Posted by Robert Half on 26 June 2015
You’ve been out the workforce for a while, and no matter whether you’ve been taking time out to study, pursuing other goals or raising a family, the idea of heading back to the workforce can seem daunting. The workplace has changed. Your former contacts have moved on, and your skill set may seem a little outdated.
If that sounds like you, take heart that many others have been in a similar position. The good news is that some simple steps can restore your confidence and add appeal to your resume.
Step 1: Partner with an expert
There’s nothing quite like the support of an expert to build confidence, and seeking guidance from a reputable recruitment agency can do just that.
Hitting the job market cold - without recent experience and up to date references, can put you behind the eight ball. A professional recruitment specialist can assess your skills, provide guidance on areas where you could upgrade your skill set, and best of all, help you find appropriate (temporary) positions that can boost your confidence and get you up to speed in terms of workplace experience.
Step 2: Develop your skills
Temporary roles may not have been your first option. But the beauty of it is that it can help you build new skills relevant for today’s business world while also sharpening old ones.
The experience gained will also strengthen your resume. Take charge of the process by looking at job ads for positions you’re interested in. Then ask your recruitment agency to match you with temporary roles that provide the opportunity to learn and develop those skills.
Step 3: Build an online presence
The internet provides amazing online networking opportunities, so before you actively begin looking for work, update your online details including your LinkedIn profile. Try contacting former co-workers and employers to let them know you are actively looking for work. It can also pay to start following companies you are keen to work for as many firms use LinkedIn to advertise job openings.
Step 4: Explain the blanks
When you are writing a resume explain the gaps in your employment history. Note them in your cover letter too. It’s much better to be honest and open upfront than to be overlooked for an interview altogether because an employer is uncertain about periods when you have been out of the labour force.
Step 5: Celebrate what you have learned
Many of our life experiences can be put to use in the workplace, so don’t assume that any unpaid or volunteer work you’ve undertaken isn’t of value to prospective employers.
When writing your resume, aim to translate your experiences outside the workforce into marketable skills that can impress an employer. For instance, if you were treasurer for the local playgroup, make note of your bookkeeping and financial skills. Share the details with your recruitment specialist too. You may have a more marketable skill set than you realise.
If you are unsure about the sort of salary you can expect on your return to the workforce, take a look at the Robert Half Salary Guide.
This article originally appeared as Reentering the Workforce: 5 Tips for Success on the Accountemps blog.