Gaps in employment history can make reentering the workforce a challenge. Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce the stress of reentering the workforce and increase your chances of landing the job you want.
7 Must Do Tips When Reentering the Workforce
Want to reenter the workforce after an absence? Try these seven tips for reentering the workforce.
1. Retool Your Skills
When we don’t practice an activity for a while, we tend to not be able to do it as proficiently. And, as the workforce changes, new skills are needed to perform a variety of jobs. That is why it is important to retool your skills with training before reentering the workforce.
Many free resources are available to those who want to freshen up their professional skillsets. Visit your local Library or Ohio Means Jobs center to find free resources, classes, and workshops. You can also find tutorials online to sharpen your skills.
Consider the kind of job you want when you reenter the workforce. Is it something you can accomplish by building on existing skills, or does it require you to gain a whole new skillset? Reach out to those working in similar environments and see how they landed the job.
If you are 55 or older and meet income guidelines, you could qualify for the Senior Community Service Employment Program. SCSEP is a paid job training program for older adults who want to reenter the workforce. The program provides job training at community-based organizations and job search assistance to help you successfully find work.
2. Review Your Resume
If you have not been in the workforce for a while, chances are, you need to update your resume. Acceptable resume strategies change, so be sure that yours is modern and up to date. Also, make sure your resume includes all relevant experience and is free of errors. You may want to have a job coach review your resume.
Consider formatting your resume functionally rather than chronologically. This means that instead of listing your experience in order from newest to oldest, you list it in order of relevance.
The functional format can draw attention away from employment gaps. However, it may also raise questions about whether you are trying to hide something from the employer. Use your judgment to decide which format works best with your goals.
3. Network at New Places
Networking helps you meet face to face with contacts that could lead to employment. Join professional groups for the opportunity to potentially meet employers, someone who knows a company that is hiring, or someone who can offer you helpful advice.
When you attend networking events, be sure to dress appropriately. Bring your resume and contact information.
Remember, networking tends to be casual and conversational, unlike an interview. Be yourself and follow that natural flow of conversation. Stay positive about your job search and focus on your future goals.
4. Reflect on Unpaid Experience
Did you know that experience can be a key part of landing a job, even if it was unpaid? Make sure you include relevant unpaid experiences in your resume and during interviews.
For example, let’s say you are applying for a position in childcare. You may have not worked directly in childcare as a paid employee, but you have volunteered at your church’s daycare for the last 10 years. This is a relevant experience for the position.
5. Try Mock Interviews
Interviews can be intimidating. Ease your worries by practicing before you go to the interview. You can find a lot of sample interview questions online. Make sure the questions you practice are relevant to the job you are applying for.
Prepare your answers to common interview questions ahead of time. Ask a friend or family member to do a mock interview with you so that you can practice your answers. You may even want to find a professional job coach for a mock interview. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be when the time comes to do your actual interview.
6. Explore Staffing Agencies as an Option
Staffing agencies connect people with employers. There are many benefits to using a staffing agency, especially if you are reentering the workforce. As a job candidate, you should not have to pay fees to use the staffing agency.
Staffing firms often provide you with access to training resources. They also have relationships and credibility with a network of employers. While a staffing agency cannot guarantee you will get hired, they are in your corner. If a staffer finds that you are a good fit for a certain position, they advocate for you to help you get in the door.
Encore Staffing Network is a social venture of VANTAGE Aging. Encore specializes in connecting professionals with meaningful work in Cuyahoga, Lake, and Geauga Counties. Profits raised by the staffing agency flow back into addressing the needs of seniors through VANTAGE’s services.
7. Stay Positive
The importance of attitude is huge when it comes to reentering the workforce. It can be discouraging to send in resume after resume, only to not land any jobs. Keep your head up and continue to try strategies for finding the job you want.
Though it might sound counteractive, you should take breaks from your job search to stay positive. While it is important to be focused on your goal, you also need to maintain balance to avoid burnout.
Make time to spend with friends and family. Do activities that you enjoy, like going for a walk or trying out a new recipe. You might also consider joining a support group for older adults who are reentering the workforce. It is beneficial to connect with others who are going through similar experiences.
Are you 55 or older and trying to reenter the workforce? VANTAGE’s Workforce Solutions can help you find work through paid job training. Receive an individual employment plan while gaining skills through service. Income guidelines apply. Call 1-800-554-5335 or visit our Workforce page to learn more.
*The information in this article is intended solely to provide general information on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. This article should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, medical, or other competent advisors.
This workforce product was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The product was created by the recipient and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This product is copyrighted by the institution that created it.