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Returning to the job market after many years?

Be prepared and do it right! Stepping back into the shoes of a job seeker can be stressful for anyone. If you have been steadily employed for many years, and suddenly find yourself needing to look for a new employer, it is not uncommon to feel worried, stressed and overwhelmed. If the last sentence rings true to you at the moment, here are some key pointers that will help you prepare for this challenge and face this new opportunity with renewed energy and confidence. Rest assured! You can do this, and you can do it well too!


1. Give it some thought. What do you want to do now?

Take a step back and think about it. You have an opportunity to make a change now, or at least a conscious decision about what you want to do next. What was it about your previous job that you liked, disliked, or even excelled at?

If you could choose your next professional challenge, what would it be? Take some time to research the possibilities out there, and allow yourself to be a little bit pickier about your plans this time around. Although it may not work out exactly how you envision this ideal scenario, give yourself the opportunity to reflect on your objectives, and match the market against them.

Related: Re-Entering the Workforce: Are you Ready to Dive Back In?

2. Assess your skills. You have way more than you think, and many of them are likely transferable skills.

We often have a tendency to take some of our skills, strengths and experience for granted. The fact is that your previous experience likely taught you a lot, and these skills are actually quite transferable to another position or industry.

Take the time to write out what you were responsible for in your previous day to day tasks, and compare this skillset with your new objectives. Ask yourself ‘Why would I be a good candidate for this position?’ You will hopefully quickly realise that doing X at company ABC means that you are also competent to do Y at company DEF.

3. Update your resume

Your resume is your marketing tool! Basically, it becomes you on paper. This is a huge part of your new job search. Take the time do it right. Invest in your future. There is no excuse to cut corners here: You need to equip your new representative with as much ammo as possible to sell you to a new potential employer.

Whether you opt to do it yourself or task a professional service to help you with this, make sure that your new resume is current, professional and tailored to your field of interest, both in terms of content and presentation.

There are loads of resources on the web that can help you with this. Start your research! You will be surprised to find all these new things to learn about how you can brand yourself for this new job search.

4. Update your LinkedIn profile. Don’t have one? Get one!

In today’s market, a strong online presence is important, even yet, it is expected of you. Companies and recruiters use LinkedIn as a main source to find quality candidates, and one of their first reflex will be to look you up once they are interested in your profile.

If you have a LinkedIn profile, make sure that it is current, and that the information you are displaying about yourself portrays the image you want of yourself. There are a multitude of articles online about building a strong LinkedIn profile. Take the time to look some up, and invest some time in applying some of these learnings to your own profile. Remember that profiles with pictures are proven to attract much more viewers than the ones without once, and that a professional picture is crucial. This is not Facebook!

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you should! If you are not comfortable building it yourself, seek advice or professional help. This is a great investment in your job search efforts, if done right. Remember that a LinkedIn profile will expose you to many new opportunities, granted that recruiters can find you online. At the same time, employers use LinkedIn to post plenty of job openings because they know that LinkedIn will expose them to a pool of very strong candidates. These jobs often never even make it to the other popular job boards, so make sure not to miss an opportunity!

5. Inform yourself on today’s job market & trends

The job market is an ever evolving world, and has likely significantly changed since you applied for your last job. Gone are the days when you were expected to apply in person, or when that was even an option. A quick search through the major online job boards will already give you a good idea of the steps you will have to follow once you are ready to start applying. They all have great career advice sections too. Go browse around a little!

By the same token, we encourage you to follow some key opinion leaders in the job hunting industry. You can do so by reading some of the articles posted on the major job boards, registering for some of their email newsletters, following some influencers on LinkedIn, or even following some of them through various social media platforms.

Through this process, you will undoubtedly also discover some new websites and job boards that you never came across before, where you will find additional job postings. Great! You are getting there! That’s what we call killing two birds with one stone!

6. Research your employers of choice

By now, your confidence & readiness levels have likely gone up. Fantastic! Now that you are a strong candidate, give it some thought: Who would you like to work for?

As you begin and slowly refine your search for jobs or employers of interest to you, you will probably start seeing some common threads between them, either in terms of job requirements, expectations or responsibilities. When that happens, revisit points 2, 3 and 4 above, and make sure that your content is refined to address these particular common threads.

Speak your audience’s language by using their key terminology, show that you understand their business needs and market yourself in that light!

7. Feeling ready? Go ahead, start applying!

Okay! You successfully completed all the steps in order to prepare for your new job search. You took a step back to clarify why you are such a strong candidate, you observed the environment you were about to step in, you studied your audience of choice, and you prepared your marketing tools to catch their attention. Congratulations! You are ready!

Go ahead! Break the ice. Submit your first application!

8. Be confident! You have lots to offer! Remember that.

Searching for a job can be a full time job in itself. Remember that this is a process. Be patient, but keep your positive energy up! The only thing that was truly in your control was your preparation, and you did that like a champ!

Be confident! We know that you will do great! Good luck! (Not that you need any!)

photo by: ceciliadom

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