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  • gemmarabbini

I’ve been out of the job market for a while - where do I start?

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

You’ve been out of work for a few years and have lost your confidence. You need or want to work due to a change of circumstance, but feel out of date. You’re not the person you were, and feel lost, not sure what you’re qualified for, or the sorts of roles that are suitable.

You’re in the right place! The key thing about these moments is that you remain really objective about what overall skills you have, your history and about what will make you happy. Try these exercises:

Explore your best working environments: Think about what sorts of environments, people, tasks bring out the best in you. When do people say they see you at your best? When were you last happy working and what do you think was key to this? What would you do if you weren’t paid for it?

Find your strengths: What are you good at thinking / feeling / saying / doing? What sorts of (work) things are you doing (or did you do) when you lose track of time because you’re enjoying yourself so much? What do people say ‘you’re amazing at’ or ‘I could never do y’ What are they talking about?

Dust off your CV: Do not let this be a list of everything you’ve done with a big chunk of ‘time off’ - build an achievement CV. Include only the last 10 years of experience and really think hard about what was the impact of what you did. If you were bringing up a family, what were the key tasks ‘Planning, managing and executing all household activities as well as coordinating financial planning, family holidays and academic activities’ and what was the result - ‘three children thriving at school with clear career paths and resilient natures.’

Don’t apologise for the time you’ve had off. You decided to take the time off, so explain what the decision was and why this has changed now. Be forward focused. ‘Now the children are older I am really motivated to focus on adding value to a local company and developing my own working identity to really throw myself into’ What are you moving towards? What’s important to you now?

Work out your ‘needs’ From a practical perspective what do you NEED to earn - do the maths on what does that look like from an hourly / weekly / yearly basis and how many hours a week do you have available to work. What are your red lines - does it need to be something between 10-3 or do you need to be off in the holidays? Do you have a restriction in terms of travel? Have in your mind what these parameters are and make sure they are real NOT perceived. If it’s helpful, write down two lists - ‘I MUST’ and ‘I WOULD LIKE’ to really challenge yourself on what is absolutely essential before you restrict yourself unnecessarily.

The main role you have here is to change your own narrative to focus on three things - ‘why me’ ‘why now’ and ‘why this’ - if you can answer those three questions with passion and clarity, you’re onto a really great thing.

The job search and application process comes at the point when you have looked inside yourself to work out what is important and the right balance for you. Ask a group of friends to help you brainstorm possible roles and networks for opportunities based on the results of your exploration, before you start the ‘scroll of roles’.

For the next stage of your journey, click here for an impactful, self-led online course, perfect for women wanting to make an impact in an interview or career transition, struggling with impostor syndrome and wanting improved self-belief, clarity and focus in their career.

Chat to Gemma for 1:1 support and advice:

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