Have you been out of the workforce for a while and need to get back to work? Here are five steps to help you prepare for re-entering the workforce:
- Update your résumé. Your résumé needs to be two pages or less and needs to account for all of your working years after you graduated high school or college. You also need to account for the years that you were out of the workforce, whether it is because you were a stay-at-home parent, took time off to travel or for other reasons. Employers want to know this, but keep it brief.
- Create or update your LinkedIn profile. If you do not already have a LinkedIn profile, you need to create one. This will allow you to set up a profile and list all of your experience or update your experience if you are already a member. Most importantly, it will allow you to connect with people from your past who may lead you to your next position.
- Make a list of everyone who you know in your city, both professionally and personally. Start with past co-workers and former supervisors from your former professional life and then work your way down the list to include those individuals who you know from church, your community, friends, neighbors and family. Begin to connect with these individuals on LinkedIn and let them know that you are reentering the workforce and would be grateful if they kept you in mind as they hear of job opportunities in your field.
- Make contact with your professional references. As you interview for positions, you will need to provide at least two professional references. These need to be individuals who have supervised your work in the past. It is better for you to dust off the professional references that you have used in the past, reach out to them to get their permission to use them as a reference again and have their contact information ready to send versus waiting until you are far along in the interview process to reconnect with your references. It may take a while for you to find their current information and hear back from them so start this process now. Who knows? They may want to hire you again.
- Be realistic about your salary expectations. If you have been out of the workforce for more than a couple of years, you need to be realistic about your salary expectations. Most fields constantly change. If you haven’t worked in your chosen field for a few years, your worth to the market has decreased. Don’t let this discourage you. Just understand that you are probably not going to get paid what you were making when you left your field, and set your expectations accordingly.