If you have been out of the workplace for a significant length of time, your motivation levels may have gone down and your confidence and self esteem may also have plummeted. In addition to this, your knowledge of the working world will inevitably also have taken a dip so these are issues that need to be worked upon in order to be able to attain your best life - working and otherwise.
Reflection is a good way to view your past achievements because it can show you what you did well, what you enjoyed doing, what you aspired to do and what you were capable of. It can also highlight accomplishments and successes in your career as well as reminding you what you did not enjoy and where your weaknesses lie. Reflecting on the positives can give you a boost in your confidence and act as a reminder of what you can do.
Updating your skills and connecting with others who can assist you in getting back into work will help you feel more prepared for when you reenter the workforce. There are many courses and workshops available for people of all ages and abilities with many being solely focused on getting people back into work. These courses will not only focus on getting you into employment but many will help you understand the processes involved from initially searching for a job, to what you should wear and how to conduct yourself in an interview. Often these workshops or courses will be in a group setting and everyone will have the same aim, which is getting back into work. Self confidence and belief is a key factor but you will be further motivated and confidence will increase as you are connecting with others, sharing experiences and encouraging each other.
Networking can be difficult after you have been out of work as in reality, it is all too easy to lose contact with the people that were once an integral part of your professional lives. Often, once confidence starts to diminish, people tend not to be as active on networking platforms as they feel they no longer belong as they once did. However, professional networking is there not only for the successes and good times but it is there for the not so good times. Reconnect and re-establish with former colleagues, industry professionals and with new contacts. Use this time to reinvent yourself and pitch yourself well and in a proactive and positive way which lets others know you are looking for employment and what you can offer. Others can often provide insights, support, advice and potential job leads which may come from unexpected sources. Just knowing that countless others are for you and not against you and that you have a strong professional network behind you can work in boosting your morale and confidence in yourself.
Practice interview techniques and use your imagination regarding different scenarios such as difficult questions in interviews or your elevator pitch, which is a very quick introduction of yourself at the start of an interview and is designed to create interest. Rehearse your responses and this will give you confidence when talking in front of others and allow you to become more articulate.
Never underestimate how beneficial voluntary work of any type is to you personally and to the community. Getting yourself ‘back out there’ with other people and communicating on different levels in a structured work environment, is a fantastic way to boost confidence and give you the motivation to excel in doing something you enjoy.
Building confidence takes time, especially if it has taken a knock or two but be patient with yourself and keep persevering. Each small step you take towards re- entering the workforce will contribute towards your personal growth and increased self esteem.