6 tips to deal with the dilemma of returning to work

19th Sep 2017
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If you’ve been on a career break, to devote your time to family, and are now raring to restart your journey back into the workforce, then chances are that a job search is giving you sleepless nights. The moment you hit that ‘Submit Resume’ button, you feel a strange kind of peace taking over. So, what’s the next step? Sit back and pray, right? WRONG.

There’s a lot you can do to ensure that your job application isn’t falling through the cracks. Here are the top six things you should do after applying for a job:

1) Post your resume and update your profile

Make sure you post your updated resume and complete your profile on jobs sites. Think about what new skill you have picked up that you can add to your resume to make it stronger. Maybe you volunteered for something, worked as a freelancer or a consultant. Explain to potential employers how this helped improve your leadership and organizational skills. You can also count the time that you worked part-time for yourself as credible experience to add to your resume. Also, add any learnings you gained from attending industry related conferences.

2) Network

Networking doesn’t stop after you’ve applied for a job. In fact, that’s when you need to up your game, and look for various means of networking, apart from online media channels. And that’s when offline networking comes in handy. Offline networking will equip you with a lot more information when you get called in for that interview. You can network by attending webinars and events held by the company. Also attend industry related conferences (there are many that are free to register) where you can interact with key people who can connect you to your dream company. . Additionally, attend workshops to connect with people from your profession, and to stay abreast of industry trends. Chances of building a network are greater when it is face-to-face rather than over the internet.

3) Research

Do you realize that when you apply for a job, you are practically giving away important personal information to strangers? In doing so, you are handing over all your cards to a potential employer even before you land an interview? They have researched you, and now it’s time that you research about them.

  1. a) Start with the company’s website. The “’About Us’ section will tell you about their vision, goals, and achievements.
  2. b) Understanding their mission statements, products, services, and clients will help you make in your interview.
  3. c) Follow social media channels to know more about the company, and get valuable insights from shared contacts who already work there.
  4. d) Don’t stop at scouring through the company’s home page. Check out their competitors, if any. That will give you a clear picture of where they stand, how they’re different, and what’s their USP.

4) Reskill

A sabbatical from work is the best time to upgrade your skills.. There are plenty of online tutorials (free and paid) in whatever skill/subject you would like to work in. Additionally, you could take classes/workshops, attend meetups, watch videos on YouTube and attend online webinars. Upskilling yourself will not only boost the professional development section of your resume but will also show how passionate you are. It will keep you motivated and will prepare you to handle questions at interviews.

5) Follow-up

Don’t let the impersonal tone of the email throw you off. Most often, responses generated soon after you’ve applied for a job are usually automated. If you don't hear back within three days, then go out on a limb, and send follow-up emails every alternate day. While there’s a good chance they might not respond, they will have certainly looked at your email.

Most people forget to or simply don’t follow up for fear of being brushed aside. You trusted the company with vital information for a role that they advertised for, so you have the right to find out where you stand.

Ask open-ended questions that will make them take a second look at your application.

“Would you like me to provide additional information about my work profile?”

OR

“I submitted my application a week ago, what’s the next step in the recruitment process? “

6) Apply for many other jobs

Even after you’ve done your research, networked inside-out, and followed up, there is no reason why you must not apply for many other jobs. Set a goal of applying to 20 jobs a week to start, slowly increasing that number as you get better at the application process. In doing so, you increase your chances of getting at least 10 responses, of which you might decide to take five of them a step further.

So, don’t put up your feet up after you’ve applied for a job. Remember, while there is only ONE job there are definitely more than a thousand applicants. So, get off that routine, get out, network, and see what a world of difference it can make in getting the job done!

Remember, all it takes is a bit of effort in ensuring that your application gets a second look, and therefore, a better chance to stand out from the crowd.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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