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Re-entry to workforce after a six-year leave

Q: I am re-entering the workforce after a six-year leave and finding it difficult to find a job. My resume is showing my last employer which is in the automotive industry. What should I do with my resume to make it more appealing?

A: Congratulations on your decision to return to the workforce! Job hunting is a challenge alone. You have shared two additional challenges to your work history which may be additional challenge: a six-year gap in your work history as well as recent experience in the automotive industry.

Let’s start with discussing the six-year gap first. One option is to create a functional resume. Instead of using the chronological format (starting with your most recent role and working backwards), consider a functional format for your resume. A functional resume focuses less on the dates and more on your accomplishments and/or skills. You may have several different headings in a functional resume. The headings may include achievements or they may present your skills within specific areas (e.g., technical skills, operational skills, leadership/supervision or manufacturing expertise). For examples of different resumes (including the functional resume), visit http://www.boston.com/jobs/bighelp2008/fall/resume_types/.

Let’s tackle the automotive industry now. Several reports in 2013 indicate an upswing in hiring within the automotive industry in 2013. Even with the recent hiring surge, the auto industry will probably never offer the same pay and benefits to many workers as they have in the past. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one area of growth within the automotive industry is auto repair and maintenance. Visit http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_203.htm to review what industries expect to see growth in wages.

There may be other industries to consider. If you have expertise in manufacturing, it may be worth considering industries with projected long-term opportunities. For more info, visit http://www.bls.gov/ooh/fastest-growing.htm to review the expected fastest growing occupations. Notice that many of them are healthcare-related.

Good luck in your search. Be open to different roles and industries. Opportunities not always come from where you expect them!

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