FDM Group, whose mission is to bring people and technology together, provides practical advice on how to transition smoothly back to the workforce.
Many individuals are seeking to re-enter the workforce – from retired personnel, parents who left the workforce to bring up children, and former workers who chose to take a career break.
In fact, as inflation rises and the cost of living increases, more people aged 50 and older are looking for work than before the pandemic.
In this, individuals are seeking fresh opportunities and a smooth entrance into a new working environment.
Sarah Mavius, Head of Returners Programme at FDM, comments:
“Returning to work after a substantial amount of time off can bring an array of challenges, but there are a number of ways you can prepare yourself. To ensure you are in the best position possible, identify the types of jobs you are interested in and look at the skill set required.
“Even if you previously worked in the same industry or job role, set yourself up for success by looking at options for training in new skills and updating your existing ones. Building on your current skill set can help you regain confidence and get back into the workplace with the right combination of hard and soft skills ready to go.”
As more people return to work, here are FDM’s top tips for a seamless transition:
Assess your skill set
Before returning to the workplace, it’s important to assess your career path and decide on the options you want to pursue. This could be based on your previous experience, or on any new interests you’ve acquired during your time out of work. To start, identify your skills, weaknesses and past experiences. From here, set realistic goals and research jobs that are currently available.
If you are looking for employment in tech, finance, HR, or any other field, you need to be up to scratch with the requirements. Once you identify the types of occupations you are interested in learning more about or that fit your skills and interests, decipher the skills you need to brush up on or develop from scratch.
In addition to this, make sure the position has opportunities to learn new skills within your field and sets out a path for progression.
Look for work experience
If you aren’t sure about the career path you want to follow, doing work experience is a great way to put your skills to the test, boost your confidence, and help determine what professions interest you the most. Work experience opportunities also often let you try different roles across the organisation, giving you the option to explore different tasks and skill sets.
Taking on new challenges can help you upskill further and train in different areas before returning to the workforce fully. More than that, work experience adds more to your CV, which can be particularly useful when you’ve been out of the job market for an extended period of time.
Depending on your field of interest, there are many options for work experience opportunities – consider reaching out to individuals in your professional and personal network and ask them if they are open to giving you an opportunity to work at their business.
Update your CV
If you’ve been out of the workforce for a while, it’s likely you need to update your CV. While a career break is not an aspect of your life you need to hide, it is important to highlight what you did during this time – and showcase any skills you gained while out of work, even if not directly related to the career path you are going after.
For example, having children can greatly prove your ability to handle stressful situations and multi-task, and taking time to travel can open you up to new languages, adaptability, and interpersonal skills. Regardless of what it is, make sure it’s something you clearly address in your CV, so you don’t leave the interviewer with empty timelines.
If you need guidance, there are plenty of online resources to aid you in updating yours and provide good examples of successful CVs. Before sending, it’s also useful to have someone proofread your CV and give you feedback.
Harness your network
When looking for a new job, it’s always beneficial to harness your network, whether it’s old colleagues, clients, friends, or family. Linkedin is also a great way to get in touch with people, identify prospective employers and recruiters, or connect with employees at organisations you are interested in working for.
Your network can assist you in providing information on possible job opportunities, putting you in touch with industry professionals, or giving you a referral. This network may also help you get work experience if you are trying to get your foot in the door or explore different career paths.
Harnessing your network can also assist you in identifying what career may fit your skill set the best – and provide advice or inspiration for transitioning back into the workforce. Remember, there are many people who have done the same thing, so listening to someone who has also done it can be very constructive.
Find a returners programme
Having the opportunity to adapt and gain skills through a career training programme is a fantastic way to set yourself up for your future career. After a long break, returners programmes offer useful training courses and career advice to help bridge any gaps in your knowledge and equip you with additional qualifications you may need.
Many career programmes also provide you with placements – granting you the opportunity to work with a whole network of great companies. Being a part of returners’ programmes can include mentoring, online learning, and networking, all of which can allow you to fine-tune your skills and shape more of an idea of the career path you want to pursue.