Whether you are a military service person
reentering the civilian workforce, a retiree who was impacted by the recession, someone who took time off to pursue an education or a person who stopped working due to an illness or to care for a loved one, returning to the workforce after an extended period can be a challenge. Still, regardless of why you have been away or how long it has been, there are some ways to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Reevaluate Your Resume
Ensure all of your data is accurate, especially contact information. In addition to contact information, add examples of relevant skills to the top of your resume, to downplay employment gaps that may be unappealing to employers and do not be afraid add non-traditional jobs to your work history, such as volunteer work. Finally, use bullet points. Interviewers scan numerous resumes every day, which means they do not always have the time or desire to read the entire document, word for word. Bullet points help you show them that you are worth a second glance.
Sharpen Your Computer Skills
Not so much an issue if you have been earning your degree, but if you have been retired for the past few years, your computer skills may require some tweaking. There is no need to panic. Basic computer knowledge is a fairly universal skill, so chances are you know someone who can offer help in this department. Check with friends and family first, but if all else fails, many libraries and community centers offer beginner’s computer classes that can have your skills up to par in no time.
Aside from basic computer skills, it may be beneficial to join services through job search websites. Career sites like Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com not only provide employment listings, but they also offer tools, articles and job-seeker services to help you get the most out of your job search. Just be sure that you exercise caution when answering online job postings and never provide personal information such as your social security number or bank account information. Requests for such information are typically a red flag that the poster is attempting to scam you out of money or steal your identity.
Prepare for Interviews
Even if you have not been called for an interview, it never hurts to be prepared. Choose professional, job-appropriate attire that you will wear. Next, work on interview questions. This works well if you have a friend or neighbor who can pretend to be the interviewer. Questions about future goals, prized accomplishments and awards or your interest in the job can catch candidates off-guard. Even seemingly simple requests, like “Tell me a little about yourself,” can prompt a long silence if you have not prepared. So, practice your answers to common interview questions and prevent those awkward pauses that can give the impression that you are ill-equipped to handle pressure.
To stand out above your competition, you have to be exactly who the employer is looking for. Do not lose an opportunity because of a minor oversight, it may be a while before your next one presents itself.