We regularly work with clients who seek to re-enter the workforce after taking time away to attend to family responsibilities, or those who voluntarily or involuntarily take a break. It can be challenging to secure a new role with a gap on the resume, especially if the gap spans a few years. Here are a few strategies for a successful re-entry.
1. Renew and/or expand professional networks. Connecting with former colleagues, bosses, and mentors should be a primary focus of your strategy. Reach out to past contacts to let them know that you’re planning to re-enter the job market. A significant number of people find employment through word of mouth.
2. Research changes that have taken place in your profession since you’ve been away. Reading different publications, participating in industry talks, conferences, and events are great opportunities to understand the latest trends and to ask relevant questions as you reconnect with colleagues.
3. Utilize online resources like LinkedIn, Jobscan, JIBBER JOBBER, asana, theSkimm, and O*Net. Perusing employee profiles at companies you may be interested in applying to can help you assess how you measure up in terms of skills and experience.
4. Update your skills. Many colleges, universities, and professional associations offer continuing education classes. On the technical side, discover what new office devices and/or software are being used and take advantage of free online tutorials to improve your skills.
5. Update your resume and be prepared to respond thoroughly and honestly to gaps in your work history in an interview, but don’t discount valuable experience like part-time work, volunteering, fund-raising or family responsibilities.