Have you spent the last few years raising a family, serving in the military, or coping with an illness? Whatever your reason for leaving the workforce, it can be challenging and intimidating finding a way back in. Below are tips for reentering the workforce to help you land your next role and get you up to speed as quickly as possible.

1. Do your research.

While you may think “taking just a few years away” isn’t long, the job market can evolve in just a short period of time. It’s important to understand what types of roles companies are looking for, and what skills you’ll need to land those jobs.

2. Update your skills.

If you haven’t kept up with new developments in your field, it’s normal for some of your skills to slip or become outdated. You’ve likely fallen behind the competition, and you’ll need to do some catching-up.

Spend a few hours a day researching the latest trends in your industry by reading books, blogs, videos, articles, and other resources. Also, consider taking a few classes or getting a diploma or certificate. This will help you gain the skills and knowledge specific to the job that you want. Plus, having it on your resume may give you a competitive edge over other applicants.

3. Update your resume.

Your time away might make you feel like you have nothing new to add to your resume, but many times that’s not true. Try to think of any projects, volunteer work, classes, or skills you have developed during your break.

Be upfront with your employment gap, but demonstrate that you’ve dedicated time to improving yourself as a worker and human being. Focus on your skills and successes, and be able to explain how these can relate to the job you’re now applying for.

adult worker

4. Consider temporary or part-time work.

The reality of reentering the workforce is that you might have to make some compromises, especially in the beginning. Be open to temporary, part-time, project or contract work.

These types of jobs can be a great opportunity to ease into the workforce before taking on a full-time schedule. Temporary positions also allow you to sample different roles and companies, which will help you figure out where you fit best.

5. Be confident.

Getting back into the job search can be nerve-racking! However, it’s important to approach this process with a positive attitude, confidence in yourself, and confidence in your own abilities.

Practice answering common interview questions until it comes naturally. Whenever you get discouraged, remember where your strengths lie: education, experience, soft skills and determination.

With time, patience and perseverance, the right job will come your way.

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