Returning to the Workforce

Returning to the workforce may sound scary, but it doesn't have to be!

Young or old, male or female, fresh off the last job or anticipating the next one, you need to consider how your resume looks if you have been out of the workforce for any length of time. Take some time to review your resume and polish it so that it really shines when a prospective employer takes a look at it.

Here are a few of the most common issues people have when returning to the workforce:

  • Lack of relevant (current) work experience
  • Lack of self-esteem/confidence
  • Limited or no knowledge of current software

Consider the following ways to address the issues listed above:

  1. Relevant, current work experience

    Just because you haven't had a quote-unquote "job" in a while doesn't mean your resume has to go blank.

    Volunteer or charity work is a great asset to capitalize upon when updating your resume. Tying your non-profit experience into your goals in a new job will definitely impress potential employers. If you have any of this kind of experience, don't leave it off your resume just because you didn't get paid for it. Your experience has value.

    You can also look at a prospective new job through work you do every day - even work at home. For example, doing a monthly budget in your household can be put down on a resume as "budgeting and money management skills." Be creative and think about what you do and how it can be translated into a positive on your resume. Again, just because you don't get a paycheck doesn't mean it isn't valuable.

    A great way to list your skills, whether from volunteer work or from your day-to-day responsibilities is by using a "Summary of Qualifications" section near the top of your resume. This way, you can highlight what you do well without having to prominently disclose the source(s) of your experience.

  2. Lack of self-esteem (self-confidence)

    If you are well-prepared, you will be confident. Likewise, if you are confident, you will be well-prepared. Even if your skills may not stack up against other candidates, having the right state of mind may put your resume up at the top. Much of who you are and how you approach life can be conveyed in your resume (as well as in your cover letter). Let your resume reflect your energy and passion.

    In addition, focus on all of the tasks, responsibilities and skills that will make you a good employee. The more you think about your successes, the more confidence you will gain.

  3. Limited or no knowledge of current software programs

    Today's computing companies are always updating their software. If you aren't confident in your technological skills, you can always brush up by taking courses at a local community college or even online. Being in the know with new technology is another key to employment success.

    If the only software you know is something from the early 80's, don't even list it on your resume. It will only date you.

Fortunately, according to a 2009 Census Bureau report, "researchers found that, despite many media stories to the contrary, most working mothers return to the workforce within a year after having a child." So, the likelihood of being completely out of touch isn't too great.

Just remember that everyone has something to offer in the workplace, no matter how long they've been out of the hunt, and returning to the workforce does not have to be an ordeal. Preparation and reflection are key elements to success.

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Additional Job Interview Q&A; Info

For even more information about job interview questions and how to answer them, consider the "Job Interview Success System."

One of the 5 key components of this system is a 31-page report entitled "How to Give Job-Winning Answers to Interview Questions." In addition to giving more tips and strategies on general answering techniques, it lists 45 of the easiest, toughest, silliest and most common job interview questions as well as how to respond to them.