Grand Traverse Woman
Where Do I Start?
A CHECKLIST FOR GETTING BACK INTO THE WORKPLACE BY LAURA RUTKOWSKI
HAVE YOU EVER SAID or thought one of the following? “How will I ever get back in the game after being home with the kids?” “I need a different work/life balance but have no idea how to go about it.” “Nobody would be interested in my skills. I’m just a mom.” YES, you can get back in the game, achieve a better balance, and generate interest in your skills. Having worked with hundreds of mid-career professionals in all walks of life, the one theme I see is that most of us do not have a clue about the value we bring to the workplace and how to showcase it to the world. While it may seem like a daunting task, it is really just a project. And, like all projects, it has a beginning and an end with tasks to do in the middle. Let’s take a look at those tasks:
1. Define Your Ideal Job. First, get clear about what you want. The easiest way to do this is to imagine your ideal job and write down what it will include. Don’t worry if it seems unrealistic. What will you be doing? Where? When? Whom will you be working with? How far is the commute? What is the pay? What is the company like? Now take that list, fold it and put it into your purse. At the end of your journey, you may be surprised how many of those things happened for you!
2. See What’s Out There. Next, do some browsing on job sites. Search for positions that have some of the things you want. Find at least three and print them out. If this step does not work for you, that’s okay. There is still a way to let the world know who you are and what you can do.
3. Get Out Your Highlighter. Review your three job listings. Typically, they show job responsibilities and qualifications. Highlight the things you can see yourself doing and the qualifications that you have. It’s okay if you don’t have all the qualifications! Nobody does. It’s just a wish list for the person who wrote it.
4. Showcase the Ideal Candidate: You Now it’s time to write your marketing blurb, better known as a resume in the job search world. The idea is to write your resume to include the highlighted words and phrases from your job postings. If the job posting says, “Knowledge of Microsoft Word,” your resume should use the same language rather than something generic like “computer skills.”
5. Remember, It’s About Them, Not You. Ironically, a resume should be written with the reader in mind, not the person it’s about. By that I mean, people who are looking at resumes want to know: “What can this person do for me?” Not the other way around. Consider these two statements for the resume’s OBJECTIVE. Which one has the employer in mind? • I am seeking a position with a company that will utilize my skills and provide promotion opportunities.
• I am seeking a position on a team that values hard work and a commitment to solving problems Of course, it’s the second one. When writing your resume, review each sentence for this subtle messaging.
6. Get Creative. There are times when some of our best accomplishments don’t fit into traditional categories on a resume. The solution? Add a category! For instance, I have often added a category called: “Noteworthy” near the end of the resume. Here’s what it might look like: NOTEWORTHY • Managed a Brownie troop of 20 girls for three years, including weekly meetings and an annual camping trip. The group doubled in size during this time. • Participated in the Parent/Teacher Organization during the annual fund-raising campaign. Responsible for generating the most donations. • Worked my way through college playing in a jazz band. You can see that any employer would value the skills needed for these accomplishments.
7. Get Feedback. The best writing projects have an editor. Work with a good writer to be sure you are saying what you want to say, the way you want to say it.
8. Be Patient. Finding the perfect job does not usually happen overnight, but if you make time to work on the project a little each week, you will certainly reap the rewards. Good luck and always remember—you bring much to the world and the workplace!
Laura Rutkowski has been helping people shine in the job market for over 30 years. Her specialty is working with mid-career professionals who are navigating a change. Laura lives in Williamsburg and can be contacted through www.TraverseCityResumes.com.