How to Get Back to Work After a Break — With Confidence

By Robert Half August 16, 2016 at 11:30pm

If you’ve been unemployed for a while — raising kids, going to school, doing caregiving, pursuing other goals — going back to work may seem like a daunting prospect. Accounting departments have changed. So has all the software. Your former contacts may have moved on. And you haven’t been using your job skills regularly.

It’s not just the workplace that has undergone transition. The entire job search process is constantly changing.

Don’t worry. There’s plenty you can do to restore your confidence, pump up your resume for accounting and finance jobs and get yourself back to work. Here are five good places to start:

1. Build confidence in yourself 

Don’t hit the job market cold in an effort to get back to work quickly, with no recent job experience and out-of-date references. Instead, get some guidance from a staffing agency that specializes in finance and accounting. A staffing specialist can assess your skills, listen to your goals and match you with appropriate temporary positions that can be an enormous confidence booster.

2. Develop your skills 

Temporary jobs can also help you build new skills and sharpen old ones, which will strengthen your resume and get you back to work. Do a job search for positions you’d like to apply for, and make a note of the required skills. Ask your recruiter to match you up with temporary positions that will allow you to learn and hone those skills.

Search jobs by title, company or keyword, and city, state or zip code.

3. Build an online presence 

Before you start your search, update your online network, especially your LinkedIn profile. You can use social media to reach out to former coworkers and managers, and let them know you’re in the job market. You can also catch up on industry news that you may have missed during your time away.  

4. Fill in the blanks

Don’t leave the employment gap on your resume unexplained. First, be sure to explain your time outside the workplace in your cover letter. Then, have a good answer ready for any interview questions about the gap. Be honest and forthcoming, and you’ll have a better chance of dispelling potential employers’ concerns about your ability to return to work.

5. Overcome stigma 

When you have a gap in employment, you can translate your experience doing unpaid work into marketable skills that will impress a potential employer. Being the treasurer for a nonprofit, for example, shows that you can use your accounting talent in a variety of ways and work well in a team setting. Did you plan a wedding, set up a childcare co-op, or help a family business with its QuickBooks? Such activities can display organization and skills that are relevant for getting back to work. 

Don’t underestimate the power of the cover letter in explaining an employment gap. Make sure not to come across as defensive or apologetic; simply mention the gap along with what you did to remain active during the time.

Remember, you’re not alone. Accounting job seekers in today’s tight employment market have a lot of advantages. In many cases, there are more jobs than candidates. So jump in, scuba gear and all!

Our industry expertise and personalized job search service can help you find temporary positions to match your unique skill set and requirements.

 

 

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2015 and was updated in 2016 with more current information.

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