Going back to work after a career break is tough. Being out of the job market for a number of years is especially challenging. You may find that your job skills are rusty or your network has moved on. Potential employers wonder how committed you are and may question whether you still have the ability to do the job. Fortunately, by taking a few steps you can make relaunching your career less about the time you've been away and make it more about re-establishing your professional identity.
Conduct a personal inventory of your skills. Some of the technology in the workplace may have changed while you were gone, but you may find that you have transferable skills or experience that you can emphasize instead. If your job field has changed considerably since you left, consider taking classes to get yourself up to speed.
Build your resume around both the skills you learned in your corporate job as well as the skills you acquired during your career break. Remember to include any skills or experience that you acquired when performing volunteer work.
Reach out and get connected. Tell the people you know that you are looking for a job. You may have lost your old network, but there is still a good chance there are people you know that can help you build a new one.
Take advantage of the social media network. Many recruiters now use social media as a way to find job candidates. Showcase your talents on the Internet by filling out complete profiles for LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Search for people and groups that talk about or promote the field you wish to be in.
Practice for your interview with a friend or spouse. Mary Anne Walsh, a New York City-based executive coach, is quoted in a CNN Money article as stating that "success in relaunching your career is less a factor of how long you've been away and more a matter of your attitude and how you present yourself.” People going back into the workplace after a long absence often lack self-confidence, which can affect how well they perform and how they are perceived during an interview.
Do not try to fudge or de-emphasize the dates that you were unemployed. However, large gaps in work history raise red flags with employers. Instead, tailor your resume to reflect more about your work experience than the dates you spent at each job.