| Seven Tips for Reentering the Workforce
the workforce can be a challenge no matter how good your excuse is:
volunteering, working or studying abroad, starting a family, caring for a
sick relative or coping with your own illness, or investing in your
future by completing a graduate degree.
Your search can be
made more difficult by the poor economy and a bias against people who
have large gaps in their work history. Your return to work can even be
hampered by your own fears or your subtle (or not-so-subtle) wish that
you didn’t actually have to buck up and get a job.
But don’t worry, you can do it! With these tips, reentering the work world will be a breeze.
Begin updating your skills before you start to look for a job: If
you can, start padding your resume a few months before you want to
start looking for a job. Volunteer, take an online course, investigate
internships -- do anything that can help fill gaps and reboot your life
Create a resume that is functional rather than chronological:
Focus on your skills and successes rather than the precise dates of
your employment. Create headings like “marketing experience,” “sales
successes” or “benchmarks met” and then list your achievements
Put yourself out there: After
spending all that time updating your resume, make sure it will be found
by uploading it to a job-matching engine like Monster.com. Monster has
invested heavily in tech innovation, so your job search there will no
longer yield hundreds of “so-so” options, but rather a handful of very
precise options tailored exactly to what you’re looking for.
Be bold. A killer resume may not be enough: To
land a great interview, you may have to take the phone into your own
hands. Consider making polite and focused calls to companies you are
interested in or HR departments. Inquire about jobs you saw posted
online, express your interest and ask for an interview. Making a good
personal connection might help move your resume to the top of the pile.
Seek advice and take it humbly:
Now is the time to listen to your wise friends who are gainfully
employed. Have your cronies eyeball your resume, read your cover letter,
give you tips on networking and help you practice your interview
skills. If you feel like you’re in need of a self-esteem boost, take a
trusted friend shopping to help you pick out an interview outfit that
will make you feel sophisticated and professional.
Be an interview superstar:
When you land an interview, arrive ready to outshine the competition.
If asked about it, discuss your time away briefly. Don’t get bogged down
in the details of your year in Belize or become emotional about a loved
one’s illness. Emphasize your skills and work ethic rather than your
time away. Sell yourself as a blank slate ready to jump in and work hard
in a new work environment. If it makes sense, draw concrete conclusions
between the job you’re interviewing for and the things you learned
while coping with real-life situations (travel, illness, graduate
school) that the competition may not have had to deal with.
Be open to new experiences: The
reality of reentering the work world is that you might have to make
some compromises. Be open to part-time, project or contract work. These
short-term jobs often provide great experience and contacts that can
help you land a job that is a perfect fit for you and all of the
experiences you bring to the table.
Career expert and best-selling author of Girl on Top,
Nicole Williams is redefining the world of work -- making it glamorous,
entertaining and relevant to modern women. Nicole founded WORKS by
Nicole Williams in 2006 with the vision of building the first media and
content company focused on career development specifically for the
highly dynamic and powerful market of young professional women. Her Web
site, Nicolewilliams.com, is the go-to destination site for modern working women.