People leave the workforce for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you are a mom who wanted to spend more time raising your kids. Perhaps you were ill or took time off to care for an ill relative. Maybe you searched for a job for a long time, couldn’t find one and decided to take a break. Or perhaps you retired thinking you were financially secure only to find you miscalculated the amount of income you needed. Whatever the reason, coming back into the workforce and searching for a job can be intimidating and challenging.
Businesses definitely have a bias against those with gaps in their employment histories and skill needs can change quickly leaving those trying to reenter the workforce, at a distinct disadvantage. Here are some steps to take to ease the process and prepare you for getting back to work!
Clean up your online reputation: There is a thriving business for companies that provide online reputation management services and many of their clients are job seekers who need to insure that when their online reputations are clean. Because of security issues and potential threats to their brands companies today want to know intimately who they are hiring and this can mean reviewing what is said about them and what they are saying online. Online reputation management firms can clean up negative information about you online and prevent any new negative information from spreading.
Make Your Resume Work for You: Most resumes go through a person’s work history in chronological order and aim to show no gaps and increasing skill sets, responsibilities and accomplishments. When there is a time gap, it will invite questions. To get around this, prepare a resume based on your experiences and success rather than dates of employment. Highlight areas that will be key to a company like: your workplace successes, benchmarks exceeded, marketing and sales experience. This will focus the reader on your ability to get things done in a company environment which is very valuable to employers.
Be Prepared for a lot of Rejections: Companies say that they do not, but they will often look down upon those who have left the workforce for any reason other than the death of a close family member. When other reasons are present, the company thinks that that the person walked away from work and might do it again. This will mean that many companies will not give you a chance. Do not get discouraged by rejection, there is a job out there for you.
Be Prepared to Discuss Your Employment Gap: You should be prepared to be proactive in interviews about your employment gap. Maybe you used the time to gain a new skill or develop strengths that will be helpful to the new company. Perhaps you did freelance work in another country and learned about how to work differently with other cultures. In an international company with a diverse workforce this could be a highly regarded skill. Whatever the case, when given the chance to discuss your situation, be bold and own it.
Getting back into the workforce will not be easy, but it can be accomplished. Keep a positive attitude and follow these steps to get back to work.