A simple plan for jumping back into the workforce
If you’ve made the decision to re-enter the workforce after some time off, the biggest obstacle may be figuring out where to start. Constructing a simple plan can help serve as a road map and remind you where to head when you start feeling lost.
A good first step is to set a few goals and place them in visible place such as on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator to ensure accountability. Be smart with your goals (make them specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time bound). Here are a few examples:
• Dedicate at least 20 hours a week to a job search or continuing education during the next three months.
• Commit to having three interviews in the next month.
It’s also helpful to create a checklist of the items that you’ll need to address during the course of your job search. Focusing on the basics is key:
o Has your resume been updated and proofread by three other trusted sources?
o Does it highlight your relevant job skills first, followed by chronological work experience?
o Are you on LinkedIn with a complete profile including a professional picture?
o Do you have at least three professional references (ideally prior supervisors) you could provide to a potential employer?
o Have you contacted your references to update them on your job search efforts?
o Are your reference contact details available as a separate document ready to send to a potential employer?
o Have you practiced live interviewing?
o Have you reviewed sample interview questions and prepared your responses?
o Do you have a one-minute pitch to explain yourself and interests to a potential employer?
o Do you have a suit or business attire that represents you as a current professional? Don’t pull an old, outdated suit out of your closet. Go shopping and ask a retail associate to help you put together complete interviewing attire including suit, shoes and simple accessories.
Beyond the Basics
In addition to following through on goals and consistently checking off the items on your list, it’s also important to take steps to refresh any skills that may be dated.
o Taking an online course is in easy way to update your knowledge base during your job search.
o Stay focused on reading relevant industry and local business news to stay aware of potential opportunities.
There are many ways to reconnect with your network and spread the word about your return to the workforce. Consider these questions when thinking about how to re-establish yourself in professional circles:
o Have you reached out to current and past contacts?
o Have you joined or rejoined any professional groups or associations?
o Are you actively searching job boards, connecting with recruiters and contacting companies?
o Have you conducted informational interviews with people in key positions or organizations?
You may not know what you want to do career-wise. Or, you may not want to return to the same position or field you worked in previously. If that’s the case, you may want to consider employing a coach or engaging in some counseling. Having some professional assistance can help ensure that your journey back into the workforce leads to the right destination.