June 21, 2021

A few tips for re-entering the workforce


Whether it’s been six months or six years since you last had employment, any gap in a resume can seem daunting. You are bound to be asked about what you have been doing since your last role or what is motivating you in this new one. Unfortunately, it is a common reality here in 2020, so it is important to arm yourself to be ready to jump into a new position and move forward.

Understand Thyself

As you look at positions and organizations you are interested in joining, it is important to have taken the time to understand your story so you can articulate it moving ahead.

  • What caused your break or career transition, are you ready to be back?

  • What is most important for you in a new position, is it money, the growth in work, or coming home being fulfilled in what you’ve accomplished?

  • Have I missed out on any industry trends or changes I need to prepare for?

Setting realistic expectations and understanding your strengths and shortcomings due to an employment gap is helpful to prepare for. Having answers or an understanding ready, keeps you prepared and helps you avoid stumbling through questions on the fly. Job searches already take time, being aware of the realities and the challenges of the task you are undertaking will help you have the courage to keep pushing and be fully satisfied when you succeed.

Build Yourself

It is always important to place the best information in front of a prospective employer, whether it’s a resume, a portfolio, or a complete LinkedIn profile, but if you are re-entering the workforce after some time away, cross-functional and transferable skills are even more important to articulate. Teamwork, collaboration, and communication can seem “buzzword-y” but they are skills that don’t need upgraded certifications like technology or software skills may.

Showcase your experience and wins in environments that have clear business implications. (ROI, % Increase, Revenue Generated) Having strong data points to fall back on helps individuals see your impact, and shows that you know your own value and can cite it as needed.

Personal growth outside of employment matters too. Attending professional conferences, obtaining certifications, working on volunteer or start-up projects, all show you are not just sitting at home twiddling your thumbs. 

Research and Communicate

It’s never a good idea to jump into a job search unprepared. It is helpful to create a plan and start executing it as soon as you’ve determined you are ready.

  1. Network

    • Alert your friends, family, and network that you’re looking and open a dialogue about your search.

    • Start with those that know you best – you’ll have the most success talking to former co-workers that know you and your capabilities.

    • Join networking groups and attend (virtual) networking or professional development events to chat with others in your field.

  2. Research

  3. Practice

    • Practice your personal pitch and story.

    • Write out answers to commonly asked questions so you’re prepared with relevant examples when asked.

    • Perform a mock interview with friends and family to have experience answering questions in person, over phone, or via video conference confidently.

Final Considerations

Transitioning into a new field or re-entering the workforce after a break is no easy task. Organizations will look at ways to test your experience and aptitude to pick up or refresh your skills. No one wants to take a step to the side or back, but taking a more junior position or part-time role is also an excellent way to get your foot in the door and show your value. Considering multiple avenues into organizations is important and a way to show both interest and willingness on your part as a candidate.

If you have any questions or would like to chat, feel free to reach me at mtokarz@hirewell.com

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