Building Your Network
June 4, 2018>
10 Tips For Getting Back To Work After A Long Absence
Whether you’ve taken 10 years off from the professional world to raise your children, been recovering from an injury or caring for a sick family member for a few years, it can be intimidating trying to get back into the job market after a significant absence.
Assess your motivation for going back to work:
Before you get too deep in the job search, assess your motivations for returning to work. Do you just want to work part time and make a little extra money for the family or do you want to get back into the career you went to school for? Knowing what you’re looking for can guide the rest of your search.
If you’ve been out of the working world for a while it’s important to get advice from friends and family about current trends in finding and applying for jobs as well as types of interviews.
Update your career documents:
Resume and cover letter trends change pretty quickly so do some research on current resume styles and look for examples to see how your resume compares. Remember to add any activities you’ve been involved with during your time off that could be relevant to the job you’re applying for. Organizing a bi-annual charity event or running your child’s Parent Teacher’s Association is still experience.
Reconnect to your field:
If you haven’t been involved in any activities related to your field, start looking for ways to reconnect. Take on freelance or contract work to start brushing up on your skills and making contacts, or start volunteering once a week to freshen up. This will make the transition to full time work easier.
Network with others:
Your first order of business once you decide to get back into the job market should be to contact previous colleagues. This is a great way to learn about new developments in the field and see if they have any ideas of where you should begin your job search.
You may not realize the huge impact social media has made during recent years. If you’re not online, start creating a profile and connect to companies and forums in your field. You can even start a blog related to the field to connect to others.
Think outside the box:
If you’re just getting back into work after a long absence, you may need to start out small before jumping into a full time position. Be willing to take on part time gigs or look for new avenues for your job search if you’ve acquired new skills and interests during your break.
Fill in the gaps:
If your field has new requirements you don’t have, try brushing up on your skills or enrolling in a class to update your knowledge and prepare you to re-enter the labor force.
If you haven’t interviewed in a while it’s important to practice before you give it a go. Remember that it’s helpful during an interview to account for where you were during a long absence but you don’t need to apologize to employers for taking a break or explain your actions. Have confidence in your abilities and decisions and stay positive.
Job searching isn’t easy for anyone these days, especially if your work experience isn’t current. Be patient with the process and keep talking to different people and applying where you can.
Don’t Dress For The Job You Have, Dress For The Job You Want To Have
Dress for Success
Does what you wear to an interview really make a difference in the hiring process? The answer is yes – the way you dress always matters
Don’t allow your appearance to damage your chances of being hired for a job. As the old phrase goes, “dress for success!” When you walk into an interview room the very first thing an interviewer does is look at you. No matter how many skills you have and how relevant your experience is, do not allow this first impression to ruin your chances.
Make no mistake – dressing properly will not guarantee you the job, but dressing inappropriately can definitely lose you the job.
Gaining employment is subject to numerous variables beyond your control and factors significantly unknown to you. You have no control over employer perceptions, personal preferences or the competitors for the job. You do, however, have control of your image and how you present yourself. How you look can send a powerful message to the interviewer and can portray a signal that you are a winner or a loser.
You have made it this far in the interview process – don’t let your appearance sabotage your opportunity to get the job.
So make sure you exude confidence and look successful.
First Steps Of Networking
If you’ve started your job search or looked at career resources, you’re probably hearing this word a lot – Networking. You may be thinking you don’t know any professionals in the career that interests you, or find the task daunting. In reality, each of us already has networks that can help us in our career path and job search.
The first step to networking is to think about the people closest to you – your family and friends. These individuals are people you already talk to regularly and who can vouch for your character and work ethic. They’re also the people that are most willing to put themselves out there for you by providing a reference for a position and contacts. Start brainstorming the people in your life that you talk to regularly, as well as their current employment positions. Then start talking to these people about the career that interests you, jobs that you’re applying for, and ask for any advice or contacts they may have in the field that interests you. Even if no one you know personally works in the field, it may be that your close contacts have friends, colleagues, parents, etc. that are in the field you want to be in.
Think outside the box when networking. You may know people in your field that you don’t even realize. They could be neighbors, family friends or someone you volunteered or went to school with in the past. The more people you talk to about the field you’re interested in, the more opportunities you’ll have to talk to professionals and gain insight into the career field, which may eventually lead to internship or job opportunities. Most people are happy to at least offer information and advice to students and recent grads about their field, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Remember that landing a job is not the real goal of networking. Networking is about building professional relationships. These relationships can provide you with contacts and show you the skills, education and knowledge you’ll need for success in the field. Over time your networks can help you build friendships, gain knowledge and experience and alert you to potential job opportunities. Keep in mind that networking is not a one-way-street. Just as you hope to network with people having more experience than you do, you should also be ready to network or serve as a mentor to younger students and colleagues. Professional networks, like personal ones are built on reciprocity. Remember to show gratitude if someone refers you to a contact, job or internship opening, or simply takes the time out of their busy schedule to talk to you about their career. In return, you should be ready to share your knowledge and appropriate contacts with others.
Being a student or recent grad is the most difficult time to network. As you start working in your career, you’ll meet colleagues in your own company as well as others in the field. Soon you won’t even need to worry about networking; you’ll be doing it without even thinking!
As a college student, completing a degree in your specific field is the first stage of your journey to joining the job market. However, it is naïve to think that the degree alone is all you need to land the job of your dreams. We have all heard time and time again the importance of getting a foot in the door. However, if you want to get a good job in this economy, it isn’t always what you know that will get you your first pay check. It’s who you know.
In order to give yourself the greatest opportunity, you are going to need to start networking. With the growth of the internet, and in particular online social networking websites, you are able to sit in the comfort of your house and reach out to people who previously you would have no chance of contacting. Online networking websites such as LinkedIn offer fantastic ways to potentially connect with hiring managers, decision makers and even with Fortune 500 executives! As part of your job search strategy online networking needs to pay a key part. However, it is as equally important to make yourself seen and physically meet people. It goes without saying that you can make a far greater impact on a person by shaking their hand, looking them in the eye and introducing yourself than you can make via an email!
Find below 5 tips to networking and the best places to go and meet the people who can help make your career sparkle.
Conventions or Exhibitions:
Major conventions/exhibitions are fantastic places to network and meet new people. Keep track of the people you contact and make sure you have a pen and paper so you can write down their contact details. Most importantly follow up with these people within a couple of days following the convention. The longer you leave it the more likely they are to forget who you are.
Similar to conventions/exhibitions. This is a no-brainer. Going to a job fair is a good way to meet people who are currently hiring, submit your functional resume, and also learn about what specific companies are looking for in an employee.
Friends, Classmates and Alumni:
Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, classmates or alumni to help with your networking. You just never know who can help or most importantly who has contacts that may be able to help you.
Community and Volunteer Work:
Make a difference in the world and network at the same time! Community service is always looked upon favorably by companies but also will give you an opportunity to network with different members of the community.
Search for networking meetings in your community. Networking meetings often require a small fee (for non-members). However this will enable you to meet a whole range of people from different backgrounds and occupations. Many times all you require is a small lead to kick start your career and networking events can be the perfect place to make this happen.
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