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How to Re-Enter the Workforce after a Long Hiatus?

December 7, 2015

Re-entering the workforce after a long hiatus is not always easy. Adjusting to the daily work life after a lengthy break can be terribly intimidating and frustrating experience, since your mind is filled with self-doubts and navigating career paths seems like a herculean challenge.

All you need is complete mental preparation to rise to challenges, overcome obstacles and achieve success in the longer run. Doesn’t matter the time span you are away from work, a renewed confidence always helps.

Most companies have now introduced lengthy maternity and paternal leave policies to allow employees to spend time with their families, facilitate flexible working hours and work from home options to help maintain work-life balance. Justifying and offering explanations for the lengthy break in your resume and navigating the ever-changing job market isn’t always easy.

A careful know-how of the challenges you might likely face when you enter the job scene, will help you stay prepared for some common questions and problems you encounter:

  • Navigating the job market after a break can make your skills seem irrelevant or out-of-date. Those joining back will have to be retrained to learn the new skills on job and more often will have to compromise on the compensation offered by companies.
  • Generation gaps and age can prove to be a detriment to securing job opportunities. Age discrimination is very common in workplaces and simply because you took breaks mid-way owing to reasons unavoidable, most employers have not outgrown themselves to accept the facts of life that all grow older with time and years.
  • Those who are unemployed for longer periods of time are filled with feelings of self-doubt. Some people may even doubt their skills and abilities to find a job again. These feelings grow stronger when you face rejections during interviews. Most people who return to work after involuntary unemployment often feel “anticipatory anxiety.”

See: 5 Ways to Be Unique and Differentiate Yourself in Your Job Search

5 Important Tips to Help You Get Started Once Again

  • Get prepared and stay abreast of the industry trends in the job market, the new career roles, technology advancement, need for new skill sets and a well-defined justification to the employer for the career break.
  • Enter the industry with renewed confidence in your unique capabilities and talents. Stop undervaluing yourself and underestimating your potentials, since this only diminishes your confidence levels. Take a refreshers course if required and stay updated of industry advancement to answer questions during an interview.
  • Network with professionals from the same industry, join industry groups, attend events, and volunteer in community activities to stay in touch with individuals pursuing the same career paths and seek advice/help to streamline your careers and facilitate easy job search through references or recommendations after a long career break.
  • Stay focused to your goals and show originality of thoughts accompanied with supportive actions. Work on short-term projects during career breaks, secure temporary work and use methodologies to showcase how career gaps were utilised. Through this your job application stands a better chance of being shortlisted for the most coveted job role.
  • Alter your resume to meet the current industry requirements, if you manage to qualify yourself with additional certifications during the break period it is definitely offers an added value to your candidature. Mention skills, tenure and experience possessed before the break period because this is critical information for every new employer on lookout for the right talent.
  • Make yourself searchable on Google. Personal blogs help employers connect with you on social networking platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter to read recommendations for skills. This will also help you stay engaged with the potential employers.

Above all, stay honest, positive and confident of what you know with an eager aptitude to learn and improve on your skills. An honest answer explaining the reason for career gap can help create positive impression on the interviewer’s minds and develop trust with the employer.

Share experiences you gained during the break period and show genuine interest to the employer to get back to the work front and perseverance to stay and not quit.

Also read: Five Truths about Job Search, Job Seekers Don’t Know

Image credit: macroccs.com

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