There are many reasons you could have been out of work, but no matter your background, reentering the workforce is intimidating. Many hiring managers have a bias against applicants with a gap in work history, but that doesn’t mean that you’ve got no chance. Here’s the best advice out there for reentering the business world on your own terms.
Practice explaining your job history
If you’ve been out of the workforce for longer than 6 months, you’ll probably get a question about the gap in your work history. Some circumstances are easier to explain than others, but either way, you should prepare yourself to tell your story in an honest, professional way.
Don’t go into too many minute details, but simply and sincerely explain what happened or why you made the choice to not work for a period of time. Always draw the conversation back to your qualifications and what you learned both before your time out of the workforce and during your absence.
Reevaluate your skills
With the way technology and research continues on a non-stop basis, chances are that your industry has changed since you’ve worked in it last. Reentering the job force allows you to make a career change or learn what’s new in your field.
Take stock of your education, experience, and skills, and then take a look at the skills needed for jobs you want. If your qualifications no longer match up, make a note of the skills you’ll need to gain before you can get the job. Take online classes and in-person workshops on the topics you’re trying to learn, and you’ll be on your way to building a whole new set of skills.
Update your professional documents
Your resume from 2004 isn’t up to par anymore. Make a list of the professional documents, both digital and physical, you’ll need to sell yourself (resume, business cards, LinkedIn profile, etc.) and then spend some time updating each one.
Compare your documents to others in your field by looking at their profiles on LinkedIn or finding example documents online. Keep your documents organized in a physical or desktop folder so that they’re ready to go when you need them.
Mentally prepare yourself for work
Whether you’ve been out of the workforce for a couple of months or a couple of decades, reentering the workforce is a big change for both you and your family. For the first little while at your new job, you’ll have to get used to having fewer hours at home and less free time.
Things that you used to see as important will fall by the wayside, and household responsibilities will have to be done in non-work hours. Get used to the idea in advance that this will become normal, but that the first few months may be difficult as you transition. The more you prepare yourself and your family for the new normal, the easier the entry to a new job will be.
Entering the workforce is no simple task, especially if you have a personal history that is difficult to explain. At WorkFaith, we specialize in helping people with gaps in employment history reenter the workforce. Our workshop focuses on professional readiness, including resume building, and networking to find your next best job.
If that sounds like something you need, apply for our workshop. We’ll teach you all about reentering the workforce, interviewing the right way, and more.