Whether you’ve been out of the workforce for a while due to caregiving duties, or are a retiree who craves the stimulation of daily work and wants to get back in the game, there is a job waiting for you—you just have to find it.
Start by networking with your former coworkers. Younger subordinates have likely advanced in your absence and may now be in positions where they have an influence on hiring decisions. Reconnect and let them know you’re looking for a way to reenter the workforce. If they don’t know of a suitable opportunity at their current place of employment, they may have valuable connections at other establishments that are hiring.
Consider enlisting professional help. Whether you’ve been away from your chosen field for a few years or more than a decade, a career coach or formal reentry program can provide helpful support as you update your resume, apply for jobs and prepare for interviews. You may also want to connect with your college’s alumni network and any trade associations connected to your field.
Take time to update your skills as well. If you’re unfamiliar with the latest software and other tech used in your field, you’re going to have a difficult time competing with younger jobseekers. You may be able to learn much of what you need through free online tutorials and manuals. However, depending on the position you seek, earning new certifications and taking a few college courses may be necessary.
Prepare yourself for today’s workplace culture. The offices and organizations of today function a bit differently than those of thirty, twenty or even ten years ago. Email, instant messaging and video chat are commonly used communication tools among coworkers. Work-life balance is highly valued, and flexible schedules and remotely work opportunities are often prized. The more you know about these (and other) workplace trends and can demonstrate your comfort with them, the easier it will be for you to land a job.
Consider an internship or temporary job to get your foot in the door.
If you’re finding it difficult to get a new job after your hiatus, an internship or temporary assignment is a great way to prove to potential employers that you have the hard and soft skills required to succeed today despite your time away from the field. In fact, some major companies have developed apprenticeship and internship programs specifically for senior workers.