#LetsStartTheConversation: I’ve been out of the workforce since 2007 and feel so removed for the world of work, I’m worried I won’t fit in

A community member recently asked:

“I’ve been out of the workforce since 2007 and feel so removed for the world of work, I’m worried I won’t fit in”

Feeling removed from the workforce after a long absence is natural, but many have successfully re-entered and found fulfilling careers. Here’s some advice to help you navigate this transition and build confidence:

Acknowledge Your Feelings:

Normalize Your Concerns: Understand that feeling anxious or uncertain is normal. Many people have successfully returned to work after long breaks.

Stay Positive: Focus on your strengths and the skills you’ve gained during your time away from the workforce.

Update Your Skills:

Take Courses: Enroll in online or community courses to update your skills, especially in technology and industry-specific areas.

Certifications: Consider obtaining relevant certifications to boost your resume and show potential employers that you’re committed to your professional growth.

Refresh Your Knowledge:

Industry Research: Read industry publications, blogs, and news to get up-to-date with current trends and changes in your field.

Professional Development: Attend webinars, workshops, and conferences to learn about the latest developments and network with professionals.

Leverage Your Network:

Reconnect with Former Colleagues: Reach out to former colleagues and professional contacts for advice, support, and potential job leads.

Join Professional Groups: Participate in professional organizations, LinkedIn groups, and networking events to expand your network and gain insights.

Build a Strong Resume and Online Presence:

Highlight Transferable Skills: Emphasize the skills and experiences you’ve gained during your time away from work, such as volunteer work, managing a household, or freelance projects.

Create a LinkedIn Profile: Ensure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and reflects your current skills and experiences. Connect with professionals in your desired field.

Start with Small Steps:

Part-Time or Temporary Work: Consider part-time, temporary, or freelance work to ease back into the workforce and build recent experience.

Volunteering: Volunteer in your community or in professional organizations to gain relevant experience and expand your network.

Prepare for Interviews:

Practice Interviews: Conduct mock interviews with friends, family, or career coaches to build confidence and improve your responses.

Explain Your Gap: Be honest about your career break and focus on the positive aspects, such as the skills you’ve developed and your readiness to re-enter the workforce.

Seek Professional Guidance:

Career Counseling: Consider working with a career counselor or coach who can provide personalised advice and support.

Job Placement Services: Utilise job placement services offered by community organisations, local colleges, or professional associations.

Focus on Adaptability:

Emphasise Flexibility: Show potential employers that you’re adaptable and open to learning new processes and technologies.

Continuous Learning: Demonstrate your commitment to ongoing professional development and staying current in your field.

Be Patient and Persistent:

Set Realistic Goals: Understand that re-entering the workforce may take time and effort. Set small, achievable goals to stay motivated.

Stay Resilient: Don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Keep applying, networking, and improving your skills.

Returning to the workforce after a long break can be challenging, but it’s entirely possible with the right approach. By updating your skills, leveraging your network, and maintaining a positive mindset, you can successfully reintegrate into the world of work and find a fulfilling career.

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