Career Breaks and The Comeback

Career breaks and the comeback

Career breaks occur for all sorts of reasons.  Some may choose to take a step back in favor of dedicated family time.  Others come by a career break following redundancy in the company.  Perhaps you’ve decided to enjoy different experiences, such as traveling or to rediscover your interests. Whatever the reasoning, here are 6 tips on navigating career breaks and the comeback.

Whatever motives got you there, the time may come when you decide to jump back onto the career ladder.

Getting a job can be daunting enough, but it can be even more unnerving once you’ve taken a break from work. You may feel anxious about starting a new job or you may worry that your skills are a little rusty because a lot has changed since you’ve been away from the workplace.

If you feel you’re in this situation, below are six effective tips to help increase your chances of getting hired following a career break.

Six Tips to The Comeback

1. Assess your situation

Many people make the mistake of jumping straight back into the first job they can find. Firstly, if you’re not sure about a job, the interviewer may sense your uncertainty and will be unlikely to take you further in the hiring process.

Secondly, if you secure a job that isn’t suitable for you, you could even find yourself job hopping frequently before you find the right one. It’s therefore important to take some time to assess your situation first and decide what you want to do. Open your mind and remember, what was right for you before your career break, may not be what the best fit is for you now.

2. Update your resume with your career break.

It’s common for a candidate to believe that a gap in their resume will ruin their career.

However, instead of seeing it as a handicap, see it as something positive that can differentiate you from other candidates. If you haven’t been working for a long period of time, don’t hide it. A break can provide lots of benefits that can make you just as, if not more hireable, even if it’s just been a chance for you to take a step back and re-evaluate your future career.

Add all the new skills you may have developed during your break, and explain how these can relate to the job you’re now applying for. 

For example:

Did you take a diploma course specializing in new technology?

Did you do volunteer work and develop your leadership skills, which will help you to lead a team more effectively? 

Or perhaps traveling the world helped to give you a much-needed confidence boost?

3. Network

When looking for your first job after a career break, don’t forget to use your existing connections. Spend some time reaching out to your previous colleagues, clients, friends, and family. Let them know that you’re seeking a new position.

They may have the perfect job for you or be able to point you in the right direction. This is also a good opportunity to prepare any potential references that could support your new job applications.

4. Be prepared for your interview

Before you attend your first interview, make sure you’re prepared to answer questions about your career break. You may be asked why you have a career gap and what you did with your time. Honesty is the first step. Make it clear what you did during your break and why you decided it was the right thing for you to do.

You could tailor your answers to demonstrate how your break will benefit the role you are now applying for. Think critically about some of the concerns an interviewer may have. They may wonder whether you’re ready to get back on the career ladder for example. In this case, explain why you have decided to re-join the workforce, whilst emphasizing your passion, drive, and focus.

5. Look for career returner programs

As well as using job boards to search for jobs, research the various career returner programs that may be available. Deloitte is just one example of an organization that runs this kind of scheme. Their return to work program lasts for 20 weeks and is aimed at men and women who have taken a career break. Whether the break has been for family or other reasons, the scheme provides tailored support and experience to help you readjust to being back at work.

JP Morgan is another business offering a similar scheme. Their global ReEntry Program provides networking and mentorship opportunities to senior executives who are looking to re-join corporate life after taking a career break.

6. Be confident

Whether you’ve been away from work for 12 months or 2 years, getting back into the hiring pool can be nerve-racking. However, the most important thing is that you remain confident in your abilities.

Without confidence, you can easily undervalue what you can offer an employer. Write down your skills and strengths on a piece of paper. Refer to this during your job search, to help give you a boost of energy.

If you’re uncertain, ask friends and family to share their feedback on where your strengths lie. They may offer some suggestions that you had not previously considered.

If you’re concerned that your skills are no longer up-to-date, take a refresher course. Make sure you do your research too. Look at the employer’s website and social media channels.

You should also look at their competitors, read the latest industry news and research industry trends. Knowing you have all the information you need, will help you to be much more confident, especially during interviews.

Everyone has their own career path

Taking a career break is more common than you may think, despite the stigma that is sometimes attached behind how potential candidates will fill that void. Everyone has different career ladders they climb at their own pace depending on what their goals are in life.

So if you’re feeling apprehensive about jumping back into the workforce after a career break, remember these tips to put you on the right path with renewed confidence.

Need to get ready for job search success?  Our team at PWU is here to help.

We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

7 Reasons LinkedIn Is Your #1 Job Search Site

linkedin job search

When used properly, LinkedIn can be a job-seekers best friend. With an optimized profile, you can send a broader message of your skills and achievement to gain an endless amount of connections. Making LinkedIn Your #1 Job Search Site.

However, LinkedIn profiles are not to be used as a copy and paste of your resume. Remember, this is a networking tool.  The aim is to showcase more than your resume can while still using mandatory keywords and SEO optimization

1. Make Your Headline Count

Your LinkedIn headline is your online brand. Along with the profile picture, the name and headline are what impact those who view the profile.  Keep that headline tidy and on-point to stand out from the crowd.  Consider how these 2 headlines sound:

“Marketer seeking next opportunity”

or

“Consumer Products Marketer Looking for Small Brand to Make Big”

No brainer, right? Make your headline count! 

2. Follow Your Target Companies

First off, if you haven’t already, create a list of ideal companies that align with your interests and skills.  Use this list as your go-to for snooping around LinkedIn with intent. 

Now, go follow those specific companies.

This way, you’ll hear about anything new they’ve got happening. from a new branch office opening to a new product release or possibly even a hiring push.

3. Broaden Your Network

If you haven’t been meticulous about inviting new networking contacts and old colleagues to join your LinkedIn network, get caught up now! You can download your address books from any webmail application or Outlook contacts.

Consider this, one new first-degree contact with 100 connections of their own can expand your first-second-and-third-degree network by tens of thousands of people.

That’s good at any point, but especially in a job search where you’re looking for as much visibility into your professional ecosystem as you can get.

4. Get That Intro!

If your first-degree connection knows someone you’d like to talk to, ask for an introduction.

Just browse to your target person’s LinkedIn profile, look for the blue link that says “Send a Message” and click on the arrow on the right of the link.  If you and your target person have a common connection, you’ll see a “Get an Introduction” pull-down menu. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeazy.

5. Find Your Hiring Manager

You can use the Advanced People Search to find hiring managers in most companies.  Click ‘Advanced’ next to the search bar at the top of the page. Then enter your target company name with the most likely title for your hiring manager as a second search term.

For instance, if you’re a Marketing person, your hiring manager could be Marketing Director or Marketing VP.  Use your instinct and search around a bit.  You’ll likely find the connection you need in no time!

 6. Your Network Is A Fountain of Wisdom

Go back to the Advanced Search page and conduct a search using just your target company’s name as a search term. Who in your network is connected to that company, and how? Those folks can do more than just make introductions. They can offer insight into the company and also who they may know directly.

Remember that a job search is not just about being noticed and making connections. It’s also about learning enough to decide whether a company can use your talents plus grow your skills.  A little research can show whether it’s worth your time to pursue opportunities with your target company.

7. Stay In It!

Patience and persistence are the names of the game now. It may take longer than you anticipated, or you could find the ideal fit quite quickly. Stay with it to step up to your next opportunity!

We want to see all or clients operating at top value when it comes to using LinkedIn for job search purposes. Whether you’re needing a Resume update, Cover Letter, Recruitment Services or LinkedIn Profile Optimization, our team at PWU has what you need.

Follow the link for a free resume review and consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

How to Maximize ROI on LinkedIn Profiles

stop under utilizing linkedin

LinkedIn maintains the largest business professional social network and is the prime route recruiters travel to finding talent. However, from what we’ve seen, many clients need help to know how to maximize ROI on LinkedIn profiles.

Sure, it’s a quick and easy way to reconnect with a co-worker from way back when or an old college friend, but LinkedIn is also a powerful tool for lead generation, market research, and global networking.

To maximize ROI on LinkedIn Profiles, learn about LinkedIn’s little-known and advanced features to help you unlock its potential to the greatest extent possible.

Before you spend money on premium accounts or paid marketing.

Be specific on how you plan to use LinkedIn. For example, are you:

  • expanding your network,
  • promoting your business,
  • contributing to a discussion,
  • or publishing your own content specific to your expertise.

If you’re going to contribute, then put thought into the subject and truly contribute.  The same thing goes for expanding your network or promoting your business. 

To get more out of your LinkedIn account, the simplest thing you can do is to increase your participation and choose your focus. 

linkedin profile optimization resume update

For Owners Of B2B Companies

The keys to using LinkedIn as a tool for lead generation are establishing and developing a strong profile. Make sure your profile containing keywords and phrases. You want to draw leads to you and build up your list of connections and followers.

Your goal should be to convey a strong, professional image supportive of your brand identity. Show people what you have to offer, be confident. Own your voice!

The trick is to be authentic, share what matters to you and your company so the right following can find you.

All types of businesses can use LinkedIn as a lead-generation tool by mining competitor connections and searching for senior leaders and decision-makers at companies they are targeting,

Here are some facts and statistics about LinkedIn:

  • Total number of LinkedIn users: 645 million
  • Total number of LinkedIn business pages:  3 million
  • 88 of Fortune 100 companies use LinkedIn’s to search for job candidates
  • 97.3% of staffing professionals overall use LinkedIn as a recruiting tool
  • Profiles with professionals headshots receive 14x more views.
  • Profiles with 5+ skills listed get 17x more profile views.
  • Number of standard skills available to list on LinkedIn 50,000

So, how big is LinkedIn today?

Brenda Bernstein, author of How to Write a Killer LinkedIn Profile writes, “In 2011, 73% of all hires sourced from social media were sourced from LinkedIn as opposed to 20% from Facebook and 7% from Twitter.” 

Today, that number has reached over 90%.

Those are some hefty metrics!  So how optimized is your profile? 

We want to see all or clients operating at top value when it comes to LinkedIn. Whether you’re needing a Resume update, Cover Letter, Recruitment Services or LinkedIn optimization, our team at PWU has what you need.

Follow the link for a free resume review and consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

Shifting Careers Between Freelance and Corporate

shifting careers corporate freelance

We’ve recently been looking at the double lane highway of shifting careers between freelance and corporate life.  From the perspective of professional resume writers, we’ve definitely seen equal movement between these 2 career directions.

Without question, transitioning from life at a corporate firm to working freelance is a HUGE life change. The greatest technique is in all the individual action steps taken to create a strong outcome. Successes certainly live in the daily grind.

Write a plan of action.

This helps maintain accountability and keep you on track.

If you’re not entirely familiar with the details of a business plan, that’s perfectly fine.  Think of your plan like a map. Begin with goal setting. Outline short-term and long-term goals and place them into a loose chronological order, the specific dates matter less than the actual structure.

Don’t burn any bridges.

Although it’s tempting to skip gleefully out of the door on your last day in the office telling everybody how great your new life is going to be, don’t.  You never know when you might need these contacts again, not to mention references from your employer. Leaving with a recommendation is never a bad outcome. 

Friendly reminder: The world is a very small place. and you never know where your future clients may be. 

Network.

This may sound dramatic but, ultimately you need to make sure EVERYONE knows you are going freelance: ex-colleagues, friends, old classmates, that neighbor with a beard.  Everyone.  Remember, getting work once you go freelance can take longer than imagined so build-up a client base in all ways possible.

Work is much more likely to come through known contacts. That’s just the nature of humans in general. We work with who we know and trust.

Network as much as possible, both in person and on social media.

Speak to friends or acquaintances who have made the leap to freelancing. These people are valuable resources for advice not just on those first few weeks starting out, but for the long haul.

Essentially freelancing is building your personal brand. 

This is a fact. Fortunately, there is ample information out there on the specifics of personal branding.  Quickprout has a nice guide that summarizes the process giving actionable items that help map the route. A quick Google tour will land you in front of some seriously good content for designing and managing your own personal brand.

Utilize social media.

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all useful tools. Additionally, if your LinkedIn profile isn’t yet optimized, get it there.  Our team is highly skilled at LinkedIn optimizations that show clients in their best light possible.  This is mandatory in today’s workforce.

Optimize linkedin profile

94% of recruiters are searching for talent on LinkedIn. Use this tool.

Lastly, consider starting a blog. Yes, they are timely but well-designed search engine optimized (SEO) blogs are a great way to drive attention towards your website. This, in turn, builds an audience and potential client base.

Don’t be shy about putting your business out there.

Now, if you find yourself on the highway heading back to corporate structures then the strategy is dramatically different. At this point, your resume must highlight all the unique skills acquired as a freelancer plus reflect positively on the actual time away from the workforce.

As always Power Writers USA is here to help guide you through the steps. Resume Writing, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Optimization and Recruiter Resume Distribution are all available from our team at PWU. Connect with us for a free consultation and resume review!

Unquestionably, unless you are a writing wizard, it’s in your best interest to hire a professional resume writer now.  Freelance skills are diverse and translating all the detailed specifics to corporate necessity is key to your resume making it through ATS and recruiter processes.

4 essential pieces of career advice for the Class of 2017

Knowing how to enter the workforce is critical, this article, along with a professionally written resume will prove invaluable.  Power Writers USA also offers LinkedIn profile updates which are an important part establishing and maintaining a professional profile.  One obvious item that was missed in this article though was the power of having a professional resume.  Many grads don’t know how to properly write a resume and often miss key words, content, and formatting which will make the job search difficult.  I our opinion a professionally written resume and cover letter is the only way to go!  Contact us to discuss our packages which include resume writing, cover letter writing, CV writing, and LinkedIn profile updates.  

 

If you have a job in hand, congratulations. Now, start thinking about your next job.

Absolutely focus on doing your very best for your new employer, but have a plan on where you are headed next and let that guide you as you acquire skills and experiences.

If you are still on the job hunt — don’t panic, plan it.

FIRST A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE: YOU ARE NOT TRYING TO FIND THE JOB YOU ARE GOING TO RETIRE FROM.

It hasn’t been invented yet. Instead, look for any opportunity to gain experience and skill. Break it down: What are you most passionate about and what are four aspects of that passion? Answer a few questions: what do you do, how do you do it, where do you do it, with whom do you do it? Now, what are some of the jobs that fit these four aspects? Use those findings as a guide for keywords in an advanced search on indeed.com or careerbuilder.com to seek opportunities, like jobs, internships, and volunteerships.

NEXT, START AND THEN COMPLETE A LINKEDIN PROFILE.

Aim for 100/100. 100 percent complete and 100 professional contacts (not your buddies and BFFs, but real live professionals). Start with your alumni. See LinkedIn.com/alumni, this fantastic little hidden gem will surface all the alumni from your school in a dynamic dashboard that includes geographic location, company/organization, and job title. Click on one or more of the labels to sort alumni and you’ll be networking in no time. Ask to connect with them, but don’t send the pre-written standard message (which screams “I want to connect with you but I’m too lazy to write anything original”). Craft a short message that is personalized, like: “I’m graduating from xx institution in a few weeks and identified you on LinkedIn as someone I would like to speak with. I’m very interested in learning more about your career path and to get your advice on starting out in this industry.” You’ll be amazed at how many folks love to get this kind of message and will respond.

Also on LinkedIn, find out if there is an alumni group for your institution. If yes, join it then message the whole group that you are just graduating and would like to ask a few questions about transitioning to your career field(s). Avoid sounding desperate (“Someone pleeeez help me!”). Keep it professional, concise and authentic. You are asking for advice, not a handout.

DON’T FORGET TO CHECK IN WITH CAREER SERVICES AT YOUR SCHOOL.

I bet they have tons of connections and late-season hiring opportunities that alumni and companies are sending in. We get them all the time at my institution. Some of the coolest openings come in at the last minute, including over the summer after your graduation.

FINALLY, WHEN YOU LAND THAT JOB, LET YOUR ALMA MATER KNOW.

We all want to hear that you are doing great and good in the world. And, when you can, give back. Support the annual fund every year, even if it is a few dollars, and then, when you have a chance, answer the call from the seniors that follow you in the coming years who are asking for advice. Tell them not to panic; it will be all right.

Michael Sciola is Colgate University’s associate vice president of institutional advancement and career initiatives.

Original Article: http://college.usatoday.com/2017/05/11/4-essential-pieces-of-career-advice-for-the-class-of-2017/