How to Get Back into the Workforce after a Long Absence

shutterstock_124636996You were once at the top of your game, but then life happened and you took a step away from your career. Maybe you decided to stay home with your kids, or the opportunity to travel the world presented itself and you couldn’t say “no”. Whatever happened to take you away from the workforce, you have probably already realised that re-entering may not be easy. Most industries change quickly, and yours is likely no different, but there are a few ways to boost your chances of getting back to your career despite the extended leave.

Update Your Skills

Consider signing up for a few continued education classes before trying to re-enter the workforce. Technology has changed and it is possible your industry has evolved greatly since you were last employed. Look into specific certifications you could get which would help set you apart from other applicants, and brush up on any computer programs which may be necessary for your success. Talk to people currently in your industry about how things have changed and what you can do to best prepare yourself for returning to work. If you can find opportunities to intern, that might be a good way to brush up on your skills while also getting a foot in the door.

Make Yourself Relevant

Technology has become a big part of the job market today, with most companies accepting online applications and computer skills being a must in nearly every industry. Make yourself relevant by setting up a LinkedIn profile and learning how the internet has changed networking. Review your resume to ensure it highlights your skills and abilities in a way that is fresh and presentable. Invest in some updated business attire to wear to interviews, and practice answering questions about your extended absence from the workforce as well as why you feel prepared to return now. Consider creating a website you can link to on your resume which should highlight some of your past work while also showing hiring managers that you are current and exciting.

Focus on Networking

Reach out to friends and family members who may be able to offer you a leg up in your job search. Old co-workers can also be valuable assets, as they can vouch for your work ethic and ability to get the job done. Networking will be your best friend during this new job search, because while hiring managers will likely only see a big gap in your resume, those who know you can fill in that gap and often at least assist in getting you in for an interview. Attend any potential networking events you are invited to and expand that network both online and in real life. Make your intentions to return to the workforce known by expressing an interest in talking to anyone who thinks they may be able to help.

Start out Small

You might have a difficult time breaking into your dream job after a long absence, so don’t set yourself up for failure by creating unrealistic expectations. Instead, prepare yourself for the fact that you may have to start at a lower rung on the corporate ladder than where you left. Remain open to volunteer positions or internships that can at least provide you with relevant experience. Consider offering services on a contract basis, or accepting temporary or part-time offers while companies are in the midst of restructuring or filling gaps while other employees are on leave. Use those opportunities to prove yourself, brushing up on your skills and at least hopefully obtaining recommendations you can use for future openings.

Visit Resumes Australia to learn more about how we can help you grow your networks.


kylie hammond

About Kylie Hammond
Executive Search Consultant, Head-Hunter, HR Consultant, Executive Career Coach, Expert Resume Writer & Executive Talent Agent.

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