Does the idea of a job search have you nervous because you haven’t been in the workplace for a while? We get it . . . but we also know that with a few tips and techniques in your corner, the job search process may not be as difficult as it sounds.
There are a lot of reasons why people leave the workforce for months or even years. Family issues, medical problems, educational opportunities and other factors are perfectly legitimate reasons why talented workers might temporarily step away from their desk to focus their energy on other things.
The problem is that your industry didn’t come to a grinding halt the day you left the workforce. In fact, at this point many of your former coworkers and the industry itself may have progressed to the point that you feel like an outsider in your own field. So how are you supposed to suddenly jump back in the game and compete for available positions – in an extremely tight job market, no less?
It won’t be easy. But the key to re-entering the workforce after spending time on the sidelines is preparation. For you, the success or failure of your search won’t be determined as much by the interview as it will be by the amount of effort you exert before you start firing off resumes to prospective employers.
The first step is to reconnect with the contacts you used to know when you had your nose to the grindstone. Don’t assume that friends and acquaintances from the old days will automatically throw job offers your way – that’s not the purpose of reconnecting. Instead, it’s all about getting your name out there again and learning what has happened in the industry while you were away.
Say you’re trying to sell a house that has been vacant for a while. Before you put it on the market, you will want to update certain aspects of the house (to today’s style standards) in order to increase its value and appeal to prospective buyers. A job search works the same way. Before you take the plunge into the job market, you may need to get retooled, re-educated or recertified. For some job hunters, attendance at a handful of continuing education events or trade conferences is enough to get the ball rolling; others may need to go back to school.
Depending on how long you have been out of the workplace, there’s a chance you might need to reassess your career goals and expectations. Long absences can delay your career progression compared to peers who remained in the workplace, so it’s unrealistic to assume that you will start at the same level as many of the people you used to work alongside. In some scenarios, you may even need to start at a lower level than you were when you left and then work your way back up the ladder.
Accept the fact that it’s going to take a little time to get your career back on track. How much time? That’s hard to say, but one thing is for sure – anxious, edgy and pushy job applicants never fare well with employers. So relax . . . reconnect with contacts . . . retool your credentials . . . readjust your expectations . . . and remain confident that the right opportunity will eventually present itself.