Five ways to re-enter the jobs market

Whether you've had time away from work to look after children, been ill or just stayed at the same company for years and years, there comes a time when most people will need to jump back into the job market. But this doesn't have to be scary - here's a few ways to make the whole process easier

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Refresh your CV

To be honest, if you've not looked for a new job in some time, then you might want to completely ditch your old résumé and make a fresh CV. Times change and you don't want to use outdated terminology making it look like you've not progressed in the past decade. Of course, your old CV could still come in handy, so highlight your skills and attributes that are still relevant and include these in your new draft.

Also make a note of any training you've been given or techniques you've learnt since you last updated your CV and assemble these into a relevant order. The most appealing résumés will be able to show employers exactly what you can bring to their company, so ideally try to give examples of what you've achieved - i.e. "By doing x, I shortened the process by y", or "I oversaw a team of 20 people". And, obviously, if you've won any kind of awards, then include them - your CV isn't the place to show your timid side.

Emphasise your skills...

Make sure that you put the work in and tailor your CV for each role that you apply for. Many people recommend dedicating most of your CV to the last decade with just a brief mention of your roles before this, but if you've been out of work for a few years then it's a far better idea to order your CV in terms of your skills with the most relevant at the top.

No matter when you held a role, if it's linked to the job that you're applying for, then your experience should definitely be highlighted. Some aspects of the role may have changed (read on about how to overcome this), but employers will still want to know that you've held a similar position in the past.

Of course, if you've spent the majority of your career at the same company, then you've got a different issue, but it's easily solved - just split the period into sections. If you've changed job titles or been promoted then list these separately and detail the different skills and achievements that each role had.

And don't feel obliged to include dates for everything on your CV - it's not necessary to state your date of birth or what year you went to university, so only include them if you want to.

...and research new ones

As mentioned above, even if you previously held a similar position to the one you're now applying for, the role may have changed in the intervening years, so it's a good idea to update your knowledge of basic skills such as emailing, creating spreadsheets, word processing or whatever else is needed.

Search the job descriptions of other similar roles to see which skills are commonly mentioned and work out what you're lacking. All sorts of free courses can be found online, but evening classes are a more reliable way to add a skill or two to your CV. Employers love to see that applicants have done their research and are willing to put the effort in, so demonstrating that you're eager to learn new skills for the role is a definite plus next to your name.

If it's a travel job that you're after, then many employers look for candidates with knowledge of a GDS (global distribution system), so research the company that you're applying to and see whether they use Galileo, Amadeus, Sabre or another system. Training courses can be relatively expensive but, again, free guides are also available on the internet.

Get online

Talking of the internet, a big part of the recruitment process has now gone online, so it's a good idea for you to do the same. Twitter and Facebook profiles could help make you more attractive to employers, but the main site to focus on is LinkedIn. It's very easy to set up - you just need to add your work history, skills, strengths and a photo and you're done (or you could see this handy guide for more LinkedIn tips). Once this is completed, it will effectively act as an online CV, so make sure you sell yourself well!

The other big plus with LinkedIn is that it lets you get in contact with people in your industry and advertise yourself straight to them, so start building connections, making contact with people and getting involved in the ‘group' options.

Use your contacts

Now, obviously, you can only take advantage of your connections if you already have them, but you might be surprised at the opportunities that become available once you make yourself available. Friends, family and old work colleagues are probably the most reliable contacts that you'll have, but as mentioned above, social networks like LinkedIn can now present another route to making new connections with people in the industry.

Alternatively of course, if your contact book is limited, then your next best option is probably to use a specialist recruitment company which understands the sector and knows how to get you back into work - a company, perhaps, like C&M!