Re-entering the Workplace After the COVID Hiatus
Many people who are re-entering the workplace after having been made redundant during the initial COVID waves, find themselves facing exceptional issues when it comes to landing a new job. Here at Select Resumes, we have had clients who had never even had a resume before and could not face the idea of trying to compose one to encapsulate their entire careers.
The first thing to take on board is – it is not personal, there are so many people in your situation right now. Redundancy can deliver a serious blow to your confidence and bring plenty of uncertainty about the future. But dwelling on the negatives can delay your return to the workforce. Remember, it is jobs that are made redundant, not people – and it is something that can happen to anyone through no fault of their own.
As hard as it may be, taking a proactive approach to re-entering the workplace is critical to making redundancy the start of a sea change in your life.
There is no doubt that when leaving the workforce, whether it be because of COVID-19, to raise a family, take an extended break, or take care of a parent, or through illness; the employment gap leaves hiring managers with questions. Some of their biggest questions: are your skills still in demand, is your industry as vibrant as it once was? The answer most likely is still yes, but how do you convince the employer in your resume to take a chance on you now that there is a natural caution, and the anxiety of a second wave? The answers are easier than you would think.
Depending on the length of your absence from the workplace, or the nature of certain jobs that may never reappear, there may be some practical considerations you may need to consider. For example, you may need to upgrade or add to your skills to get back into the workforce. Short TAFE and University courses may be beneficial for you. Some universities will also allow you to enrol in a single unit of a degree.
When re-entering the workplace, think about your value proposition to a prospective employer. What is a value proposition? In its basic form, it is an innovation, service, or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers. When applied to a person, the innovation is what you bring to the table that the next person does not or cannot. How you position your value proposition all serve to present ‘Brand You’ as an attractive asset to an employer. These are the soft skills you often read about. These are non-industry specific personal traits that are universal – teamwork, communication skills, work ethic, adaptability (very important right now!), emotional intelligence, self-motivation, problem-solving skills, leadership, organisational skills, creativity – all these skills will be attractive to an employer no matter what your previous position or industry. If you have to look at a new industry or role that is not specific to your trained skills, these will help you transition well.
The reality of re-entering the workplace is that you may need to make some compromises. So, try and be open to part-time, casual, project or contract work whilst you find what works for you in our new reality. These short-term jobs often provide great experience and contacts that can help you land a job that is a perfect fit for you and all of the experiences you bring to the table. Also, they can turn out to be stepping stones to a new career as employers are loathed to let someone go with obvious talents! Covid-19 has affected us all, and if there is one word that will help get you back on your feet, it is ‘adaptability’. All of us are going to have to reshape our skills and working practices to a greater or lesser extent. Those that are flexible, pragmatic and forward-thinking will find themselves at the forefront of a commercial reality that very much may be with us for a generation.