People choose to take time away from their careers for many reasons. Some take the opportunity to pursue other avenues, while some stay home to care for children or family members. Still others travel or fulfill a lifelong dream. Whatever the reason someone might leave the workforce for a while, returning to it can be a daunting experience.
Fortunately, with some positivity, preparedness, and patience, you can return to work and be successful in this next stage of your life. Here are a few steps to follow when re-entering the workforce:
Start Building Your Professional Network
Get contact information from people who have the potential to benefit you in some way, and figure out ways in which you can bring something to the table for them. Now is also the time to find a tax agent near you because you’ll need his help as you build your new career.
If you aren’t sure what you want to do or how to go about getting your foot in the door, begin attending job fairs and other professional networking events to find like-minded people and businesses who are hiring in the field you’re interested in.
Update Your Resume
Have you gained any experience or knowledge during your absence from work that pertains to the job for which you’re interviewing? Update your resume to include this information, or at the very least, explain your absence from the workforce.
Most new employers will want to know what you’ve been up to in recent years and why you left your previous employment. Use your cover letter to explain any gaps in employment and focus on how your new experience and knowledge will help you hit the ground running.
Consider Freelance or Part-time Work
If you’ve not had a consistent work schedule during your time off, you may find it challenging to get back into the swing of a rigid schedule. It may be worth considering freelance opportunities, contract work, or part-time employment to ease your transition back into a traditional work schedule.
If you have the opportunity, you may want to take on temporary or short-term contract work with the company you’re interested in to gauge how you like working there. Once the contract work is finished, you can decide whether you’d like to work for them permanently or move onto another gig.
Work on Your Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a short speech that sums up your expertise, experience, and work history. You’ll want it to sound unrehearsed and conversational, so you’ll need to practice it. You can give the speech to yourself in a mirror over and over until it sounds right or try practicing it with friends who won’t be afraid to give you constructive criticism where needed.
Prepare for the Interview
As stated earlier, a potential employer will want to know why you took time off and what you did during your absence from work. Though you’ve put this information in your cover letter, the interviewer will likely want to hear it from you in person. Practice the answers to these questions before the interview, so you know exactly what to say. Be confident in your responses as this will instill confidence in the person conducting the interview.
Regardless of why you chose to step away from your career, the tips above can help you when it comes time to pick up where you left off.