Finding a Job After an Extended Time Off

bigg-challenge.jpgKathryn called us on the Bigg phone. Not the Bat phone … we don’t live in a cave!

She said that life on her own terms meant staying home with her two boys until they were both old enough to be in school all day. They’ve reached that point so she wants to return to the workforce. Besides that, she and her husband are looking forward to having some extra money available.

She says she has been checking classified ads and the job boards just about every day. Unfortunately, she’s not seeing many jobs that she’s both interested in and qualified for.

She’s applied for several jobs and had a couple of interviews which she doesn’t feel went so well. She thinks that the eight years she’s been out of the workforce may be hurting her chances. She asked us for our suggestions.



It’s who you know

Keep in mind that we’re facing a tough job market right now, so you’re not alone in your frustration. One thing to add to your efforts is reaching out to your network. It’s something that a lot of people overlook or don’t place enough value on.

Start by making a list of everyone you know. Then start contacting them. You may start with an e-mail, but try to meet them in person or at least catch up with a phone call.

Be yourself, but make sure you tell them what you’re up to. Also find out what they’ve been doing. You never know … something they say may spark an opportunity for you.

Ideally, you’ll get a referral as a result of this conversation. However, don’t be disappointed if that doesn’t happen. You got to spend some time with a friend or got to know an acquaintance better. They can keep their eyes and ears open for an opportunity for you.

Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up

Be sure to follow up after your meeting or phone call. Let them know how much you enjoyed seeing them. Help with any challenges they may have brought up if you can. If you can help them, they’ll probably go out of their way to help you!

Keep in touch with them. If you see an article they may be interested in, share it with them. If you see a great deal on something you know they like, let them know about it.

The bottom line is: follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.


In her message, Kathryn said she’s had some difficult questions in her interviews. For example, one woman asked her if she thought she’d be able to get to work on time even with her two kids.

Of course, that’s an illegal question, which you have every right to point out, Kathryn. However, you’re probably better off emphasizing that you’ve always been punctual if that’s the case. For instance, we bet you were on time for the interview. Point that out!

The job you’ve been doing

You’ve been a full-time manager for the last eight years. You just haven’t been getting paid directly for it in cash. Don’t underestimate the skills you’ve learned.

Stress what you’ve done and what your strengths are. Bring the skills you’ve learned out in your answers. Have specific examples ready. These will depend on the job you’re seeking. Some examples:

Do you keep your family’s schedule or oversee the finances?

Have you coordinated a remodeling project?

Think about it. You’ll quickly see that you gained a lot of valuable experience.


There’s a great way to prepare for interviews: role-playing. Simulate an interview by putting yourself in an environment as close to an actual interview as possible.

Get your husband to ask you questions or find a friend, preferably someone who interviews people as part of his or her job, and practice interviewing until your answers just roll off your tongue.

What suggestions do you have for Kathryn?

Please leave a comment below, call us at 888.455.BIGG or send us an e-mail at

Thanks Kathryn for sharing your challenge with us. We wish you bigg success in your search efforts!

And we’re sure grateful that you checked in on us today.


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Please join us next time when we talk about why you should play more at work.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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3 replies
  1. Nick Schmidt
    Nick Schmidt says:

    It definitely is who you know.. I say the majority of finding a job has that element. A long time ago my mom told me she never got a job without knowing someone who works at the same company.

    Same goes for me, I never received a job without knowing someone in the company. This even implies to my consulting work.

    However, I know a lot of people on the internet and are friends with but none them have been able to hook me up with a job. :(

    I have been unemployed since November of 2008. So I know what you are going through Kathryn.

    Just keep your head up and don’t worry about the past all you should focus on is the future.

  2. Ryan
    Ryan says:

    It sounds obvious, but something not already mentioned is to make sure you are confident. Practicing and being prepared will help you be confident, but you also have to find that inner voice that says ‘i deserve this job’ or even ‘i am too good for this job’

    As a recent college grad I went to multiple job interviews. I was very shocked that they did not really care about my grades or my college experience (or what I have done previously) but they cared about what kind of person I was and if they thought I could handle the job.

    A lot of the times the person hiring you is going to have to work with you, so they arent going to hire somebody they dont think they will like.

  3. George & Mary-Lynn
    George & Mary-Lynn says:

    Nick, we know that something good will come your way very soon! You have done an excellent job of reaching out to your friends & colleagues and you are the king of follow up. You are doing everything right so hang in there.

    Ryan, you are dead on in regards to confidence. That’s why we think the “role playing” show is a good one to check out. Practice makes perfect and it makes you more confident.

    Thanks guys for sharing your insight!


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