Restarting Your Career! | Articles & Tips | WNYJobs.com | Buffalo

Articles and Advice

 Restarting Your Career!

By Joe Stein

For many WNY’ers, their current job search finds them re-starting their career after a period of absence. This re-entering may be due to such issues as children growing up or an illness resolved. Whatever the reason, this restarting of your career can present significant and unique challenges to you as a job seeker. All is not lost, however, as there are some tips to consider if you find yourself in this situation.
 
Areas to Consider Prior to Re-starting a Career:
 
·         Determine What You Would Like To Do: For some this is as easy as just picking up and doing what you did prior to leaving the work environment. For others, however, the work world has changed, leaving previous skills obsolete. Then there are always the individuals who want to take this re-starting as an opportunity to do something new. If you think a change will occur, then try to determine what you would like to do prior to starting your search. This will enable you to have a more focused job search and increase your likelihood for success. 
 
·         Consider Temping or Volunteering: This is especially true if you are not exactly sure what direction you would like your career to follow. Either of these options allows you to gain some insight into various employment avenues while also gaining some new experience for your resume. Temping can also be a great way to place your foot in the door with a company you are interested in working for. Another positive to temping is that it allows you to generate some income during your job search, helping to pay the bills while reducing the temptation of settling for a job that is not right for you.
 
·         Stay Realistic:  Upon re-entering the workforce you may have to “reprove” yourself. You may, therefore, not receive the same level of title, compensation or responsibilities that you had prior to your departure. Instead, focus on landing a position with the right organization that will provide you an opportunity to progress.
 
 
Tips On How to Make Your Candidacy Stand Out:
 
·         Network – It will significantly benefit your job search to have a network of individuals who can alert you of job openings and also provide a reference. Your recent absence from the work environment probably reduces your immediate networking pool compared to those still employed. Attempt to reconnect with former supervisors and co-workers who can provide assistance in your search. Consider rejoining any professional organizations that you may have belonged to in the past. There are also organizations that focus just on allowing individuals to network with others to assist in their job search. Let your friends and family know that you are reentering the workforce. You may find, through your reconnection efforts, that you have rekindled a friendship that is currently lying dormant.
 
·         Update Your Work Skills – In whatever field you are reentering consider reviewing the current requirements and update your skills where necessary. This is especially true if you find that your computer skills are lacking. This updating may take some time, so the decision to restart should be done far enough in advance to your actual job search.
 
·         Sharpen Your Job Search Skills – Depending on your length of absence, much may have changed in the world of job searching. A resume is considered the norm except for entry level positions. Many companies will have you combine your resume with their application. Review past articles on resume development on WNYJOBS.com to learn more about how to construct this document and a Cover Letter. A rapidly growing type of interview is the behavior-based interview. This is where an interviewer will inquire regarding past experiences with a focus on your behavior during these situations. Practice your interview answers and style with friends and family prior to interviewing. You may also consider pursuing positions early that do not exactly fit your personal requirements in order to secure interviews that can provide valuable experience.
 
·         Focus on Your Transferable Skills – Reflect on your time away from the workforce and determine if you developed skills that are transferable. Did you volunteer with different organizations displaying your values and commitment to the community? Were you the leader of any groups such as the PTA, or a youth organization? Present yourself as someone who was very active and involved in your time away from the workforce. Consider using a functional resume that will not focus as much on dates as the more traditional chronological version. 
 
·         Research “Friendly” Organizations – There are some organizations that have developed strong reputations as being friendly to those re-entering the workforce. Search those organizations out and focus on them in your job search. These “Best Places” can help you easily overcome the initial obstacle of trying to explain your absence and why you are returning.
 
·         Don’t Be Apologetic – A key is to not apologize for your workforce absence. You made the decision for numerous reasons that were important to you. Display confidence in your communications to prospective employers, answer head-on the reason for your absence and then redirect the conversation back to your qualifications. Come prepared with relevant and timely questions to display you have stayed current during your absence.
 
·         Be Professional Yet Current – In your absence, the styles of dress and appearance may have changed. Make sure you are “up-to-date” in both to avoid concerns that you are out of the loop. This is especially important if you are re-entering the workforce after a considerable time and have now reached the “over 40” threshold. You do not want your appearance to feed any concerns that you may be too “old” for the position.
 
Re-entering the workforce is a major change in a persons’ life. The stress that this may create can be reduced by taking a planful approach to your job search. With good strategy and perhaps a little luck, you will find yourself quickly working at the position you desire.
  
As always, best of luck in your job search.