Sometimes people contact me as a career coach because they need assistance with reentering the labor market after a break of several years. It can be challenging to get back into the game because job market is not what it used to be, and the job search has changed as a result of technology, especially social media.
When you know that you are up against job seekers who have been engaged in the paid labor force without a break, you need to be able to demonstrate to employers that you are a viable candidate that they should pay attention to.
Here are some critical steps that you need to take in order to increase your competitiveness:
1) Join and become active in a professional association. It’s likely that after an extended period of time away from the paid job market, your network in the field has grown stale. By joining a professional association, you can get to know people in your profession who can potentially help you with your job search. Also, by joining a professional association you will become current with the issues in your field. You can take advantage of the information presented in the professional journal and attend the association meetings.
2) Volunteer in your field. If you do not have recent experience in your field, volunteer work can be a good way to reenter the field. Most employers are not as choosy when you are willing to work for free. Being able to put this experience on your resume can open doors for you.
3) Obtain an advanced degree and certifications. For many fields an advanced degree is becoming a necessity. Getting that degree can increase your employability. Also, it is becoming increasingly common that certifications above and beyond a college degree are required for many fields. Obtaining a certification that is hot can make you more competitive.
4) Update your computer skills. Most fields have software programs that are associated with them. For example, in the legal field you need to know Lexus Nexis, and in the field of education you may need to know Blackboard. You can take classes online or at your local community college to bring you up to speed on computer skills so that you can compete effectively for jobs in your field.
5) Network relentlessly. It is still true that networking is the most successful job search method. Start with the people that you know and ask for referrals to other people that you can network with. And make it a point to attend networking meetings. Most employers prefer to hire people that they know as opposed to people that they don’t know.
For customized assistance with undertaking a job search in your field, talk to a certified career coach at 877-743-9521 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.