When you've been out of workforce for some time, whether you took time off to care for a young child or have simply been having trouble finding a new job, getting back into the workplace can often be difficult. Many people in this situation wonder if their skills are still marketable. I know that it can seem overwhelming, but if you are serious about reentering the workforce, it's important to prepare in order to successfully navigate the changing workforce.
Here are a few things you can do that will make finding a job easier:
Update your skills. If you've been out of your career field for a year or more, you may need to update your skills. You can do some research and find out what skills are in demand for your chosen industry. It's also a good idea to network with others in your industry to find out the most important things you'll need to know. You may also need to take a few refresher courses. There are many community colleges that offer online career training and there are even many free, open-source courses you can take at home to brush up on your skills.
Contact your former boss or coworkers. One of the easiest ways to get back into the workplace is to contact your previous employer. If you left the company on good terms, your boss may be interested in re-hiring you or can at least give you a few leads on where to start. Even if you left under less than stellar terms, your past coworkers might be able to provide you with some assistance or put you in contact with people they know who can help. Never underestimate the power of your network. Your previous employer and past coworkers know who you are and what type of work you do. They can be your best advocates.
Send a letter, along with a copy of your current resume, to friends and family. Now that you've decided to go back to work, let the people close to you know by sending them an email or even an actual letter. Let them know about your plans and inform them of your decision to get back into the workforce. Mention your industry along with the highlights of your educational experience and job skills. Ask them if they know of anyone who is hiring and thank them for their help. At first, this might sound pushy, but most of the people you know will want to help you any way they can.
Consider working freelance or taking temporary jobs. In order to get more current work experience, you might want to look into freelancing for a short while. Even if this isn't a long-term career option for you, it will give you a chance to brush up on your skills and have something current to put on a résumé. Also, you should look into accepting temporary work, even if it isn't in your desired career field. Once again, simply having some current work experience will help you become more marketable.
Understand that you are rebuilding your career. You may not be able to find a job working at the same level as you did previously. It's just a fact of life and one that you'll have to come to terms with. Don't be surprised if you're offered a lower-level job or asked to take a pay cut. If you are offered a lower paying job, you can always work your way back up the ladder. It probably won't take long to catch up. Having current experience will only help you to further that goal.
Re-entering the workforce can be tough, but with the proper preparation, it can become a whole lot easier. If you are returning from retirement, be aware than your new income may reduce any Social Security benefits or other retirement benefits.
Have you recently decided to go back to work? What are the biggest challenges you've faced? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Additional Source: Eastern Shore Career Guide
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