It’s never easy to look for a job after a major life change. Significant changes in our lives, such as divorce, illness, or relocation, shake us to the core and force us to look at our lives in new ways. Whether you need a new job or just want one, how do you begin the process of finding the job you want? You can begin by making small changes.
What have you always wanted to try? Perhaps you want to try a short-term experience, such as visiting an escape room, or a longer commitment, such as getting involved in a community theater production, or learning to play a musical instrument. Go outside of your comfort zone. What does this have to do with getting a job? The more you challenge yourself, the more you realize how many options are open to you and how many unused skills you have.
If you did not grow up with all of the developments in technology, it is often daunting. But for most jobs, it is important to have some technological skill. So start now. Set up your profile on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. If you don’t know how to do it, take a class, or ask for help. Libraries and community centers often have help available. Websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook can also help you connect with former employers and co-workers. If you’re a college graduate, attend gatherings of local alums. Talk to people who work in your areas of interest and can assist you with networking.
Volunteering can help you polish up your skills and experience. Look for an organization or non-profit that is consistent with your values and that needs your help. Take on the challenging assignments. Perhaps you want to improve your public speaking skills, or practice your newly acquired technological skills. You will meet some great people, learn a lot and do something good for others. It will also help you fill in the gaps in your work history.
When you begin looking for a job, don’t limit yourself to the same field or industry you used to work in. For example, if you want an office job, think about many kinds of business, from big corporations to small professional offices and from non-profit work to factory positions. You never know where you will find the right job and the right place for you. Don’t overlook employment agencies. Their knowledge and experience can offer you valuable work experience.
Get out your previous resume and take a hard, critical look at it. If you have been out of the workforce for some time, how can you reasonably explain the gap in your work history? Keep in mind that you don’t have to have been paid for experience to count. If you have kept busy, perhaps with networking events, attending trade shows, updating your skills or doing volunteer work, you have plenty of positive experiences to add to your resume.
Although volunteering and networking are important, it is best not to list each item separately on your resume. Instead, group them together to emphasize the focus of your activities, your work ethic, and the value you would bring to the employer. One way to approach a long work gap is to list your skills at the top of the resume, and then cite your work experience, in reverse chronological order, below.
In the past, people often worked at the same job, for the same employer, for an entire career. Today, people move in and out of the workforce for a variety of reasons. Finding a job after a major life change can be an opportunity for positive and creative growth. To learn more about how we can help, contact us.