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Careers are very rarely a steady path to the top. Most of them have peaks and dips and plateaux, stops, and starts. If you’ve taken some time out from a career, then it can seem tough to get back on the career track. The good news is, that you can do it, even in a tough economic climate. Here are some tips to help.
Be selective about your applications
If you’re desperate to get back into a career, you may be tempted to apply for all the jobs you can find. Resist the temptation. Instead, read adverts carefully so you really understand what employers want from a candidate. Then think honestly about how good a fit you are for both the role and the employer.Careers are very rarely a steady path to the top. Most of them have peaks and dips and plateaux, stops, and starts. If you’ve taken some time out from a career, then it can seem tough to get back on the career track. The good news is, that you can do it.Click To Tweet
Keep in mind that the same job role can have a very different “look and feel” depending on the employer and their industry. For example, customer service at a start-up fashion retailer is probably going to be very different from customer service for a blue-chip bank.
Remember that skills often beat qualifications
Certain jobs do require specific qualifications, usually for legal reasons (or insurance purposes). In many cases, however, qualifications are desirable rather than absolutely necessary. When that’s the case, focus on the job requirements and explain how you could fulfill them effectively.
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It’s absolutely fine to use examples from one area of your life to show competence in another. What’s more, there’s even room for a bit of lateral thinking when you do so. For example, let’s say you’ve had a small business selling your own hand-crafted products. You clearly have sales skills. This means that you’re confident in dealing with people and probably a good negotiator.
These skills are hugely valuable in all kinds of environments. For example, if you wanted to work in credit control, financial qualifications might be helpful. What you really need, however, are people skills. Specifically, you need the negotiating skills to maximize voluntary payments and the judgment to know when to use third-party collections.
Optimize your LinkedIn profile
There are two good reasons why you should make the time to optimize your LinkedIn profile. Firstly, these days it’s almost guaranteed that employers will check it at some point. Secondly, it maximizes your chances of being spotted and headhunted.
You can improve your chances of being spotted even further by actively networking on LinkedIn. Keep in mind, however, that there is a big difference between “actively” and “randomly”. Look for groups, pages, and brands that are relevant to what you want to do. Then try to build your relationship with them. In short, try to make yourself the person they want to hire.
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Be prepared to explain yourself
You stepped off the career path. Now you want to get back on it. Employers are going to want to know why. Honesty is always the best policy. It is, however, sensible, to phrase your honest answer in a positive way.
For example, if you discovered that entrepreneurship wasn’t really for you, then just say so. Tell them what you learned from the experience and how that learning is going to help them.