If you’ve been out of work for a while due to the pandemic or other reasons, but feel like it’s time to come back, you might be a little nervous about what to expect.
The world of work has changed in the past two years: Remote and hybrid working options are available now in many workplaces that would not have considered it previously. There’s a better understanding and respect for people wanting to have a stronger work-life balance. There might even be more flexibility for scheduling.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare to re-enter the world of work and things to keep in mind as you prepare to take that step.
Practice your skills.
If you loved doing cartwheels or handstands as a kid but haven’t done them in years, you probably won’t get it right on the first try if you decide to do it again. The same is true for professional skills, too. We get rusty when we don’t use skills for a while. Before you re-enter the workplace, take some time to get yourself up to speed. Find tutorials online for office skills you’ve used previously to get caught up on the latest tools and tricks for making spreadsheets, fully utilizing all Word has to offer, improving your typing skills, etc. A little brushing up now can make you a stronger candidate when the time comes to interview and get back to work.
Revamp your resume.
While the gap on your resume will be a point of conversation during your interview, you can make your abilities stand out and help the argument that you’re the candidate to hire. Take a look at your resume and see how you can highlight your abilities, accomplishments and skills. Ask some friends if there are better ways to phrase and word your work experiences to modernize some expressions and catch more attention. The way in which resumes are written and expected to look, change so often it’s hard to keep up! There are great tutorials available online for free that can help you with formatting to make sure you’re presenting yourself and your skills in the best possible light.
Start networking in new places.
If you haven’t created a LinkedIn account, or haven’t used yours in a while, it’s time to log in again and start networking. Since getting together in person might not be an option where you live, see which groups are available on LinkedIn, or with academic or professional groups that pertain to your background and job interests, and start connecting with people. Maybe you’ll get back in touch with a former colleague who can let you in on good job possibilities in your field, or perhaps you’ll bump into a former boss who would love to welcome you back to the office. Local colleges and professional groups can be a big help here as well, as many offices are still trying to re-staff from the pandemic and people changing jobs in the past two years. Opportunity is everywhere!
Practice your interview skills.
Just like anything else, interviewing is a skill that can get rusty if not practiced regularly. If you haven’t been through an interview in a while, call on some friends to help. Some questions are asked during just about every interview — questions like “Tell me about yourself” and “Why are you a good fit for this position” to ones about your background and, of course, why there’s a gap in your resume — and having the chance to practice your answers before you’re in a somewhat stressful job interview, when you have the time to think about your response, can help you walk in with confidence. You’ll feel prepared and will make a better impression if you know exactly what to say in advance.
Start your search with a focus.
When the time comes to start applying for jobs, have a particular vision in mind of what you want to do. Understand how your skills can be utilized and the positions in which you feel you’d do best, then go after those jobs. Prepare cover letters that are tailored to each position and highlight your strengths to entice hiring managers to read on to your resume. Being focused, instead of applying to anything and everything geographically close to you, means you’re spending your time on high-quality opportunities for which you are qualified, helping you keep yourself on the right track as your job search begins.
If you’re looking to jump back to work, Sterling Personnel can help find the right job!
All of this might feel a little overwhelming and intimidating. Sterling Personnel can help! We not only partner with great companies who will appreciate your experience and skills, we can help you find a great placement that will work well for you. Or, if you’d rather start off slowly before diving in, we have temporary jobs available as well to help get you back into the groove.