Not everyone is meant to work 40, 50, or 60 straight years. Not everyone gets a job at twenty and very few people get through their entire career without taking a short break, voluntary or not. We retire early, go on an extended maternity leave, join the Peace Corps, or any number of other things between jobs. And, that’s totally fine.
Problems arise when you’re headed back into the job market after a gap in employment. Things have changed. The economy is different, industries have shifted, and the job search is more challenging and competitive than ever.
Jumping back into the job search can be an overwhelming, scary experience, but you can do something about it.
Tips for job seekers jumping in after a long employment gap:
1. Learn: Unless you work in medieval map restoration, your industry is constantly changing. Companies fall in and out of favor, profits fluctuate, and processes change all the time. Do some research and learn where your unique skills and experience fit best, and how they create a competitive advantage for you in the job hunt.
2. Assess: The job search requires a great deal of self-evaluation. As a worker, who are you? What do you have to offer prospective employers? Why do you want to work in this industry?
If it’s been a while since you worked, how has the industry changed? Figure out what skills make you a competitive applicant and which ones are irrelevant. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but honesty is key.
3. Re-build: If you haven’t been job seeking in more than a month or two, you’ll need to rebuild your job search tool kit. Look at your resume, your portfolio, personal website, and even your professional wardrobe.
Some things may stay the same, but you’ll find you might need to completely re-haul others.
4. Join the conversation: Not too long ago, the hiring process was rigid and regimented. Job seeker submits an application, hiring manager processes it, an interview happens, and a job pops out. Thanks to today’s technology, this process has loosened considerably. Job seekers can connect with their peers and important people in the industry to score job leads and advice.
If you haven’t already, join one or more social media site(s) (we suggest Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and/or the top discussion board forums for your profession). Make connections with people in your industry. Join a conversation and you could be talking to your next boss!
5. Start off slow: Just like running a marathon, sculpting a pot, or writing a novel, start things off slow and steady. If you’ve been out of work for a while, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with everything at once. Make a list of all the things you need to do in your job search and consistently knock one or two off the list every day.
Once you get back in the swing of things, you’ll find that you don’t need a list anymore, and you won’t be burnt out either.
What do you think? What other steps should job seekers take after a long employment gap? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
From: Business Insider