By Lisa Gorman, Career Coach
In the back of my mind I always knew I was going back into the workforce. When the time had come that I couldn’t procrastinate any longer, I was scared, hesitant and full of concerns. Re-entering the workplace after a gap can seem like an overwhelming and daunting process. Where and how do you begin? Who would take a chance on me? Am I too old? How will I convince employers of my extensive skills and experience from prior years in the corporate world even though I took a break? Will I have the energy and confidence to go back full-time? Am I up to speed with the latest technology required in order to function in the business world? How will I update my resume to stay competitive?
Don’t let those thoughts swimming around in your mind keep you from getting back out there and moving ahead. Look at this as an opportunity to start a new chapter in your professional life that may be a bit challenging at first but certainly will be both rewarding and meaningful. Forget that image in your mind of the career ladder that you stepped off or maybe even moved sideways, thinking that you’ll never be able to get to the next rung. Sheryl Sandberg teaches us in her bestselling book, Lean In, that “Ladders are limiting. Jungle gyms offer more creative exploration. There are many ways to get to the top of a jungle gym. The ability to forge a unique path with occasional dips, detours and even dead ends presents a better chance for fulfillment.” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/08/14/how-opt-out-women-can-opt-back-into-jobs/)
As you develop your personal RE-ENTRY plan consider these tips to help you on your journey:
- RETHINK – Be flexible! Don’t only consider the jobs you had before you left the workforce. Be open to all types of possibilities. Once you re-enter the workforce it will be easier to move around down the road.
- RECONNECT – Connect with people from your past jobs. Make new connections with other parents, teachers, volunteers and social contacts. You never know where your next job lead or employment contact will come from. Networking opportunities are all around you!
- RESEARCH – Explore different jobs by reading job postings online. Familiarize yourself with social media and learn how to use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to enhance your job search. Use all your resources to get as much information as you can regarding companies, contacts and your local community.
- RELAUNCH – Think about what is a good fit for you right now. It’s ok if you can’t get right back where you left off in your last position. It’s easy to get discouraged but put your ego aside and be open to various opportunities, even if the level or pay of the position is lower than you had years ago. Priorities change and although your salary may be lower your job may be more meaningful.
- RENEW – Get up to speed so that when you are networking with people and talking with potential employers you will know what you are talking about. Know what’s been happening in your field and in the news. Get back into the business loop so you can become an active participant.
As you embark on this exciting adventure don’t forget to stop along the way and REFLECT on what you can bring to a job, especially as those concerns and fears pop back into your head. REWARD yourself for all you have accomplished both personally and professionally. Celebrate the steps you are taking to get back in the game and remember all the years of valuable work and life experience you have to share. Be patient, creative and mindful and you will likely pave your way to exciting and satisfying new opportunities.
If you are going back to work after time off to raise kids, join us to learn strategies for managing the stress of playing career catch up and finding the balance between work and family. The free event will be Thursday, November 3, 2016 from 9:30am– 11:30am at the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC in the Morstein Performa. Call 410-843-7467 or click here for more information.
By Lisa Gorman, JCS Career Coach
The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment assistance that helps job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resume and cover letter services, interview preparation, job readiness training, vocational rehabilitation and job placement assistance.