Returning to the workforce – some helpful advice.
You will probably feel some mixed emotions about returning to work, if it has been after a long absence due to illness or starting a family, perhaps you have had to care for an elderly relative. Whatever the reason, your decision to return to work is to be admired. You perhaps feel quite nervous or apprehensive.
One of perhaps your biggest fears or concerns is – explaining the gap in your resume. Due to time away from work often means you will have quite a gap in your resume and you do need to let a potential employer know why there are gaps and if it is going to be ongoing.
In the interview just explain openly and honestly the reason for your time out of the workforce. Don’t apologise for your time off, perhaps the circumstances weren’t your fault, explain what you did while off work, but focus on why you are ready to return to the workforce and what you can now bring to the job. Employers don’t really want to know a lot about why you took time off or what you did during that time; they want to know what you can do now and how you are the best candidate for the job.
Try and put together a functional resume rather than one with lots of dates and times all in chorological order. A functional resume focuses on and highlights the skills you have now and how continuous your employment has been in the past. Don’t despair *life experience* still is highly valued in the working world. If you have done any volunteer work, don’t forget to add that to your resume. Volunteering your time within the community is often valued by employers. Perhaps your resume seems a little bland, so any extra activities you can add will make you appear a more rounded employee.
If you have been absent from the work force for quite some time and you feel you have very limited skills to offer an employer you can always consider taking further education or training to help increase your options. Any kind of study or training will only help in your return to work, think of it as an investment in your future. Part time study can also help you build your confidence as well as your skills; it will also bring you into contact with others who are also trying to change their lives.
How to deal with changes? You will notice from your time out of the workforce that things have changed a lot, both in your industry and in the general *how* you look for work. Talk to people you already know who are employed, and try joining an online forum or group of those who are looking for work. You can gain valuable tips, advice, and help and just talk things through.
Changes can also be those of your attitude – perhaps you lack self-confidence, or you feel having a job will be restrictive or tie you down, after a long absence that idea of moving from complete independence to taking direction from an employer may not feel appealing. You may feel nervous or apprehensive about working within a team, or dealing with customers. How will you feel about or cope with the change of routine after having had so much time to yourself? Are you worried that you’ll be left behind by all the changes in technology that may have passed you by?
Have you dealt with any of these issues or thoughts? Was returning to the workforce an easy or difficult decision, did you find it challenging? How did you cope?