Returning to the Workforce

People return to the workforce for many reasons:

  • Stay at home parents are ready to resume or start a career.
  • Financial changes have dictated a need.
  • Retired persons are bored with retirement or need extra money.
  • Business owners are looking for an opportunity to work for a company.

Whatever the reason, hundreds of thousands of people are attempting to return to the workforce, and the process can be frightening and difficult to get started.  I have some simple tips that I share with my coaching clients to take the edge off and get them moving in the right direction.

“Go from what you know, to what you don’t know you know, to what you don’t know.”

Create a chart for yourself with the following headers:

  • What I know
  • What I don’t know I know
  • What I don’t know

What you know: Start with what I like to call a “brain dump.”  Throw it all on paper in column one; all of your skills, experience, things that you are good at, prior work experience, volunteer work, anything and everything that you have been doing.  Include things you enjoy doing, places you like to go, people you like to be around, put it all on paper so you can examine it and analyze it at a later time.

What you don’t know you know: Skills are transferable, in and out of the workplace.  What are you good at that you might not realize can benefit an employer?  What skills have you acquired?  Are you a multi-tasker, good with people, great at scheduling?  Think of what you have been doing in your daily life and find the skills that are transferable. Take a hard look, write them down. You’ll be surprised when you realize how much you bring to the table.

What you don’t know: It’s a different job market today than ever before and it’s highly competitive. What do you need to compete?  Search the job openings and see what employers are looking for.  Are your computer skills up to date?  Do you have training?  Find out what employers are looking for and make sure if you don’t have it, that you go out and get it.

Once you have all of this information out of your head and on the paper, you can start to take a look at your next steps.  The process does not have to be overwhelming, ask a friend to work with you or seek out a career coach who can help to guide and direct you.  The first step is really just getting started.