Best Ways to Get Back Into the Workforce After a Long Break

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated April 9, 2018

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Personal Finance
April 9, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Some life events, such as getting sick, having a child or needing to care for a loved one, can force you into an extended period of unemployment. After several months or years without a job, you may find it difficult to get back into the workforce.

Before you decide that you can’t return to work, try using these four strategies to make yourself appealing to employers.

Volunteering gives you an opportunity to build skills and prove that you’re reliable. Plus, you get to do something that you will look forward to each day.

After you’ve spent a few months volunteering at your favorite charity or non-profit, ask the group’s manager for a job reference. As long as you’ve done a great job, that person will probably be happy to vouch for you or even write a recommendation letter.

If you’ve been out of the workforce for a few years, then you may need to learn some new, marketable skills that will make you appealing to hiring managers. Depending on the industry that you want to work in, you may find learning opportunities at:

  • A college that has classes for non-traditional students
  • Continuing education programs through your local school system
  • Websites like DataCamp, and Treehouse

Add your new skills to your resume to show companies that you haven’t been idle during your employment.

About 85 percent of people get jobs through networking. Who you know plays a significant role in the position that you get.

Start talking to your friends and family members about any job opportunities that they know. One of your friends may know that an employer needs to hire 10 people by the end of next month. You might not love the position, but it will get you back into the game.

Since networking is so important, you should actively forge new relationships to expand your job opportunities. Use social media to find people who share your professional and personal interests. One of those people could give you a lead to your next job.

Employers may not want to risk hiring you for a full-time position because they have to pay for health insurance, vacation and other benefits. They may, however, not mind giving you a part-time position that doesn’t include benefits.

Over time, you can use your part-time job to reestablish yourself and build your resume. You won’t earn much at first, but you’ll slowly move toward your goal.

A long period of unemployment can make it feel impossible to find a new job. If you take the right approach, though, you can find a well-paying job that you enjoy.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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