Returning to work after a short or long hiatus presents job seekers with unique challenges. Not only do you have to account for resume gaps, you must also maintain sharp skills to showcase in every-changing industries that rely heavily on technology. Highlight your qualifications and develop a strong narrative to return to the workforce with confidence and skills employers can't resist.
Construct a Clear Narrative
Many employers are going to be curious about your resume gaps. Therefore, it's crucial you develop a well-crafted story that thoroughly explains your leave of absence without revealing any information about family status or health conditions that may be used as a basis for unintentional or intentional discrimination. Before returning to work, work with a professional mentor or member of your network to craft a response that shows you are eager and committed to rejoining the workforce. For example, you may highlight that you took time off to sharpen your skills, return to school or tend to personal obligations that allowed you time to rethink your professional goals and career aspirations. Show the employer, though your narrative, how you put careful thought into your planning and that you are eager and prepared to join the team.
Update Your Application Materials
During your absence, there may have been significant changes in the way your industry operates. Update your resume to show that you have worked to keep your skills sharp. For instance, if new software programs have dominated the field, spend time getting familiar with the software, and note your proficiency on your resume. Update your cover letter, too, to include portions of your narrative that thoroughly and professionally explains gaps in your employment to ward off any assumptions from potential employers. Develop your online presence as well. Update your LinkedIn profile, establish yourself as an expert in the industry by sharing professional articles on social media accounts and connect with other professionals to obtain job leads. Ease the transition of returning to work by showing that you are knowledgeable of updates in your field and ready to take on leadership roles, regardless of a break in employment.
Expand Your Network
When time allows, work to expand your professional network before returning to work. As a future job seeker, you'll benefit from socializing with industry experts and people who can positively influence your efforts when returning to work. Join professional organizations and take advantage of continuing education workshops and seminars that help you to sharpen your skills. Finding a mentor to help you with your job search is also a beneficial strategy.
Returning to work after a long absence might be challenging. However, by showing that show you developed your skills, you can impress potential employers, causing them to focus less on the reason for any gaps in employment.
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