How To Return to the Workforce After An Extended Time
Whether you have had a lengthy period of time off work due to illness or injury, redundancy, parental leave, overseas travel or any other reason, returning to the workforce can sometimes be a daunting experience.
So how can you make this process easier?
The best way to make the return to the job hunt easier is to be prepared! We have put together a few helpful steps below to ensure you are prepared and ready to rock when you find a job you want to apply for.
Ensure there are NO gaps in your employment history - hiring managers are likely to disregard your application straight away if there are unexplained gaps.
Here’s Our 10 Steps to Success:
Ensure you list any unpaid work on your resume (this can include volunteer work, caring for family, home renovations, school fundraising, etc) - what skills and knowledge did you tap into when you completed this work? Hiring Managers want to see what experience and life skills you bring and how this can transfer to the role they're filling.
Add any training or personal development to your resume - ensure the information is current, even if you have completed training that is irrelevant to the role and is more for your own personal development, add it in - this shows you have still been productive in your time out of the workplace.
Research the job, company and industry that you want to work in - the more you know about all of these the better prepared you can be with your resume as well as with your responses in the interview.
Any illness or injury requiring time off during the last 5 years should be declared - a lot of jobs in the current market require you to complete a pre-employment medical or even complete other paperwork that declares you have not had any injury or illness resulting in time off - it's much better to be honest and upfront from the beginning to avoid any awkward conversations later on. Focusing on your recovery, resilience, determination and motivation to return to work after a difficult circumstance will work in your favour versus being dishonest.
Ensure you get in touch with anyone you are using as a reference - chances are if you have been away from work for an extended period of time people may have moved on from their previous roles and possibly changed numbers. You want to ensure referees remember you and will give you a shining reference, so get in touch before you give their details out.
Apply for jobs that fit your current situation - this may seem like an obvious one, but if your situation has changed since you were last gainfully employed, applying for jobs that suit your new lifestyle makes sense. For example, if you were previously in a corporate job that required you there all day every day and you left to raise a family, consider roles that offer flexible, part-time, job-share or school hours; if you were injured and can no longer perform the same role you used to, look for alternative jobs in the same industry.
Create and / or update your LinkedIn profile - more and more organisations are using LinkedIn as a means of sourcing for roles, as well as advertising jobs. A professional LinkedIn profile can complement your resume and help get you back in the game.
Dress for success - when it has been a while between interviews it can be daunting getting in front of someone again to tell them face to face why you are the best person for the job. One of the ways to build confidence in yourself is to dress the part. First impressions count and you want to make sure you make the right impact with how you present yourself. If in doubt for what to wear, Google it! Literally type in "what to wear to an interview for a (fill in the job type)".
Surround yourself with a support network - job seeking can be stressful at the best of times, add in to the mix time away from the workplace and this can increase tenfold. It's important to surround yourself with family, friends, like-minded people and even old workmates who can champion you and help you when you need it.
Embrace and enjoy the process - approach each conversation, email, letter, thought about finding a new job with a positive attitude. People are drawn to positivity and put off by negativity. Made it to the interview stage but didn't get the job? Fantastic - this is an opportunity to review what went well and what didn't, refine what didn't go so well and try again. Ask the hiring manager or organisation you have been unsuccessful with if you can have some feedback on your application or interview then apply the changes.