Tips and Tricks for getting back into the game

Posted in Careers, Mentor Minute

Tips and Tricks for getting back into the game

Globe and Mail Careers Section, C2, July 23, 2010
MENTOR MINUTE: Tips and Tricks for getting back into the game

The Globe and Mail, Career Section, Friday July 23rd, 2010

Mentor Minute>> Quick Career Advice from Expert Katie Bennett

The Scenario:

I have been at home raising kids for the past 10 years, while taking on a little bit of work in my field to keep my foot in the door. I am now ready to take on more, but I don’t know where to start. I feel afraid to even pick up the phone for fear that I will upset the balance at home, and come off like someone “out of the loop.” Where do I begin and what are the best things I can do to get back into a full-time job?

The Advice:

When returning to the workforce after a hiatus, the biggest challenge you will likely encounter is how to regain your confidence. Where once you felt like you belonged, you may now feel like an outsider. Here are some points to help you regain your confidence and prepare you for returning to work.

Tap into the past

Start by focusing on what you did before your hiatus. You have a track record, and the fact that you have taken a break does not diminish what you did before or what you have to offer. Focus on your past work experience and education, awards and recognition to reconnect to your past success. Recognize the credentials you have walking in the door. Your experience counts and rebuilding your confidence starts here.

Use your new skills

Instead of closing the door on the past 10 years, examine the new skills you have learned and be prepared to present them in an interview. Skills such as listening,

patience, relationship management, multi-tasking, balance, and teaching and developing others are all relevant skills you may have added to your resume.

Get out and network

Rebuilding your network is also critical, because most jobs are never posted, but are “advertised” through word of mouth. Start in your comfort zone, such as going for coffee with your past colleagues. Attend speakers’ conferences or events relevant to your industry. Host events to reconnect and meet new connections.

Do your homework

Do what you can to get current. Read the latest books, articles, research and blogs in your area of expertise. Even though you have been away fro work, it does not mean that you need to be out of touch. What are the latest developments in your industry? How has technology impacted your job and industry? Has social media impacted your industry and do you know how to use it? What changes have taken place in the last 10 years that you need to know about? By doing your homework, you will appear current.

Upgrade your skills

Ten years is a long time and many things may have changed. Are there courses you can take to upgrade your skills? Courses can also be another great networking opportunity. Seek out the skills you may need to upgrade now and start the courses as soon as possible. This will remove some of the burden from your future employer to get you back up to speed.

Maintain a balance

Be clear on what you have to offer to a new employer – the hours you are able to work; whether you are seeking part time or full time employment; your ability to travel? Determine how the work you have been doing at home will get done, to ensure your family and household can continue to thrive. Thinking ahead about these areas will make the transition easier.

Katie Bennett is a coach and speaker living in Vancouver and is head of Double Black Diamond Coaching.