Are you looking for work, or thinking about reentering the workforce after spending some time away from the daily grind? Perhaps you took some time off to pursue a business venture, raise your kids at home or have to find work due to a change in your financial situation. Whatever the case, reentering the workforce can be difficult in the best of cases. Here are five tips to help you succeed.
Establish a Support Network
Tip Number One – Don’t do this alone. You may be tempted to give this a go as a Lone Ranger. Don’t. Remember… the Lone Ranger had Tonto, Batman had Robin, Rocky had Adrian and Thelma had Louise. Well… you know what I mean. Get into a networking group. There are lots out there. My only caution, be selective about the group you join. The group should be positive, diverse and have a structured approach to help you on your search. For those of you in the Greater Sacramento area, Bayside Church has a Career Coaching Group that provides excellent coaching and networking. You should also check out the Sacramento Professionals Network.
Focus Focus Focus
As I helped others in the past, the one thing that struck me is that most people don’t know what they want to do. This makes it difficult to land a job. Companies aren’t hiring generalists anymore. They’re hiring someone with a specific skill that can help them with a problem or a challenge. Yeah. I know. You are great working with people. You’re a team player. You have a proven track record. So does everyone else. You need a specific skill that businesses are looking for. If you’re applying online, you can almost bet that your resume is getting screened for key words. Trust me… Team Player, Good Guy, Good Gal, Proven Track Record… are NOT on the list. You need to be smart about what you’re doing. If you need a specific skill to land your dream job, you may need to invest in some education.
If you’re not sure what you want to do, take an online test or go visit a career coach. You have to focus.
I spoke at a network group a little while back. Many were laid off during the recession. Most were older. Some would call it age discrimination. Possibly. My take, many of them aren’t relevant. They don’t own smart phones. They don’t know how to text or IM. They don’t know what rotfl means or yw or ty for that matter. They are behind the times. The workforce is aging. Many of those that would have been retired a generation ago are still working well into their 60s, If you are over 40, you MUST stay relevant. Make frequent trips to Best Buy or Frys. Read blogs on technology. Do what ever you have to, to stay relevant. Buy a tablet or an IPAD. Can’t afford one? Buy a used one.
Get Busy… Get Social… Get Hired
I was tempted to call this section Network Network Network, but decided that Networking is too often misunderstood. Networking often is interpreted as going to some lunch or dinner meeting, memorizing your elevator speech or generally passing out your resume or your card to every stranger you meet. This is not networking. Instead, I would recommend doing something you love, or finding something you love, that involves interaction with others. Don’t view it as an opportunity to sell yourself. Use it as an opportunity to build relationships with others and provide a service. Building a successful network means building relationships… not a list.
For those of you on Linked In, be careful as it could suck your life away. I don’t know many people who got hired through Linked In. Why? Having 500 connections doesn’t do you any good if you really don’t know them. You should be on Linked In, but you need to limit your time there. Join a group or two and focus on quality not quantity. If you are tempted to post something, post something relevant and insightful. Resist the urge to post just to post.
Research and Practice
I hate to be the one to break the bad news to you, but you are not entitled to a job. If you are expecting someone to give you a job, just because you think you’d be good at it, you’re in for a rude awakening. To land a job, you need to do some research and you need to practice. What do I mean by that? When my daughter was applying for a job at Nordstrom, she spent hours on the internet. She looked for blogs with postings of interview questions. She met friends for coffee or lunch who worked there. She researched the company itself. Then, she practiced interviewing. Don’t be tempted to use the shotgun method by just applying to every job you find. Spend some time and do your homework and then apply to jobs you think you have a shot at really getting. Look for ways to get in front of people that work there. I know it isn’t easy, but your perseverance will pay off.
All the best!
All the time!