By: Dr. Helen Ofosu
Employment After an Extended Absence From the Workforce
Recently, I have had a few questions about the idea of getting back into the workforce after an extended absence due to due to unemployment or family/personal obligations. First, I’ll say that both of these scenarios are common and that neither situation is a deal-breaker. In other words, every single day someone is returning to the workforce after an extended absence.
If you have been out of the workforce then you should make your availability for work known. This can be accomplished by reconnecting with people who you know who are employed since they may be great leads for job openings. Plus, these people may be willing to vouch for you if there are openings where they work. Despite all the talk about objectivity and level playing fields, many jobs are filled through informal networks and are filled without any public advertising.
Once your friends, family, neighbours, and other contacts who you may know through your gym, church, hobbies, etc. have been advised that you’re looking for work, another thing to consider is volunteering. You might consider volunteering for strategic experience – that is volunteering in roles that will help you build your resume while also building your network. Another option is volunteering for personal reasons whereby you work on something you’re passionate about and good at. When you are contributing to something that you have a genuine interest in, you’ll be motivated and engaged. When you’re excited about what you’re doing, you’re more likely to give your best effort. Ideally, this will mean that you’ll be seen while performing well and you may gain the attention of people in positions of influence.
Another good thing to put in place is a profile on LinkedIn. That way, while you are reconnecting with people in the workforce and networking with others who may have job leads for you, you can make use of the powerful LinkedIn platform as a way to share your contact information and a little bit about your skills and interests. Many jobs are actually posted on LinkedIn and employers often look for and/or research job candidates on LinkedIn. When it comes to actually applying for a job, you are likely to need an actual resume in addition to your online profile.
Need help dealing with a delicate or high-stakes career or HR issue? I invite you to contact me privately. I offer a free 15 to 20-minute initial consultation by phone. Or, if you prefer, you can contact me by email, or via direct message on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
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