You’ve been absent from the workforce for one, two, five, or even ten years. This break in your career may have been prompted by the desire to be a stay-at-home parent, the choice to further your education, a since-resolved health situation, a stint of volunteer service, or a longing to see the world. Possibly a combination of several factors contributed to your extended absence from the workforce. But now, with a new season of life before you, it is time to reenter the work-a-day world.
We have been trained to see a work experience “gap” as a negative, which nudges many folks to try to slink back into the workforce as if they have done something wrong. But a hesitant, apologetic approach will be more detrimental to a back-to-work job search than the fact that a period of not being employed is evident on your resume.
The good news for men and women seeking to reenter the workforce now is that a work gap may matter less than it ever has. As the economy charges full steam ahead, many sectors find themselves woefully underemployed. Seriously, some areas across the country are, literally, plastered with “HELP WANTED” advertisements. So, adopt a positive yet patient attitude and begin your job search with a confidence that is paired with a hefty dose of preparation, including these key components—
- Craft an honest, positive, brief explanation of your time away from the workforce. Skip the apologies and the excuses in favor of straightforward honesty. Next, practice the reason until you can say it without fumbling or adlibbing unnecessary information, and it feels natural to you. Finally, address the situation with confidence, anticipate a potential employer’s inquiry, and then move on.
- Take the above explanation further by developing an “elevator pitch” concerning your return to the workforce. While the why as it relates to your employment absence will be one component of the pitch, the meat of this brief speech will be a recap of your work experience with a focus on the skills and attributes that you as a unique individual will bring to a job opening. This non-apologetic bit of self-promotion can be worked into a myriad of conversations—with family, friends, neighbors, community members—and act as a networking tool to get your name back into employment conversations.
- Update your CV to include the career break. Do not attempt to camouflage the years away from the workforce by eliminating dates regarding work experience or any other type of clever formatting. Instead, make a list of what you DID do and accomplish during the employment gap. Further training or education? Delved into a self-guided study of a specific field or skill? Strengthened leadership skills via volunteer opportunities? Solidified career goals? Now, consider how these benefits can be included in this updated CV.
- Recognize the perk of a temporary or temp-to-hire position. Everyone knows that when challenging times hit, temps are the first to be let go. But what people fail to consider is that when the uncertainty begins to settle, temporary and contract workers become a hot commodity. While things ease back into an old or a new normal, a staffing model that utilizes temporary or temp-to-hire workers provides the flexibility businesses need to gain their financial footing.
Remember, this gap doesn’t have to be the career-ender about which warnings have sounded for decades. As one of the top staffing agencies in Connecticut, A.R. Mazzotta’s focus is to help you reach your employment goals. Call or text us today at 860-347-1626 or apply online.