So, you’re thinking of returning to work and it has been years since you’ve been in the workforce. Where on earth do you start? This was me five years ago, I hadn’t worked for 17 years, and now I needed a job! I’m hoping that my experience then, and my experience as a recruiter may help guide you along the path to a reinvented career.
The first thing I did was to dust off a resume that was 17 years old, and give it a total overhaul. Here is learning number one, by total overhaul I mean download a new template, (there are plenty on word), and redo your CV, bring it up to date and make it look like it was produced this decade not 18 years ago! Employers want to see that despite not having worked recently that you are tech savvy enough to have taken the time to present your skills with a current outlook.
Once I had updated my CV, I decided to get busy with a temporary role while I looked for a career role, so I hit the streets and approached fashion retailers for a casual job. This was how I got a job at Seed, I walked in and asked for it! This kept me busy while I worked out how I could apply my skill-set to a career role, wondering if my recruitment skills from 18 years ago were relevant. I set up a Seek and LinkedIn profile, taking the time to make sure these were relevant and professional. My next task was to look and learn, to read every job advert that interested me to see what companies were looking for, to see what skills were valued and what I might need to do to upskill.
If you are reading this and thinking this sounds like a lot of work, you are right. This is important work though, ensuring your CV, LinkedIn and Seek profile are professional, up to date, and market you well as a candidate. After all my research and job reading on Seek and LinkedIn, a role that finally took my interest popped up on Seek. It was a bit of luck, but I was prepared with all the work I’d done, and I was now able to present myself in the best way when the right role came along.
Importantly I was realistic; I’d realised that I had been out of the market for too long to step straight back into a full recruitment role, much had changed since I had been in the position, but many things were also the same. It was time to accept that I needed to embrace the learning, swallow my pride and step into a role at a lower level than I had been in 17 years before. Having a positive growth mindset is really important in this situation, being prepared to learn, and admit that there are now gaps in your skill set, shows emotional intelligence and humility that is valued in the workplace.
The role that popped up was as a Candidate Manager at EPHealthcare, it was a perfect fit for me with a business that was very similar to the one where I had started my Healthcare recruitment career. Donna and John both interviewed me, and fortunately for me I still had a referee from 17 years ago, which helped to cement my application.
Through this journey I discovered that it is a scary situation to be re-entering the workforce. I had much self-doubt and wondered if I still had what it took to be successful. Projecting positivity is hard when you are fearful of failure, I would encourage anyone doing this to invest in self-belief, be realistic about your expectations and be prepared for some hard work; it may take time but eventually it will be pay off.