When you have been out of a job for a long period -- whether you were laid off, unable to work due to illness, or took time off to be with children -- getting back into the workforce can seem a daunting task. Add to that concern the nation’s listless economy and still-high unemployment rate and it is easy to see why so many people are afraid their resumes and applications will get lost in the shuffle. However, there are plenty of helpful strategies job candidates can use to help them get back in the workforce following a lengthy absence.
Let's face it, there are so many things that one must do to prepare for a job search. You need to get serious about networking, re-establish relationships with potential references, brush up on interview skills. But the process still starts with the resume. Resume writing has changed significantly through the years and it is wise to get some career coaching to help with putting together this all-important document.
21st Century Methods Should Be Your Focus
When it comes to the job search itself, plenty of traditional methods are still valid. Go to your local career center, college job board, unemployment office, and any other places that have jobs posted. Do this on a set schedule if possible. You can also attend local job fairs. For these it’s a good idea to have some professional-looking business cards to hand out. Employment agencies and staffing firms are also still a great way to go when searching for a job and a career transition program can be a boon when looking for that next challenge.
There is so much available to the worker in transition that was not there just a few short years ago. Of course there’s LinkedIn, the professional’s social media lifeline. Create a LinkedIn profile if you don’t have one and improve it if you do. Join as many groups as you can that are related to the areas in which you want to work. Create a professional presence on other social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, and network through them. And while you can check out the online job boards, such as Monster and CareerBuilder, be aware of their limitations.
Don’t Forget to Use a Little Creativity
With so many people unemployed and so many companies inundated with literally thousands of resumes, you need to do something to stand out from the crowd. In other words, you need to be creative in how you apply for jobs. If you are a graphic designer, then submit a creative and attention-grabbing graphic with your application. If you are a writer, then write your application or cover letter in a unique way. An applicant for the site MoneyCrashers did just that, designing his cover letter to look like an eBay ad, and he got the job.
Finally, when you are in the midst of that all-important job search, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Exercise and other healthy habits are crucial to your overall frame of mind, and this is even more important at what can be a stressful time. With some self-care, some time spent on your job search each day, some help from an outplacement consultant, and adherence to strategies like these, you too can make that jump back into the workforce.