Update your resume. In addition to past employment, try to include activities that occupied your time while you were unemployed. Emphasize aspects of these activities that may be regarded as assets to the company you are interested in. For instance, you could list your business ventures, contributions as a volunteer or your responsibilities as a caregiver. When you apply for a job, you should also include a cover letter that explains any gaps in your employment history.
You may have decided to step away from your job several years ago for various reasons, ranging from the need to care for young children to your personal health. Now that you are ready to return to the job market you may find that the industry you are used to has changed considerably in your absence. Although it may appear to be difficult to find a job, it is not impossible. You can find a job with adequate preparation and the willingness to be proactive in your search.
Research the job you are interested in and find out what the current requirements are for the position. If you do not have some of required skills then consider taking some classes or workshops. You may be able to learn these skills on your own with books and online resources.
Identify the companies you would like to work for and check for vacancies in the career section of their websites. If you do not find a desirable position, call the company and speak to a member of the human resources department. Inquire about possible openings for the job you are seeking and ask if you can e-mail your resume and cover letter. The representative may keep them on file and contact you when there is a vacancy.
Use professional social networking websites, such as LinkedIn. You can post your resume on such sites and network with professionals who can alert you to vacancies at their companies, forward your resume to hiring personnel and also provide referrals.
Consider applying for lower-level positions if you are unable to obtain the position you want. Over time, the requirements for many positions become more complex and after several years away from your industry, you may find that your skills are more suited to a position at a lower level. For instance, if you are unable to find a position as a manager, consider applying for an assistant manager position. In time, you can acquire the additional skills required of the job you really want.
Seek temporary work through a job agency. Many companies rely on recruiters to provide candidates for short-term and permanent positions. A temporary position will give you an opportunity to show your abilities to an employer who may be willing to offer you a permanent job at the end of your assignment.
Think about working as a volunteer. A volunteer position creates an opportunity for you to refresh your skills, learn new skills and network with people who may be in a position to offer you a paying job. You can also add volunteer positions to your resume, which would be helpful in your search for a permanent job.
Tips & Warnings
- Prepare for job interviews. Visit career websites to learn current interview questions and practices. Have a friend or family member role-play as an interviewer so you can practice your interviewing skills.
- In "Returning to Work: A Guide to Re-entering the Job Market," Sally Longson says that it is essential to boost your self-confidence before embarking on a job search. She recommends stepping out of your comfort zone to try new things, like taking a class or joining a club. Realizing that you can handle new situations may provide the confidence you need to secure a new job.
- "Returning to Work: A Guide to Re-entering the Job Market"; Sally Longson; How To Books Ltd, 2004
- US News: How to get a job after a year (or more) out of work
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