Professional Moms How to Get Ready to Re-enter the Workforce

By: Lynn Green

Finally! Your youngest is in school and you are ready to hitthe job market after an extended absence. As you scrape thelast of the Fruit Loops from the kitchen table, you ponder a fewunfortunate truths:

&bullYour network has gone stale &bullYour industry contacts have movedon

&bullYou are not in the loop anymore.

Face the facts: you are at a disadvantage compared to thosewho have been in the job market continuously. You need awinning job search methodology to jump-start your career. Mostjob seekers use only one or two methods to cover themarketplace, and miss 75% of available opportunities. In orderto get maximum exposure you will need to use multiple job searchmethods simultaneously. Let's get started!

First, assess what you have to offer. Take a personalinventory of your:

&bullKnowledge

&bullSkills

&bullAccomplishments

If you can't think of many accomplishments, ask those aroundyou to give you feedback on your talents and abilities.Often those close to us are more aware of what we have to offerthan we ourselves are. When you have completed your skill andaccomplishment review, use the results to write a compellingresume that clearly shows your value to a potential employer.

If you have been out of work for a while, you many bewondering if your skills are still relevant. You can burnishyour resume by taking on some volunteer work in your area ofexpertise. Here's a great example. Is your niche publicrelations? There is bound to be a community group or localnon-profit that would really benefit from having aprofessionally designed newsletter. Or, you could volunteer toserve as a media contact to publicize the organization's events.Is marketing your area of interest? Approach a local school andvolunteer to design some marketing materials to promote theirprograms. Local organizations are hungry for talent. Only yourimagination will limit what you can accomplish. While you arevolunteering your skills, you will also be gaining exposure inthe community, and you are likely to make a few contacts thatcan help you with your search. Those contacts will make valuableadditions to your network.

Think you don't have a network? Think again! Start withany people you know. Here are a few places to start:&bullOrganizations to which you belong

&bullChurch

&bullPTA

&bullSports leagues

&bullVoluntary associations

Make a list of everybody you know. Ask those peoplewhether they know anyone who has re-entered the workforce aftera long absence. Talking to people who have done what you want todo will increase your confidence that you can do the same.

Now you're moving! Next, you need to start thinking aboutwhere you would like to work. Mass mailing your resume is awaste of time and postage. What you need is exposure to thecompanies that can make the best use of your skills. Identifyfive of them and research them thoroughly. Decide where youcould provide the most value in each company, and identify thedecision maker who has the authority to hire you.

Focus on the needs of each company; identify the relevantdecision maker; and you position yourself ahead of those wholimit themselves to the want ads and the Internet. You may evenhave an opportunity to create a position around your skills!When you reach a decision maker before an ad is published, youhave obtained exposure that most will miss.

Another method of increasing exposure is to search for spotopportunities. Follow the industry news, check companywebsites, and learn about new initiatives or changes that couldaffect the business climate. Armed with this knowledge you willappear well-informed to your potential employers.

Informational interviews are another way of targetingareas where your skills might fit! Try approaching someone whois working in a job you think you would like, and ask them howthey got their position, and if they could give you some adviceon your job search. People will be amazingly helpful, especiallywhen they can identify with you and your situation.

When you have reached this point, your confidence will beincreasing daily. By using multiple methods to approach themarket, you are being exposed to opportunities that others canonly wish for. You are making new contacts, learning more aboutthe needs of companies, and identifying the individuals thathave the power to hire you. You are ready to use your knowledgeof the company's needs and your inventory of skills, abilities,and accomplishments to demonstrate your value to theorganization in an interview.

If this isthe case for you, you might want to consider hiring aprofessional to guide you in your search. But remember, you arenot the first to be in this position. Others have successfullyre-entered the job market after an extended absence, and you cantoo. Using multiple simultaneous methods to cover the entiremarket, and reaching decision-makers before an ad is publishedcan be the key to your success no matter how long you have beenout of work.

Careers and Job Hunting
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