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If you’ve been out of the job market for one or two – or even 10 or more – years, the thought of heading back in can be daunting. The key to success lies in understanding what a prospective employer’s concerns about hiring you might be, and structuring your resume, interview responses and other job search strategies around addressing them.

Even if you’ve been out of work by your own choice – to care for your family or pursue other goals – hiring managers really don’t have a conspiracy against you. Their goal is to hire the best candidate for a position, period. However, an employment gap of any kind will likely raise questions that you need to be prepared to answer, such as:

  • Are your skills current?
  • Have you kept up with relevant industry trends?
  • What transferable skills and strengths can you bring to your new position?

Here are some simple steps to get you started.

Update Your Skills

Look at the skills an employer is requiring as a baseline to qualify for a job. Be strategic about highlighting those you already have, and acquiring or updating those areas where you may be lacking.

  • Take a class, read industry publications, or join or reactivate your membership in a professional association. Just a few hours a month spent on relevant reading can make a tremendous difference. Professional groups provide great networking opportunities and give you a chance to practice your pitch and interview skills before you hit the official recruiting circuit.

Build Your Online Presence

Update and clean up your online presence by using these tips:

  • Removing any inappropriate content or images of you. There’s nothing wrong with tasteful pictures of your family vacation or other leisure activities. But get rid of any questionable material that may make you look less than professional.
  • Creating or updating your LinkedIn profile. Try contacting former co-workers and colleagues to see if they’ll write recommendations and help you expand your network of connections. Start to follow companies you might be interested in working for, as well.

Explain Your Employment Gap

Consider using a skills-based resume versus a chronological one. This way, you can highlight the transferable capabilities that align with the requirements of your desired job.

  • Also consider freelancing, part-time or contact work as a step back into working. This will further help build your skill set, and also confirm you’re serious about restarting your career.
  • Put your life experiences to work for you. They also may translate into valuable transferable skills. If you served your school PTA as treasurer, highlight your bookkeeping and financial strengths. If you volunteered at a hospital or nursing home, tout your knowledge of medical terminology and comfort level working in a healthcare environment.

The support of an experienced recruiter can be invaluable as you gear up to reenter the workforce. The PrideStaff Modesto team of experts has access to temporary and full-time positions, as well as related contacts, resources and market intelligence to help you succeed. Contact us today to learn more.

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