June 19, 2018

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Three Steps For Women To Re-enter The Workforce

It's not unusual for a woman to take an extended leave from her professional life. Returning to work, however, presents significant challenges. If you are a woman struggling to get back to work read on to discover three tips to put you back on your career path.

For women, of the the toughest career challenge is returning to work after an extended break from professional life. There are many reasons for breaks in employment, for instance:

* To care for young children

* Assisting aging parents

* To pursue a degree

* Regaining personal health

* Extended job search

Regardless of the reason each woman faces the same challenge: getting back into the workforce without taking a step backward professionally. To ease the transition, there are three job search strategies that can help optimize your re-employment results:

  1. Design your resume around your transferable skills

    The primary question asked by women returning to work is what to do about gaps in their resume. That's the first and best question to ask. The answer is to identify the transferable skills you used while you were unemployed. Skills gained off the job translate into corporate assets that every potential employer values: event planning, problem solving, conflict resolution, and negotiation skills, to name a few. Think about your employment "gap" as the time you learned and sharpened transferable skills.

    Many women spend a part of their employment sabbatical serving others in some sort of volunteer or pro bono capacity. For instance, serving on PTA or other youth group or church boards, neighborhood associations, or community sports functions. Any work performed with others toward a common goal allows opportunities to strengthen and exhibit skills needed on any job. Think of what you have accomplished in helping to cut costs, save time, increase participation or raise funds. You may be surprised how much you have achieved during your time away from your professional life.

  2. Reconnect with your network

    Extended unemployment leads to professional isolation. Those who are already employed have the advantage of learning about jobs through their professional association peers and company grapevine.

    If you have been "out of the loop" with your old professional network, it's time to reconnect. Look up former colleagues to let them know you are actively seeking opportunities for reemployment. This is no time to be shy. Ask their advice about whom to contact within their company that might be interested in your skills and experiences.

    You may be saying, "But I never had a network to begin with!" Well, it's never to late to build your network. Seek out one of the many associations for professional women in your area. There is no better place to meet new contacts who can help you in your job search than a women's networking event. Don't forget your college alumni—a rich source of potential career contacts. One thing hasn't changed, people get hired quicker through people they know and like.

  3. Learn better interview skills

    Interviewing is a skill that must be kept sharp. If you've been our of work for a year or more chances are your interview skills are rusty. Poor interview skills leads to lack of confidence. Nothing is less impressive in an interview than low self confidence.

    Interview preparation that includes building a list of accomplishments is one of the best ways to restore confidence. Accomplishments are developed by identifying the major problems and challenges you have overcome, whether on the job or off. Accomplishment statements are valuable interview material, helping you prove your ability to meet prospective employers challenges.

Transitioning back to work need not mean taking what you can get out of desperation. You've spent your time wisely, now translate that experience in terms employers see as potential value to their organization. Now get going!

- Deborah Walker, CCMC

Resume Writer ~ Career Coach

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