Wallace Myers International Executive Recruitment & Professional Staffing


Returning to work after a prolonged break, Ken Harbourne

Posted on 29 March 2018 by Ken Harbourne

Returning to work after a prolonged break can be a daunting undertaking. 

Having worked in recruitment for more than 20 yeas, there are three, all too common mistakes made by candidates returning to the workplace.
So, I’ve listed the 3 main banana skins and 3 concrete steps you can use to overcome them. Download them here or read on.

Mistake 1: Lack of Focus

My advice is to first pick a spot. Phrases like “I’m open to anything”, “I’m not sure what I want” and “I’m just looking to get back on the ladder” won’t fill your prospective employer with confidence in you and you’ll be beaten almost every time by candidates who know what they want.

Focus in and get clear on one or two sectors that you would like to work in or one or two roles that you think you could add value to. If you are struggling to narrow it down, start backwards and eliminate the sectors and roles that definitely do not appeal to you. By focusing, you’ll be able to put together a clearer action plan, maximising your chances of hitting the mark with a tailored CV and application. Focus also allows you to research and develop a stronger knowledge of that area. With research and knowledge flows confidence in your subject matter and a better interview performance.

Finally, when attending an interview all of the above will show the interviewer that you want THEIR job vs wanting A job, which is the difference that makes the difference.

Mistake 2: Devolving

You have sent off dozens of CVs and applications and received no reply. When you have received a response you’ve been told the role is ‘on hold’, has ‘been filled internally’, or ‘the position has now changed’ etc. etc. Perhaps you have been to interviews and received no feedback whatsoever.

When you have time on your hands your brain goes into overdrive and you can get angry, disappointed or frustrated, none of which are productive feelings if you let them under your skin when seeking a job. Thoughts like, ‘what’s wrong with me’ or ‘maybe I’m not employable anymore’ come into your head.

So, what should you do in these situations?

Without knowing it, all of the above can contribute to you devolving away from your ‘best interview’ self. So, be prepared for no feedback and other setbacks by being mindful of how you react. You can control your reaction!

Mistake 3: Inaction

You’ve sent off some emails. Left a couple of voicemails. Put feelers out with recruitment agencies, maybe even met with one or two of them. Yet you still have no job. What more could you possibly do?

Could there be a smarter way to approach this? Simply answered, yes – there are 3 concrete steps you can take:

Step 1: Identify the real obstacles

Identify what’s stopping YOU from getting that great job. Everyone is different so your obstacle will not be the same as everyone else’s. So discovering the REAL issue significantly increases your chances. To do this, start with good questions:

  • What is stopping me from getting a job?
  • Why is it stopping me?
  • What 2 concrete things can I do to tackle this issue?
  • If I had to pick one job in one industry, what would it be?
  • Who hires those people?
  • Of those - who hires people like me, returning to work?
  • Who do I know in my network that can educate me further on the above?
  • How do I guarantee I speak to 3 people this week?

Step 2: Create a Weekly Action Plan

  • Complete and proofread your CV
  • Make your LinkedIn profile excellent
  • Attend a relevant seminar or networking event
  • Research x amount of companies
  • Linkedin search x number of professionals in your space
  • List 100 people you know to see who can help you
  • Make contact with x amount of warm contacts for coffee
  • Directly apply with a letter to x amount of target people
  • Improve my networking or interviewing skills - training/candid feedback

Step 3: Do it again every week!

  • Find the real obstacle
  • Ask great questions
  • Put together an action plan

Finally, don’t give up and stay positive.

Wishing you every success in your search

Always my best regards


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