By Stephanie Beirne Leuer, Marketing Coordinator, Drake & Company Staffing Specialists
Life sometimes alters the best laid career plans no matter how carefully planned out. Taking time away from a career to do things such as raise a child or care for another family member may impact a future job search.
Sometimes the transition back into the workforce is seamless, but not every company looks at an employment gap in the same way. That gap may leave potential employers overlooking a resume and create a dent in an applicant’s confidence. Before reentering the workforce, candidates should consider these six ways to prepare for today’s job search.
Get your resume in shape
How does your resume stack up against the skills needed by today’s employers? If you have been out of the workforce since Palm Pilots were popular, it is time to take a look at what past skills are still relevant in the marketplace. Another helpful tip is to receive a second opinion on your resume from friends, or seek the assistance of a resume service that provides help to candidates to make a powerful first impression on potential employers.
Check your wardrobe
If your interview suit has collected dust in the back of your closet for the past decade, it is time to reevaluate its worth when it comes to making a positive first impression. Does it fit well? Is the style still flattering? What a person wears to an interview should make a candidate feel confident and comfortable. Not every industry requires a suit for an interview, but applicants should plan on dressing nicer than the dress code for a particular position.
Network, network, network
When relaunching a career it is important to reach out to old coworkers, neighbors and friends to let them know you are back in the market for a job. LinkedIn is great way to reconnect with people from your industry who will serve as your best allies in a job search. Ask your network if they know of openings at their place of work or other people you should connect with in the community. Who you know is often the key to getting your foot in the door for a job interview.
Networking events are another great place to meet new contacts. Before an event, create an inexpensive business card with your contact information to pass out to people you meet. Follow up with your new acquaintances to find out if they want to meet for coffee to discuss upcoming trends in your industry or the current direction of employment in your field.
Consider an internship
If you have been away from the workforce for several years, consider an internship to gain fresh experience to build up a resume. Nothing is more frustrating during an interview than hearing, “You have great experience, but it is old experience.” Internships are not just for college students in their early 20s anymore. Career change internships are on the rise and companies are beginning to embrace the idea of molding a new workforce who already possess years of experience.
Applicants should never underestimate the importance of volunteer experiences. Not only is volunteer work a great way to give back to the community, but it is also another way to showcase your skills. In addition to building fresh experience or improving on current expertise, volunteering also allows for applicants to grow their network of connections.
Gain experience with temporary positions
A full-time position may be your ultimate career goal, but why not start small to gain experience? Temporary positions offer the ability to add skills to a resume, while building confidence and a network of new people in your industry. With new experiences and connections, temporary positions may lead to a career position down the road.
With the right tools, connections and experience, job seekers experiencing a career relaunch will find an easier path to joining the workforce again. For readers who have recently gone back to work after a lengthy absence, what methods worked for you when reentering the workforce?
Stephanie Beirne Leuer is the Marketing Coordinator at Drake & Company, a staffing firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Drake & Company specializes in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire administrative, clerical and legal placements. Since 1978, Drake has reached beyond skills and qualifications to match candidate personalities with a company’s culture. You can connect with Stephanie by email, and you can find Drake & Company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.