When you've been out of the workplace for any significant length of time it can be daunting to figure out how to reenter. Maybe you've been home with the kids or experienced a layoff. No matter what the cause, there are a few important things to consider before jumping back into the fray.
- Google yourself- Your digital presence should communicate the right message. Make sure your social media tells the right story. Is your LinkedIn profile current and well-populated with your achievements? Are your profile pictures current and appropriate for your industry? More often than not, potential employers will google you before they interview you. What message will your digital profile communicate? Conduct a digital audit of all your social media platforms as well as any images and mentions on other pages. Your cousin said she would take down the pictures of that ill-fated trip to Vegas for the bachelorette party. Did she?
- Develop your elevator pitch- What do you want? What can you do? What have you been doing? You'll be asked these questions a million times before its all said and done. Take the time to craft a serious answer. Central to this is speaking about your time out of the workforce in a way that is positive, not apologetic. Be upbeat and optimistic with a future orientation. You haven't "just been home with the kids". You have "gotten your children from diapers to school and now you're ready for the next big challenge in your life". People feed off your energy. Be careful not to communicate unworthiness or second-class citizenship. Present yourself as an equal and others will treat you as such.
- Get up to speed- Business moves at the speed of light these days. Technology has totally changed the game. While you've been out, some of the rules and tools might have changed. Read up on your industry. Know who the thought leaders are. Use Google Alerts to keep abreast of relevant news. Also, make sure you hit the refresh button by taking the time to sharpen the skills necessary to compete. In some ways, you have the advantage of time to learn the newest skills which may give you an edge. Luckily, there are so many tools available online and off to equip you. From career coaches to MOOCs like Skillshare, Lynda and Coursera. People have learned to make a bomb on YouTube. Surely, you can learn Prezi or pivot tables in Advanced Excel.
- Get your mind right- Get ready for lots of nos. Don't take them to heart. Remember, its a numbers game. You only need one yes. Exercise, eat right and get plenty of sleep. Get dressed and out of the house every day if possible. Self care is the critical ingredient to being mentally sharp and maintaining a positive mood. Job hunting is a marathon not a sprint. Prepare yourself and treat looking for a job like your job. Put in the time and you'll be in your new gig in no time.