RE-ENTERING the workforce after a break in your career can be a little overwhelming.

Crazy thoughts may race through your mind. Where do I begin? What if there are no jobs? What if there are jobs but no one will hire me?

Looking for employment is always unnerving. But with a little planning and calm thinking, you can make it a positive turning point in your life.

Here are a few steps you might consider while making the move to re-enter the job market:

Recognise your options

Don’t be limited by the work you were doing in the past. Choose a field that you enjoy, not just a way to earn a living. It can be unsatisfying to get a job and then realise it’s not something you want to do.

You do have options, so consider all of them. Make sure that resuming your previous career is the right path before heading back in that direction. Accepting temporary or freelance work would be a good way to experiment with new fields and opportunities.

Many temp agencies these days are offering more benefits, such as health insurance and vacation pay, which makes the experimenting a lot easier on your budget.

Be realistic

If you choose to go back to your previous career, be mindful that significant changes may have occurred there, making it impossible to get back to the same position. You might have to actually take a step back on the career ladder.

For example, people who were once mid-managers may now need to consider entry-level positions until they gain the necessary skills.

Update your skills

If you have become “outdated”, do whatever is necessary to become marketable again, especially in highly technical fields.

There are many educational opportunities that will help you become marketable once again.

Many community colleges offer degrees and certificate programmes in many different fields. There are also many colleges or institutions that offer online courses, which you can take at your own convenience. Check with the local unemployment office to see what classes they may offer. Volunteer work is also a way to update skills.

Be enthusiastic

You may face obstacles in your quest, but it’s important to focus on the advantages. People re-entering the workforce have experience, skills and knowledge that make them more desirable candidates than new job seekers.

Update your resumé

Go through your resumé to accentuate the positives. If you have access to career counselling, take your resumé in for an expert’s opinion. A career counsellor can give you pointers about your resumé.

Prepare for interviews

Invest in a new suit or business clothes. If there are any classes on interviewing skills taught in your community, take them. A little preparation goes a long way in an interview.

Use connections

Let’s face it, sometimes it’s who you know that counts. Often, the best way to re-enter the workforce is to contact former bosses and colleagues, and use networking to find out where the opportunities are.

Re-entering the workforce can be a challenge, but it is one that can be overcome. Having a plan and being prepared will help to make it a successful and rewarding experience.