Job searching can be difficult for anyone, but it can be particularly challenging for someone who has taken a career break. Whether you took time off to raise children, go back to school, or simply recharge, picking up where you left off can feel very overwhelming.
The key to getting started? Confidence.
When jumping back into the workforce, it’s natural for feelings of self-doubt to set in. You might even wonder if you’ve made the right decision. But, don’t worry. You can do it!
To help you build your confidence, here are five steps to take when preparing to re-enter the workforce:
Know what you want to do: If you have been out of the game for a while, it’s important to do some market research. Roles, responsibilities, and company offerings are constantly evolving, so spend some time getting yourself up to speed on the latest trends. To help you identify the types of opportunities you’d be most interested in, here are some questions to consider in your research:
- Do I want to go back to the same industry or break into a different one?
- Is it important to land a job at my previous level or am I okay with taking a step back?
- Do I need a flexible schedule?
Brush up on your skills: A lot can change in a few years. As a result, you might be a bit disconnected from the latest developments in your field. To catch up, consider taking some classes or webinars, perusing industry-specific blogs and articles, and/or attaining a relevant certification. Taking the initiative to keep your skills current will not only help you get acclimated into your new role faster, but can also show potential employers that you are dedicated to learning.
Update your resume: When it comes to updating your resume, try to think beyond traditional work experience. For example, any relevant projects, volunteer experience, or continuing education classes are all valid ways to show how you’ve kept busy during your sabbatical from the workforce.
Network: Networking is an important strategy for any job search, but it can be especially helpful when jumping back into the workforce. In addition to forging new connections on LinkedIn and at relevant events, tap into your existing network of former colleagues, friends, and family.
Be open to temporary work: Taking on a temporary job or freelance gig is a great way to ease your way back into the workforce. Due to the short-term nature of these roles, you can make a change if your assignment isn’t right for you, and you can find opportunities that allow you to diversify your experience, expose yourself to different management styles, and gain new skills.