How to Job Hunt Like a Pro After Taking Time off

How To Job Hunt Like A Pro After Taking Time Off

How do you job hunt like a pro after taking time off? Having to get back into the workforce can be daunting especially when so much about job hunting has changed in the past couple of years. Perhaps whole industries or career tracks have even shifted and it’s hard to even know where to start. How and where do people even find jobs these days after taking time off?

Figure Out What You’re Good At

A headhunter friend recommended I read What Color Is Your Parachute written by Richard Nelson Bolles and I’m glad I did! Although it was written in 1970 it’s been revised over and over and is still considered a career hunter’s classic. His advice about helping you figure out what you enjoy most which usually coincides with what you’re best at can really make the difference in honing career options.

They even have tests and a workbook to help you figure this out! He also talks about how sending out resumes in mass quantities in a shotgun style will rarely land you a job and how learning key networking skills to help you find and connect with the person with the authority to hire you has a much higher probability of success.

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Figure Out How To Highlight Your Skills And Update Your Resume

How to job hunt like a pro after taking time off
How To Job Hunt Like A Pro After Taking Time Off

Someone I know paid $300 to have their resume done. Ouch! I took resume samples I found online and sent mine to a freelancer I found on Fiverr who was able to do mine in just a few days. I had them use my own Canva account so I have access to my document and can make updates and changes easily myself in the future. I set a temporary password and changed it back once they were done.

I believe I paid $20 in total for two versions of my resume.

Totally worth it!

I was also very specific about details that were important to me (colors, fonts, etc.) in my initial communication with them so as to minimize any up charges with revisions. I wrote my resume text out in a word document and I even opted to make two versions when I placed my order. I have both TV and Financial Industry experience and I had been advised that having two versions of my resume was optimal so I could tailor my applications. I believe I paid $20 in total for two versions of my resume. Totally worth it!

Another great tool to use is JobScan. They help you optimize your resume and LinkedIn profile to better your chance of getting past those dreaded applicant tracking resume bots. They even allow you to try a sample for free!

FIgure Out Who You Know

Once you have your resume in hand make a list of everyone you know who is currently working in a field you might possibly be interested in and reach out them. Call them, connect and message them on LinkedIn.  Please, whatever you do, don’t ask your contacts for a job! Things will get awkward really quick! Your goal in reaching out to them is to gather intel, insight and advice. You will want to informationally interview them either by phone or in person.

  • How did they get their job?
  • What do they like/dislike about it?
  • What is their career track and what do starting and established salaries look like?
  • Who does the hiring at their company?
  • Who are the recruiters hiring in their field? 

Please, whatever you do, don’t ask your contacts for a job!

Follow up with a thank you note or email to show appreciation for their time. They are your ally on the inside and could prove to be invaluable.

I was able to rule out a couple of career tracks I thought might be a great fit (but wouldn’t have been) by speaking to people I already knew thus saving me time and energy to focus on more appropriate career options.

Figure Out Where The Jobs Are

How to job hunt like a pro after taking time off
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Jobs come from networking and the premiere job networking site is Linkedin. You should definitely update your profile, add a professional photo of yourself, upload your brand new resume and make sure all your contact information and links are working properly. You should also indicate that you’re looking for work by clicking that box in the settings section so recruiters know they can contact you with opportunities.

The best way to use this site is to identify the jobs you’re interested in and the companies you would like to work for and find your common connections at those places and network your way into those opportunities. The free version works great except you can only send InMail with their paid version. The way around that is to ‘add a note’ when you send a Connect message which is nice. I have used the free version for several months before I upgraded to the paid version.

A recruiter friend once told me it’s easier to get hired for any job while you’re already working. So, it may not hurt to take any position if you’re offered one then keep looking for your ideal job. You will be a more desirable candidate and life is certainly less stressful when you have something coming in as opposed to nothing.

*This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click a link on this page and make a purchase we may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. We only recommend products we use and love. Thank you for supporting our blog!  Our polices page can be found here. 

Brush Up On The New Basic Skills

Have you ever looked into all the perks included with your public library card? Libraries have tons of free resources and the one I love for job hunters are their free online classes so you can re-train yourself from the comfort of your home computer!  Need to learn Power Point? They probably have a class for that! And you can probably knock it out this weekend!

Figure Out What You Can Do To Make Money During Your Job Hunt

Ok, so you’re down with the job hunting plan we’ve laid out but you need a legit side hustle to do while you wait for that ideal career opportunity you’ve been dreaming of. It certainly doesn’t hurt to crank up a side hustle to bring in some cash while you’re job hunting. It’s also not a bad idea to keep a decent side hustle going even when you are employed to save some extra money or if you work in an industry with any volatility.

In order to make some quick cash, you’ll need to think outside the box and look at gig work a.k.a. flex work. It definitely may not pay enough to do it full time but you can often do this type of work during off hours on a flexible schedule which means it shouldn’t interfere with job interviews or making calls during business hours. Some options I like include freelancing on Fiverr, InstaCart, VipKid, Amazon Flex or Lyft. Some of these ideas may work better than others do depending on where you live and what type of work you might enjoy but most of them can have you up and running, and most importantly earning money, in under a week. Your bank account will thank you!

Bonus Tip:

Returnships!

What are those?! Returnships are Internships for workers who are coming back after a break. They can be for women, older workers, post retirement workers, career changers or even those who had to take time off to care for a loved one. Several companies have added them to their HR repertoire and they’re becoming more and more popular. It’s a great way for an employer to test drive someone or vice versa.

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