Reentering the workforce after taking time off? Here's how to get started.

by Argosy University 18 October 2013

opening doorPeople step away from their careers from time to time for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you needed to care for your children or an aging family member, or perhaps a health concern of your own came up.

Whatever the reason, taking time off is nothing to be ashamed of, but when it comes to reentering the workforce, many men and women wind up feeling insecure about their history.

When it's time for you to get back to business, follow these important tips.


1. Look for Opportunities

The perfect position rarely drops in your lap, so be on the lookout for ways to use your skills for profit. Make sure to utilize your connections and network through your friends and family. You may be surprised by who your contacts know and the ways they're willing to put those relationships to work for you.

2. Walk With Confidence

Too many times, people feel guilty or less competitive than other candidates because they left to care for children or an ailing family member. Sometimes you may feel anxious about being judged for such a decision. However, don't forget that making that kind of sacrifice means you are reliable and loyal person, even in difficult times. Carry that confidence into your interviews, and let your pride shine.

3. Put Your Best Face Forward

How you present yourself during the first seconds of an interview can mean the difference between being hired or passed over. Dress your best, or at least one step above the other people in the office (Remember, you're interviewing. You aren't hired yet.) If you haven’t interviewed in a while, do a mock interview with a friend or family member. Be prepared to talk about your goals and your reasons (other than the financial need) for wanting to go back to work.

4. Brush up on Your Skills

A recent study by Work+Life+Fit, Inc. pointed to a startling statistic. Over 60 percent of hiring managers said whether a candidate had updated skills was their number one consideration when deciding to whom to give the job. Before striking out at interviews or wasting time and money sending out resumes, consider whether your knowledge is up-to-date and if you might benefit from having another degree.

5. Keep Personal Matters Personal

Whether you're interviewing or working your first few days on the job, make sure you stay professional. It can be hard to make the transition between being home and caring for people all day long to being back in a business environment. Making the right impression on your coworkers is important to having a good first experience, so keep conversations pleasant without getting too personal. Once you've made good friends, you can trade family stories outside of work.

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Leaving the home and getting back into the workplace can be difficult and nervewracking. The biggest hump to overcome is realizing that you don't have to be less valuable just because of a break. When you use that time to your benefit by brushing up on your skills or learning new ones, it can actually increase your hiring appeal.

Get started on improving your prospects today.