How to ready yourself for re-entry to the work force

Life is full of transitions, and one of them is career change that inevitably involves starting a new job. Many women, for example, take time out of paid employment to have a family, care for relatives, learn new skills, or reassess their futures. When the time comes to re-enter the work force, they need to be ready and ensure that they optimise their potential. So, too, do people changing jobs. Here’s how to get yourself ready to thrive from this challenging experience...

1. Build a positive self-image.

Becoming as good as you know you are demands a positive self-image. You need to value yourself and your contributions if you expect others to do so. You can’t not have a self-image. It is evident in the way you present yourself in everything you do - and it is best accompanied by self-confidence and a positive mental attitude. The bookshops contain self-help literature, tapes, and CDs.

2. Conduct your own SWOT analysis.

Know yourself. SWOT - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats - is a process of looking inwardly and outwardly. Using this process, you can consider your main strengths (what you can offer an employer) and your weaknesses (those qualities or defects that may require additional attention). You also examine the opportunities that exist in your area of expertise or in the marketplace; and you explore threats that may prevent you from achieving your goals.

Be positive and honest about your assessment so that you have a clear picture of your current situation and what actions are required. Don’t sell yourself short. If you’re returning from home duties, for example, remember that managing a home and a family requires skill in controlling time, projects, and finances - skills that are valuable in any workplace.

3. Develop an action plan.

Your personal SWOT analysis will have helped you identify what needs to be done. List specific actions you need to take and the completion time for each. Successful accomplishment of each action will require specific steps.

If one of those steps involves training, do it! In this way, each day in every way, you will progress closer to your goals. Goal achievement, you will find, will be a constant contributor to your positive self-image and success.

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