Women, we do it all. From giving life to killing the spider on the wall, we have some of the hardest jobs around. So why is it that the prospect of re-entering the workforce should seem so daunting? For many of us, the old adage (however ridiculous it has proven itself to be) “it’s a man’s world” still resonates. Men rarely leave the workforce to raise a family, maintain a home or care for ailing parents so the fact that our counterparts have a more continuous time “on the job” is not all that inaccurate.
However, just because we women tend to exit the workforce and then re-enter it more frequently than our brothers and fathers and husbands, we should not feel intimidated or even fearful of the process of getting back out there and landing the job that we want.
Here is a list of the Top 5 Tips for Women who are looking to reclaim their professional life – but may be a little shy or overwhelmed by the process.
1. Be Comfortable. Do you ever notice that the more comfortable you are in what you are wearing, the more “you” you are? When you are interviewing, it’s important to dress for the occasion but not to the extent that you look like someone you’re not. It’s harder for us – we can’t throw on a suit and a pair of wingtips. Try on different outfits with different undergarments. That button down you wear unbuttoned with jeans and a tank top may not look all that great when you button it up. Your favorite skirt paired with a chunky sweater is one thing; pairing it with the aforementioned button down is another. Wear what you like and what suits your personality, your body and the job interview.
2. Be Happy. People hire people they like, as they should. Your credentials only got you the interview. But if your personality or your confidence waiver during your interview, you may have shot yourself in your foot. Wear your favorite heels, put on your prettiest necklace, do whatever is going to give you the enthusiasm you need to be enthusiastic about you!
3. Be Honest. A gap in your career is understandable. Tell the person you are sitting down with that you left for X reason. That only takes one sentence and it doesn’t have to be all that involved. Truth be told, it’s not their business – not really. “I left to raise my family”. Focus on why you are looking to reclaim your career and be honest about what sets you apart. Don’t feel that leaving the workforce is something you need to apologize for or explain away. You left. Now you’re back. You have the experience and you’re the best one for the job.
4. Know What You’ve Missed. Whether you have been out of your industry for a year or a decade, it’s essential that you immerse yourself in what you have missed. Technology changes. Styles change. Advancements and new metrics of efficiency change the way your industry operates. Just like you need to be comfortable in your skin (and outfit), you must be knowledgeable about what you have missed and about what you bring to the table that will overcome those obstacles.
a. Example 1: You are a lawyer and the law has changed. Instead of letting that stop you, you have enrolled in Continuing Legal Education classes to bring you up to speed and have been keeping up on the trends and the law by reading the trades.
b. Example 2: You were a secretary and had no real use for computers when you left the workforce. Now, though, you have brushed up on the most commonly used workplace software, researched what your competitors are doing and have suggestions for how your presence can help this new company advance.
5. Polish Up Your Resume and Professional Profile. Like clothing and technology, resumes and professional profiles have also changed. Make sure your presentation is as up to date as possible. Ensure that the skills you left with are transferrable now. Set yourself apart from the pack and know why you are the best.
At the end of the day, interviews are all about getting the right person for the job. This means your personality matches that of your team, your work ethic and efficiency will help to advance your new company, and you have the ability to learn. (You’d think that learning how to get grape juice out of silk would be proof enough, right?)
Your personality and presentation are the most important things once you are face to face on that interview so don’t let it be daunting. Be the smart, successful, charismatic, dynamic person you are when you’re out with your girlfriends and everything else will fall into place.
***Pssst: Want more info? Come join TCP and Helen of Troy Bras on Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 7.30pm for “Strong Foundations – An Event for Women”. Learn about what you can do to make the best impression on your interviews, network with women in your area, shop! The event will be hosted at the Helen of Troy Bras boutique located at 5254 Sunrise Highway, Massapequa Park, NY 11762 (516-691-0401). See you there.
Event details: https://www.facebook.com/events/667566853290301/
The Constant Professional: (web) www.theconstantprofessional.com, (email) firstname.lastname@example.org, (twitter) @tcp_insights, (p) 917.838.6624, (facebook) www.facebook.com/theconstantprofessional