It feels like starting over. It’s like you’re a kid again, entering the workforce for the first time. Your muscles may feel creakier and now you head to bed by 9 PM, but otherwise, getting back into the workforce after some time off can spark flashbacks to that earlier time, when you went searching for your first job.

Returning to the workforce has its unique complications though. Unlike that earlier time, you have to explain newly-formed gaps in your resume and restructure your life for returning to full-time employment.

These added wrinkles shouldn’t be deal-breakers, though. There are ways to overcome the hurdles that come with returning to work after a taking some time off. Here are some steps you should take once you make the decision to resume full-time employment:

Update Your Resume and References

First, you’ll need to get your documentation ready to apply for positions. Check that your resume format matches current expectations. Purge any entries that have become old or outdated

For your references, contact everyone on your old list to let them know you might need them to speak on your behalf. Also, take the opportunity to update their contact info, and just reconnect in general.

Make sure Your Skills Are Up to Date

It might not be possible to jump directly into the job market. Technology develops quickly and skills that might have been cutting edge when you put your career on pause might be old fashioned now.

Research the current gold standard for your industry. Then, if necessary, take some classes, or achieve any certifications that might help your cause.

Get Your Schedule Ready

When you don’t have a regular, full-time job, you tend to pick up other responsibilities. Looking after a sick relative, taking the lion’s share of parenting chores, even giving friends a hand running errands.

Discuss the situation with the people affected and take the necessary steps to unwind these responsibilities.

Let Your Network Know

Once you’ve handled all the preliminaries and you’re ready to start your job search in earnest, your first stop should be social media and your contact list.

The key to any job search is energizing your network. Your best opportunities come through the people you know. Bottom line: let people know you are looking.

Ease into the Workforce

Aiming for your dream job right out of the gate might prove futile. One of the main drawbacks of a long absence from the workforce comes from having a big gap in your work history. Building up some recent experiences can blunt this issue.

As such, be prepared to ease into the workforce, rather than dive directly into the deep end.

Take What You Can Get…

You likely won’t be able to restart your career exactly where you left off. Be ready to accept part-time and contract work in the beginning.

The process might mean swallowing your pride and taking something that seems like a step down from your previous career peak. But you’ll build up your resume for some better positions in the near future.

…But Don’t Settle for Long

You’ll have to pay some dues again that you thought you had already paid when you were younger. But you shouldn’t need to wallow in career purgatory for an extended period of time.

After filling in your resume and reacclimating to your industry, be aggressive about moving up. Don’t get discouraged and let yourself get bogged down.

When you’re ready to jumpstart your career advancement, consider partnering with a staffing agency. An industry-leading recruiter, like SmartTalent, can steer you to the perfect assignment for any stage of your career.

Contact SmartTalent for more information.