Many of us have had to leave full time work at a point in our career for a variety of reasons; to start a family, relocate overseas, to care for a loved one or because of an unexpected illness. Reentering the workforce is still proving to be one of the most challenging hurdles of one’s professional life. Sending out numerous resumes and applying for various positions does not guarantee an interview, as many can attest.
While the road is daunting, consider these 5 steps to put yourself on steady ground and prepare to relaunch yourself!
First, decide what if you want to continue in your industry and the kind of career you are aiming for. The time away from full time work could have refocused your interest or changed it entirely. Your previous industry also could have drastically changed and you may want to consider looking in a different direction. Consider what exactly you would like to pursue, or better yet, draw up exactly what your future job would look like.
Do your Research
Once you have a clear idea of your next career, spend some time on research. Find people with your ideal position and consider their qualifications and skills. Go on LinkedIn and type in your next career job title in search. Look at the profiles and ask yourself if you have the same qualifications and skills. If you find job offers for positions you are interested in, similarly scrutinize all the expertise and skills they require. Which leads us to the next step.
Update your skills
Remember that everyone needs a skillset upgrade from time to time and now is the perfect opportunity to find a workshop or short course that will do that for you. Enroll in a course in your city or jump unto Lynda which offer one to two-hour tutorials encompassing Business, Marketing, Education, IT and more.
A great benefit to Lynda is that it allows you to add your completed certification on your LinkedIn profile. Apart from showcasing your freshly minted skills, it ensures recruiters and HR executives can immediately verify your qualifications.
LinkedIn is the most important resource for you as you set to relaunch. First and foremost, upload a good photo of yourself. Studies have shown a profile without a photo gets considerably fewer views than profiles with a photo. LinkedIn have tips and guides on how best to write up your profile. Among other great resources on LinkedIn are Martin Yate’s guide and Sue Ellson’s advice, which can help you create a compelling professional profile.
Now it’s time to start your pitch! Speak with friends, family and even former colleagues to inform them that you are looking. Use these opportunities to pitch yourself and the value that you can bring. Highlight your strengths and in what capacity you believe you could offer your value and experience. When ‘who knows you’ is equally important as ‘who you know’, a referral from a friend is all you may need to get a foot in the door to your next interview.
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