People re-enter the workforce every day and so can you! Are you ready to get started?
You might be tempted to dive head first into crafting or tweaking your resume, getting in touch with old colleagues or practicing how to explain the gap in your resume to an interviewer. But, first thing’s first—just like building a house, we have to lay a solid foundation before putting up walls, installing electrical wire and picking out a couch.
If you have been out of the workforce for a few years, it will take a month or two to establish a system that allows you to seek new employment most efficiently. So before getting started with strategies, tactics, tools, and techniques, it’s essential to adopt the right mindset.
Reestablishing yourself in the workforce will take hard work and will seem daunting at times. Take a moment to ask yourself if you are 100% committed to getting a new job. Find your bearings before getting started, so you can jump over hurdles with more agility and bounce back faster if you stumble.
You know yourself and your situation the best. Are you nervous and excited? Or ambivalent and indecisive? Be honest. Some job seekers hold onto negative emotions about the gap in their experience. Address these feelings and give yourself permission to shed any insecurities that get in the way of feeling confident about your prospects. As Dr. Seuss once said, “today you are you, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Our past experiences brought us to who and where we are today. Difficult experiences help form our character and develop some of our most wonderful qualities.
We cannot control the past, but we can transform it by accepting it, learning from it and having the will and the courage to move forward. Do whatever it takes to gain inspiration. Meditate, listen to music, watch motivational YouTube videos, create a vision board, whatever works for you. When you’re ready to own the journey, then you can start the process of rebooting your life and your resume.
After assuring that you are committed to the process, it’s time to define a direction. Close your eyes and imagine your ideal work-life. Do you want to go back to a past field, or transition to something new? What transferable skills have you developed since you have been out of the workforce? How much flexibility do you need?
As a job seeker, we have to represent a skill set that employers need. We have to explore which organizations are seeking the core proficiencies we have or hope to develop. One way to think about the process is to imagine yourself putting on a lab coat, grabbing a clipboard and digging into research.
Seek advice from a trusted mentor or get professional help by working with a coach to help you narrow down positions that combine things you’re good at, things you enjoy, and things that an organization will pay you to do.
Consider the relevant experience you need to be qualified for those roles and investigate how you can gain the knowledge or training that you’re lacking. This process involves patience, acting as a keen observer, and making adjustments based on your findings. When you treat your career search like an iterative process, you take failure off the table as you’ll only continue to evolve and grow.
Connecting, communicating and interacting with your network is a massive part of re-entering the workforce. Tell your family and friends about your intentions and ask them to support you. To your surprise, you may find that someone you know has gone through a similar process and can provide excellent guidance and tips.
Furthermore, brainstorm what duties you currently take care of that will need someone else’s attention when your schedule changes. Consider things like setting up childcare or finding someone to help with an aging parent. To round out your support system, communicating with other job seekers is a great way to gain insights, motivation, feedback, and accountability.
Once you have your mind right and you’re ready to move on to the nuts and bolts, start setting specific time-bound goals related to the different elements of job search strategy. These include:
- Exploring your career path and evaluating your strengths and weaknesses
- Updating relevant experience and researching what your skillset is “worth” in the marketplace
- Getting your presentation materials ready by writing or editing your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile
- Assessing if your wardrobe is work-ready
- Networking and applying online
- Interview preparation
- How to follow up, get feedback, evaluate and modify your process
I would love to hear from you and I am here to help!
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