connect with people who know you, are familiar with your abilities and will speak positively about you. Studies show that most people are likely to get a job through someone they know.
8. Take Your Networking to the Next Level
Use social media to your advantage - open a free LinkedIn account. You can build a professional profile, join groups in your industry and connect with former colleagues. Join a professional association in your field and you'll not only get back up-to-date with your industry's standards, you'll have crucial conversations about professional issues.
9. Be Prepared to Address Gaps
On your résumé, consider using a skills-based format that draws attention to your abilities, rather than your employment timeline. Calculate how you will answer questions in an interview. Remember to focus on the positive and promote the many ways you have stayed current and are prepared for new challenges.
10. Informational Interviewing
As you build your network, one way to gather additional information is to request an informational interview. This provides a platform to learn more about your job of choice and what skills and qualifications hiring managers are seeking.
Remember, you can't expect to pick up where you left off, but you can be prepared to rebuild your skill set and reputation.
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Dawn Rossetti and Melissa Brodeur are certified resume writers and co-founders of Relaunch Career Associates. Melissa and Dawn previously traveled separate career paths but their shared vision and commitment to helping others realize their professional goals inspired them to form a partnership. To learn more about their services, please go to RelaunchCareerAssociates.com.