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Diving back into the job market after a period of time of not working, due to going back to school, having a baby, or taking care of a loved one can be a challenge.

Regardless if you are returning to the workforce after a long or short break, you are not alone. Thousands of people, like you, have gotten off their career path for one reason or another and have successfully re-entered the workforce.

The question is how do you successfully transition back into the workforce? One tip to always remember, it is only a big deal if you make it a big deal. Meaning always highlight your strength, not the fact that you have been out of the workforce for a period of time. Use the tips below to successfully break back into the job market:

Jump into your field.  If you are returning back to the job market after a period of time and you are not up to date about what has changed in your field, now is the time to get yourself back up to speed. Begin by reading articles in your industry, which can be found by doing a Google search. Going back to college is not the only way to brush up on your skills, there are many online learning tools that you can quickly gain the skills you need to reenter your field. Start by finding an open position in your industry, then read the job description/qualifications, next write down the skills you need to become updated on; these will be the skills that you will look online for courses. YouTube is another great place to find how to videos to brush up on your skills. Being up to date in your field will give you confidence in an interview.

Network. If you have stayed in contact with past colleagues begin with them, let them know that you are getting back into the workforce. If you lost contact with past colleagues, don’t worry you can still develop a network. Attending events that pertain to your industry in your area is a good place to start. If you are going to an event, have a set of business cards. These business cards can be simple contact cards that will list your name, profession, and all of your contact information. 

Use Social Media. Social media is not just a platform for chatting with friends or sharing pictures, this falls under networking also. If you do not have a LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook account establish those accounts. At the very least create a LinkedIn account, fully completing your information. LinkedIn is the perfect place to connect with employers and recruiters, not to mention to stay up to date on industry news. Joining groups on LinkedIn or Facebook is a great way to network. Remember, you need to actively participate on these sites not just create an account.

Take a Step Back. If you are finding your previous jobs have changed drastically when it comes to what you are now qualified for, then take a step back and begin with a different position. Get yourself back into the workforce then move towards a promotion. This is not going backwards, but having a plan on how to move forward with your career goals. Another option to gain more experience to get the job you want is to do contract or freelance work. With short term positions you gain experience, plus contacts that may help you in finding the perfect job that fits you and your current experience. Keeping an open mind can get you back on the career track faster.

Professional Resume. Having a professional write your resume will make a difference in how your employment gap is seen. In addition having someone in the field giving you tips on interviewing will quickly have you prepared for your interviews. Here is a great resource to get you back into the workforce, quickly: 

Confidence. After being out of the workforce for a period of time and trying to reenter can be overwhelming. Remember, it is only a big deal if you make it a big deal. After being absent from the workforce, job seekers tend to become apologetic in interviews instead of confident. There is nothing to apologize for, you are not the only person who has ever been out of the workforce for a period of time. This is where your confidence needs to shine. To help build your confidence before an interview, develop an account of your career and life experiences that pertain to your industry. Hone in on your strengths so your confidence shines through. 

Re-entering the job market after a period of time can be overwhelming and a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Develop a strategy in your job search, getting up to speed in your field, and having a resume that highlights your accomplishments not your employment gap will make re-entering the workforce a success!