With millions of Americans having lost their jobs due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the return to the workforce has become a challenge for many individuals who have been on long-term unemployment over the past year. As you make the transition back to work, you may be struggling with how to address your gap in employment, effectively market your credentials to employers, and get reacclimated with working in a professional setting. Here are some tips for how you can get your job search on track and reenter the workforce with newfound knowledge, confidence, and ease:
Communicate how you’ve grown.
During the pandemic, many individuals spent their time off work developing new skills and even making the pivot to a new career or industry. As you seek employment opportunities, complete job applications, and update your resume and online profiles, consider the ways in which you’ve grown both personally and professionally. Did you join an industry organization or board, engage in virtual networking events, or take up a new hobby? If you became a member of a board at a local nonprofit, this experience could significantly enhance your resume and add to your set of qualifications. For instance, skills often developed from board involvement include communication, emotional intelligence, and decision-making abilities. On another note, even taking up a new hobby or leisure activity can show a commitment to personal growth and development. For example, hobbies like photography, volunteering, or babysitting, can indicate numerous skills and traits that will be attractive to employers, such as creativity, community involvement, and interpersonal abilities.
Embrace change and adaptability.
Even as things gradually return to a state of normal, it’s important to remember that most workplaces will be under an enormous amount of stress to get their teams and operations up to speed. As a new employee, understanding there may be some delays in the hiring and onboarding process will benefit both you and your boss as you get acquainted with your position’s responsibilities and adapt to changes occurring within your role and the organization at large. Embracing change and demonstrating an adaptable mindset will show your manager that you’re a team player and willing to switch gears on the job as needed to best meet the needs of your company. Furthermore, as workplace regulations and protocols continue to evolve regarding employee health and safety, exemplifying empathy to your employer (especially as managers struggle to keep up with increasing demands put upon their organization) will help to foster positive relationships between you and your coworkers, even as tensions rise from time to time.
Prioritize your mental health.
As you reignite your career, staying focused on your mental health will be critical for a successful re-entry into the workforce. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance will play a major role in your ability to handle the stress of returning to work, along with managing your personal obligations and commitments. With the pandemic shedding light on mental health concerns, it will be especially paramount to check in with yourself and make sure you feel equipped to perform your job without compromising your mental health and well-being. If you begin to feel on the edge of burnout, it may be time to take a step back and discuss your concerns with your employer. To combat the negative effects of stress and burnout, many employers are offering flexible schedules and employee assistance programs, and overall, are fostering a culture of self-care. As an employee, it’s your right to ask for a mental health day and take the time you need to gather your thoughts, focus on your family, and pay attention to your psychological well-being. Remember, mental health is just as important as your physical health. Without feeling your best mentally, it’s nearly impossible to adequately fulfill your professional responsibilities.
It’s fair to say the return to work will not be without some difficulties or roadblocks for both employees and employers. However, as an employee, you have power over your mind, emotions, and actions. With the tips above, you can embark on a renewed career journey that inspires you to achieve new goals and reach your greatest potential. Most importantly, you’ll prove to yourself that you have what it takes to be successful during times of uncertainty, ultimately making you a stronger, more resilient professional prepared to handle the future with poise and professionalism.
If the process of re-entering the workforce has left you feeling confused, anxious, or overwhelmed, it may be time to explore the services of a trusted staffing firm. Get in touch with the recruiters at HH Staffing, a Florida-based staffing agency, and learn how our team can assist with your job search and help you find meaningful employment opportunities that match your qualifications.
Until Next Time,
Your Staffing Partner, Darrin Rohr- President, CEO, and Chief Servant
Current owner of HH Staffing and Former Chief HR Officer for several successful Multinational Fortune 500 Companies. Brings a fresh perspective from decades of experiences creating Great Workplace Cultures by building high-performance teams while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. HH Staffing is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, and is uniquely positioned to serve both local and national clients.