Entering the workforce after a long absence may seem like a daunting proposition, especially since you faced an entirely different routine that had nothing to do with clocking in from 9 to 5. Leaving the workforce meant your skills development took a break too. Discover three tips to help you get back into work mode after an extended time away from the office.
1. Determine What Drives You
Your motivation changes over time, and that's probably what happened when you took a long absence from work. You thought about your life, what you want to do in the future, where your life is going, where you were a few months ago, and how it all fits together. Questioning your professional life is totally normal, especially since you needed a breath of fresh air for a while.
Ask yourself some pertinent questions before entering the workforce again:
* What activities do you enjoy?
* What do you miss about your job?
* Why do you feel relieved about not going to work?
* Did anything spark your interests while you were out of the workforce?
The point of these questions is to find out what you liked and disliked about your job. This helps you narrow your focus and find your passion for your next move after a long absence.
2. Regain Your Mojo
Companies hired you for a specific skill set in the past, and your next employer should do the same. Make a list of your professional accomplishments, top-level skills and highest achievements. These form the basis of your resume. If you have trouble remembering some achievements, talk to your colleagues, former co-workers and contacts to see what they say about your skills. You might not know your own worth, and your peers can help you shut down any negative self-talk.
Upon researching your chosen field and position, you may discover you need to refresh your skills following a long absence. Don't be afraid to take a class, advance your technical skills or take a leadership course. Research what computer software you need to learn and which colleges or online classes will teach you how to use these programs and expand your network in the process. Your teachers and classmates can help you expand your career horizons while you learn new skills.
3. Get Working
Sometimes, you just have to dive back into the workforce even if it's not your long-term career choice. Think about volunteering for an organization, working a temp job, freelancing or just starting out part time when you want to ease back into things. As you get back into a job after a long absence, revisit your list of motivations to see how your new job fits into that paradigm. If you enjoy what you're doing, then you're on the right track.
Getting back into the workforce following a long absence doesn't have to be quick or abrupt. If you can, take your time and sort things out. In the end, you may be happier and readier than ever to come back to work. What are your strategies for diving back into work after taking off a long time?
Photo courtesy of Sheree Kozel-LA HA at Flickr.com