Resurrecting your career after a break, no matter how long or short it has been, can seem daunting.
It might have been so long since you’ve had to apply for a job that you’ve no idea where to start, you’re intimidated by the idea of having to navigate the rapidly changing world of online recruitment and professional networking or are returning to the nine to five after having a baby.
Either way, if you’re about to get back on the work bandwagon, take notes from these helpful tips put together by Hannah Martin. As Co-Founder and Editorial Director of Talented Ladies Club – the website packed with daily career advice and inspiration for working mums – she’s here to help with ten tricks for getting your job hunt off to a confident new start...
1. Refresh your CV
If you’re dusting off your CV after a few years out of your career, use the opportunity to give it a refresh. Research current best CV practices and ensure it accurately reflects the breadth of your experience. Pay particular attention to your personal statement – stick to a maximum of six lines and include the title of the job you’re applying in it.
2. Tweak your CV for every application
Ideally, you’ll tweak your CV and cover email or letter for every job you apply for. Look at the job description and ensure the language in your CV and application matches it, and that you highlight skills and experience that are relevant to the position. Don’t be tempted to send the same CV out to a stack of opportunities, it’s better to send off less applications that are more considered and tailored.
3. Set yourself weekly goals
It’s easy to put off job hunting after a break, especially if you’re feeling nervous about it. Setting yourself achievable weekly goals helps you to stay on target and make steady progress. Your weekly goals can be as ambitious as apply for three new jobs or as simple as updating your LinkedIn profile.
4. Write your LinkedIn profile
Speaking of LinkedIn, if you don’t already have a profile, write one! And if you do have one, make sure it’s working as hard as possible for you. Complete as many fields as you can, and check your profile photo conveys a professional image. Also, ensure your headline contains keywords potential employer may search for, and that it will encourage them to read on and find out more (think of it like a newspaper headline).
5. Reach out to your network
The richest source of possible job leads is often your existing network – friends, family, ex-colleagues and clients. So approach people you know in your industry or those who may have connections to it, let them know you’re looking for a new position (and what kind of role you’re looking for) and ask them to recommend you to anyone who may need your services.
6. Guard your job hunting time
Block out dedicated chunks of time every day to work on restarting your career, even if it’s just half an hour – and stick to them. As tempting as it may be to just have a quick coffee before getting started, don’t deviate from your plan. Treat getting career-ready and applying for jobs as ‘work’ and prioritise it accordingly.
7. Focus on your achievements
Even the most successful job hunt will have set backs. You’ll have highs – getting a call back for an interview for a job you really want - and lows, not getting a job you thought was in the bag. The key is to stay positive and focused on the steps you are taking. Notice what strategies work, and do more of them. And always celebrate your achievements, however modest.
8. Invest in coaching
If you feel that your confidence has taken a knock after years away from your career, don’t be afraid to invest in coaching. A good coach can help you rediscover your strengths (and bring out employable new ones) and teach you coping strategies for situations you find stressful. They can even help you identify whether you even want to return to your old career, or would feel more passionate about using your skills in exciting new roles.
9. Revamp your wardrobe
If it’s been a few years since you’ve considered your work wardrobe, it may be a good idea to rethink it. Does it reflect current trends or even your own personal style today? The more comfortable and confident you feel in the clothes you wear, the better the impression you’ll make.
10. Be realistic
Finally, it’s important to have a realistic approach to restarting your career after a break. It can take three to four months to secure a role in middle management, and considerably more for senior positions. So if the perfect role doesn’t fall into your lap in week one, don’t lose heart. It’s out there somewhere; you just need to find it…
Inspiration credits: ByRegina.com, Vogue.com.au