Re-entering the Workforce Tips

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Is networking important when re entering the workforce?

Start Networking

With so many things to consider as you take the first steps in your return back to work, it's absolutely crucial that you enlist the help of those around you by networking. Networking is the development and the maintenance of relationships with others in your field, in the hope that casting a wide net will yield more plentiful job tips.

Networking is not as intimidating as it sounds. It's a gradual process that starts with your immediate circle of friends and family, and eventually becomes second nature. Start by reaching out to those in your immediate circle. Odds are if they don't have any job leads, they'll know someone else who might.

If you have no family and you don't know a lot of people, that's no obstacle to successful networking. Start attending industry functions, such as seminars and trade shows, and talk to people. You may be surprised at the results, and at how far networking can take you.

What’s the best way to brush up on my skills after being out of work?

Overhaul Your Skills

Once you've made the decision to re-enter the workforce, there are a few things you should do to improve your chances at landing a job. Just as a fighter emerging from retirement needs to train in order to regain speed, accuracy and a deadly punch, you'll need to perform an overhaul of your skills in order to guarantee they're up to par.

Assess your weaknesses, and work on them. Take a few classes, attend a few seminars, and read up on your chosen profession to ensure you're up-to-date with the latest industry trends.

In addition to self study, professional staffing agencies administer aptitude tests to determine your strengths and weaknesses in order to place you into positions that best match your skill level. By working with a staffing agency you can learn what it is you need to work on, while taking advantage of the employment opportunities they have to offer.

How can I prevent being judged too old to find work?

The Question of Age and Discrimination

Everyone knows that age discrimination is a crime, but not everyone is willing to take their chances testing an employer's commitment to non-discrimination at the risk of losing out on a job opportunity.

The fact is that an employer can get in trouble for even asking your age. The best way to deal with this issue is by not dealing with it at all. Leave your age off your resume. If you feel that your extensive work history gives indication to your age, remember that a resume doesn't have to contain every single job you ever held. Only positions held during the last twenty years are relevant. You can also use a functional resume to accentuate your abilities without offering specific timetables.

Many online resources and job recruiters offer resume advice to those entering the workforce after long periods of time, as well as help finding career opportunities.

How can a functional resume help me if I have long periods of unemployment on my resume?

The Functional Resume

Individuals returning back to work should consider a functional resume in place of the traditional chronological resume. Presenting a functional resume could be the tool that serves to emphasize your qualifications over any long periods of employment inactivity.

A functional resume groups your work experiences and skills by areas of specific focus. Instead of providing a timeline of where you worked and when you worked there, the functional resume accentuates your areas of expertise by grouping together examples of your experiences that may have taken place a decade or two apart, in different jobs.

This approach is also frequently used by individuals with little to no experience in the field in which they're pursuing work. Knowing when to use a functional resume can make all the difference. If you're seeking work through a staffing agency, this may not even be necessary as the recruiter does all of the work in matching you up with potential employers.

What aspects of today’s workforce have changed from the past?

The More Things Change

Re-entering the workforce can be a scary proposition, especially for those that have been out of the game for years—but it doesn't have to be, and there are plenty of resources available to you to ensure that your comeback is a successful one.

Whether you've decided to leap back into the fray by taking on full-time work, or if you'd rather move into part-time work, it's important to keep in mind that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Employers are still looking for individuals with a good work ethic. The old-school values of pride in work and enthusiasm have not lost their value. If anything, they're in greater demand now.

Apart from minor technological advances, the only thing that has and continues to change and grow is the way people are finding work these days. Professional recruiters are an excellent resource for catching up to speed and getting back in the game.

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Susan Sayour