Reentering the Workforce
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Reentering the Workforce

What you need to know to make a smooth transition.

So you're ready to jump back into the job market after being home with your kids for the past five or 10 or 15 years? Here, some dos and don'ts from leading career counselors:

Do

  • Sharpen your skills. Read back issues of trade publications. Talk to former colleagues about what's new in your industry and how technology has changed the business.
  • Network. Invite people who have the kind of job you want to lunch to get the scoop on everything from salaries to work conditions, so when the time comes for an interview, you are fully prepared.
  • Test the waters. A good way to reacquaint yourself with the work world is through temporary employment. Consider taking on a short-term assignment as a way to ease back in.

Don't

  • Underestimate what you've been doing. Make sure your updated resume includes skills that you've recently acquired through volunteer work and hobbies.
  • Apologize for taking a hiatus. Assume that what you've been doing is perfectly acceptable and that the confidence and sense of responsibility you've gained makes you valuable in the workplace.
  • Limit yourself to your old field or be afraid to try something new. Analyze what you did and didn't like about your former work. Consider how you can translate any new interests and skills into paid employment.

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