Welcome back, hope you enjoy part 2 of our *returning to the workforce* article.
Now you have decided a return to work is what you need, or, want to do – now you need to work out your short, medium and long term goals. You have assessed your accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses goals and interests, you have identified your career field, and researched what is involved – it’s now time to set your career goals. Setting your goals is a very important step towards getting the job you desire, planning can be the difference between landing your dream job, or being in a job you hate.
You can improve your chances of achieving those career goals by setting realistic targets so you have something to look forward to. Usually short term goals are achievable in about a year with medium term goals taking approximately three years, and long term goals spanning five years. When setting goals write down everything you need to do or to study to reach each goal.
Is this job an entry level job? Is it a transitional job? Or is it your dream job? Entry level jobs allow you to start your career path – in your chosen field depending on your education and experience. Transitional jobs move you from that entry level job closer to your dream job – basically taking you a step further towards your dream job, often teaching you new skills, or the skills you will need for that dream job. Finally your dream job uses your talents, rather than your skills and gives you a sense of fulfillment and achievement.
Be sure to develop an *action plan* – compare the skills you have with those that the employer needs, identify any gaps in your skills or knowledge and work out ways you can overcome any barriers. A barrier is the real or imagined *thing* that you believe will stop you from achieving your goals. Some of the biggest barriers people face includes –
*Thinking you look *bad* to a future employer because you have been out of the workforce for so long
* You worry about your ability to transition from your non-working life into a structured work environment
*Feeling that the only skills you have to offer are outdated.
In a job interview you need to have confidence, if possible steer the interview around to focusing on how quickly you can become productive in the workplace and in the skills and knowledge you do have and that you can offer.
If you are worried about any barriers it will be hard to be confident in that interview, you need to sit down and work through and overcome any *shortcomings* you feel you have, long before you sit down for that first interview – always focus on the positives and not the negatives. If you are finding that it’s not easy, why not look for advice and help from a career counselor, they are use to helping people prepare themselves for the workforce.
Other barriers may be your concern that the employer feels you won’t meet their needs or expectations. Consider a few things before you get into that interview – am I motivated for this job? Can I do this job? Do I come across as reliable and dependable? Does my attitude and style fit with what they want? Can I and am I willing to learn new skills or take on a course of study?
Once again, if you present yourself with confidence an employer will have faith in your abilities, prepare yourself, make yourself some notes to keep in mind so you feel comfortable answering questions.
Returning to the workforce can be hard, but it is achievable, have you anything to add? Did you find the experience, easy or hard? Have you any tips you can share with us?