Explaining Your Gaps
Ken Mattsson attended our recent Boston iRelaunch Return to Work Conference at Bentley University. Ken is a Career & Professional Development Consultant with Resonare Consulting and has over 20 years experience working with individuals and groups on their professional development needs. This guest blog is reposted from Ken's blog The Spirit Work Connection.
Last Thursday, I participated in the iRelaunch Conference at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. The focus of this day was on people who have had a noticeable gap in their employment history and are now trying to “relaunch” into the workforce. The large majority of the participants seemed to be professional women who had taken time to raise their children, but there were others who had family and personal medical issues, as well as other issues. From the initial introduction, I learned that the largest constituency in the room was lawyers but there were professionals of all stripes.
The organizers were Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Stein Rabin, who were both career relaunchers and co-wrote the book Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-At-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work. They not only shared their stories of triumph in returning to the workforce, but also brought in voices of others who have relaunched (both employees and employers).
Here are some of my key thoughts from the day:
Relaunching Takes Preparation: if you’ve been out of the workforce for a number of years, it will probably take more time to get all your preparation in order before starting a job. Don’t put it off! Do your research.
Reassess Your Goals: While you might have been quite clear in where your career was going a number of years ago, you might have s different perspective on it now. Do some self-assessment to get clear on what you really want right now. Of course, I can help you on that if you need.
Know Your Value: You will be offered a job for what you have, not for what you don’t. Do your research and understand what it is that’s needed and look to describe how you can fill that gap. When I work with clients with a disability/challenge, I always emphasize to them to talk about what you can offer, and not what you’re missing or can’t do. Emphasize the positive!
Make It Easy on Recruiters: There was a recruiter panel, and what became clear to me is that they would like to help this population, but too often they don’t present themselves in a way that makes it easy on them to help you.