There are many people who were once in the workforce, then exited, for whatever reason: perhaps you were starting a family, taking a personal leave, or jet setting the world. These breaks from the workplace are sometimes necessary, but getting back into the workforce after a year or longer away can pose some interesting changes you may not be privy to. As you’re gearing up for your first interview, remember these key changes that have happened in the workplace while you were away.
As your interviewer starts down the path of curiosity about your skills, you may be asked about your technology literacy. We are in the midst of a major technology evolution where every day, week, and month new “must have” software hits the market. Last you were in the job force software players like Salesforce or Tableau (who currently dominate the market) may not have been prevalent. Do your research before entering the interview. What software might be commonplace? What can you do to prove you’re interested in learning the software? Many of these organizations offer certification programs. If you’ve been interviewing ask about the software each companies uses. If you start to notice a pattern, consider taking a class to proactively learn it.
Newly definitely goals for what’s important
We’ve all heard the question “where do you see yourself in five years”. Answering this question in your 20’s is much different than answering this question in your 40’s or 50’s. In your 20’s perhaps moving into management, clearly defining your career path, earning a salary increases are all items on the top of the list. If you’ve been in the workforce previously, chances are you know what you want in your career. Management may not be as important at this time of your time, but autonomy and flexibility are. It’s OK to have different answers from the last time you answered this question, but have something prepared.
As much as we’d like to think that ageism isn’t prevalent, it may be an obstacle you’ll have to overcome. Ageism could come in to play if your younger counterparts are savvier with technology, or if they have a more defined idea of where the next five years can take them. Even they fact that they may not have a family yet and can work longer more daunting hours may play a role. But you have experience, maturity, and knowledge that far exceed millennials in the workforce. What tidbits of wisdom can you leave with your interviewer that shows your knowledge isn’t superficial?
What skills can fill the gap?
Just because you’ve taken a break from the workforce doesn’t mean that your daily skills can’t translate into work skills. Let’s say that you exited the workforce to start a family. As your children grew, did you volunteer at their schools? Did you help with fundraising? Were you ever in charge of organizing events? There are many skills that may not be an obvious match for a career resume, but there are shared skillsets that should be utilized.
Reentering the job market doesn’t have to be scary. It will likely be different, though. As long as you are flexible, eager, and the ability to position yourself favorable, entering back into the world of work should be a seamless transition.