Getting Back Into Work After A Long Absence

by Rich DeMatteo on August 17, 2017 · 0 comments

Getting a job is hard enough when you’ve got a good amount of work experience, but things get a whole lot harder if you’ve been out of work for a while. There are a lot of different reasons that people might take a long absence from work; maybe you’ve been looking after the kids but now that they’re older, you want to get back into work. You might have been made redundant and struggled to find more work. It’s so difficult for people to get back into work after a long absence, especially if they’re a bit older because the world of work has changed a lot. When you last had a job, you probably didn’t have to fill out extensive applications online, then attend group interviews with all sorts of team building exercises. Things were a lot simpler back then. Social media and networking have become just as big a part of the job search as applications and interviewing and if you don’t understand how it all works, you’re already on the back foot. You’re going up against hundreds of others that have been doing the same applications over and over so they know how to give the answers that employers are looking for. When it comes to interview they’ll be better prepared for the questions that always tend to pop up, and their well rehearsed answers will impress employers more than yours.

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That probably didn’t inspire much confidence in you, but that’s only the situation as it stands right now. You can still get yourself another job, you just need to learn how the job market works these days.

Be Honest

If you make it to interview, one of the first things that they’ll ask you is why you’ve been absent from work for so long. Some employers will be put off by your absence but that’s just something you need to get used to. When they ask, don’t lie about the reasons. They’ll find out eventually and it will just cause problems further down the line.

Temping Agencies

Trying to find a full-time job is hard if you don’t have any recent experience. When there are plenty of applicants that do have the experience, why should an employer choose you? Temping agencies are a great way to get this much needed experience that can help you get your foot in the door. It’s also a good way to ease yourself back into work. They’ll be able to find you short term work that usually lasts about a week or two. If you do this for a couple of months, you’ll have experience in a few different jobs and you can get some money coming in as well.


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If you can’t find any good experience from a temping agency, why not try volunteering instead. You won’t get paid for it but it’s easier to find a position and it looks great on a CV. It’s also a brilliant way of doing something valuable with your time and giving something back. There are plenty of local charities that always need help so have a look around.

Previous Employers

Speaking to your previous employers is always a good idea. If your boss is still working there, and you left on good terms, they might be able to find a position for you. They already know you so your absence shouldn’t put them off. Even if they can’t find a job for you with them, you should still speak to them. They might be able to put you in touch with somebody else that has an opening. Having them vouch for you can get you a long way.

Get Qualified

Qualifications are a lot more important than they used to be. The interview process used to be the main deciding factor and employers were more willing to take a chance on people even if they didn’t have all of the right qualifications. These days, because application numbers are so high, employers are far more strict with these rules. If you haven’t got the qualifications they’re asking for, your application will go in the bin straight away. Most young people are opting to go to college these days so if you don’t have a degree, you’ll already be at a disadvantage. That doesn’t mean you need to go back to college for four years to stand a chance of getting a job though. These days you can study for a degree online in your own time. It’s a much cheaper and more flexible option for people that are trying to get back into the job market. You also don’t need a degree for every job. There are lots of shorter, job specific courses that will teach you everything that you need to know so do a bit of research and see if there are any shortcuts.

Apply For The Right Jobs

If you’re a bit older, there are some careers that are more suited to you. Trying to get a job in the tech industry is going to be difficult because they’re more likely to hire young people. It’s a common misconception that the younger generation has this advantage in all jobs. There are all sorts of jobs that are actually more likely to go to the older generation. The health and social care industry is run by mainly older people so it’s a good option. There are clinical social work masters programs that you can do online to get the qualifications that you need. Once you’re qualified, you should have no trouble finding work.

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Financial planning is another industry that people mistakenly think is full of young people. In reality, most people that work in this sector are older and have had previous jobs elsewhere. You’ll need to take some online certifications before you can legally work, but it’s a good option for people that are getting back into work in later life.

The manufacturing industry is another good option. Young people aren’t really that excited about it so the competition isn’t as fierce. You can also land entry level positions without needing lots of qualifications so if you don’t want to retrain, you should consider it.

Focus On Small Businesses

Most people think that large businesses are the easiest places to get jobs because they hire more people. However, they tend to offer more benefits and pay a little more, so they get way more applicants. If you look at small businesses you stand a much better chance of finding a job. There’s less competition and they’re also less focused on procedure. That means they’re more likely to take a chance on you. They’re usually more flexible with working hours as well so they could be a better choice for people that are trying to ease themselves back into work.

Learn To Network

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. That’s never been truer. When an employer is going through a stack of hundreds of applications, they’ll get rid of some for the most minor reasons. If they get to yours and they recognise the name, they’re more likely to keep it in the pile. If they remember having a good interaction with you, they might even ask you to interview. That’s why networking is so important. Find out about networking events in industries that you want to work in and go along. You don’t have to be pushy about it and ask everybody you meet to give you a job. You just want to meet them, be polite, and leave a bit of an impression. That way, they’ll remember you later when you put an application in.

One of the most common ways that people network is on social media. It might not be something that you use that much, but it can help you to reach out to business contacts that you would not otherwise be able to contact. The most important thing is to make sure your profiles all look professional. Their entire perception of who you are as a person, and a potential employee, comes from that page. If there are things on there that make you look unprofessional, then they’ll be put off hiring you. When you’re getting in touch with companies over social media, don’t be too pushy. If you keep hassling people, they aren’t going to want you in the office with them. LinkedIn is one of the best resources for business networking out there if you use it properly. You’re going to be a bit thin on the ground when it comes to things to put on there because you’ve been out of work for a while, so try to focus on your skills and accent them rather than pushing your previous job experience.

Trying to get back into work after a long absence is going to be an uphill battle. The younger generation does have an advantage over you, but that doesn’t mean everything. If you put the effort in and search in the right places, it is possible for you to find work again.


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