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Eager to Return to the Workforce After a 10-Year Absence

by Mia
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Mike-

I would like to return to the workforce after an extended absence due to personal issues and then caring for ailing, elderly parents, but am not receiving any interest from prospective employers.

I recently completed training for a new career in HR and had my resume professionally revised to focus on my skill sets and accomplishments, but it is still not generating any interest.

I think my long-term unemployment is the problem and turning off would-be employers and recruiters. Recruitment firms and employment agencies tell me my situation is a tough sell, so I feel I'm being written off for even entry level positions in my field.

I have tried networking events and connecting with others in my field both online and offline, but I am treated like a pariah when I mention my long-term unemployment, as inevitably the question does come up. I am at a loss as to next steps. Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Mia

Michael Petras Replies:

Hello Mia-

Thanks for your email. Sorry to hear of your struggles to get back into the workforce. Unfortunately, most employers will prejudge you negatively after such a long absence from work.

It's important that you put a positive spin on your absence, and that you are well prepared for your interviews. If you simply say you were off this long due to "personal reasons and helping your ailing parents" employers will suspect you have a lot of personal issues.

I know this is unfair and probably untrue, but it's important that you come up with a compelling explanation.

Despite getting the cold shoulder from your networking efforts, keep it up. This is by far the best way to find a job. Make sure you have a professional profile on LinkedIn including a head shot photo of yourself that looks professional.

Here are 2 articles I wrote about women in similar situations to yours that might give you some ideas:


Hope this helps a little. Good luck with your job search.

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