The Key to Finding a Job After a Long Career Break

Dear J.T. & Dale: I am an IT professional with more than 20 years' experience. I took a career break in 2005 to care for my mother and eventually wind up her estate. In all, that lasted 30 months. I then returned to look for work in 2008, just when the job market hit rock bottom. Since then I have been unable to find work. I would like your advice on how best to word this in my resume. -Tony DALE: Well, Tony, I hate to say it, but we need to face facts: There is no best way. No unsolicited resume showing you've been out of the work force since 2005 is going to make it into the "To Be Interviewed" stack. In IT, perhaps more than any other field, being out of the work force for even half a year can be a major concern for employers. They worry your knowledge and skills will have fallen behind. And that is no idle concern - I just looked at a chronology of tech events and saw the last year you were employed, 2005, was the year that the first YouTube video was uploaded and Pandora was launched. You already were out of the work force when the first tweet was tweeted and when the HD DVD, the iPhone and the Wii were introduced. And I'm looking at just consumer products, not all the deeper IT transformations that were going on. J.T.: I hate to say it, but even if you've been keeping current, hiring managers are going to have doubts, and you are going to have to sell against negative assumptions. The answer, as it is so often, is networking. The more conversations you can have about current technology, the better the chances they'll see you are up to speed and are capable of handling the job. I suggest you start by going back to former employers. Reconnect with managers and peers to see what they're working on now. DALE: You may be able to re-immerse yourself by doing project work, or helping out friends or co-workers. Being able to list current experience on your resume will bridge the experience gap while giving you recent work to talk about during your job search conversations. J.T.: Make it a goal in those conversations to find out what the latest hot topics/projects are. As you become able to converse knowledgeably about the latest changes, you can position yourself as up-to-date in spite of your hiatus from the IT world. Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale via e-mail at advice@jtanddale.com or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. Career break key image from Shutterstock

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Diane submitted. She has recently worked with a co-worker on a group project. When it came time to present the project at a meeting, Diane let her co-worker present. While it went great, the co-worker proceed to take credit for nearly all of Diane's work. Frustrating to say the least!

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In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if your co-worker took credit for the work you did...right in front of your colleagues AND boss!

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

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In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if witnessed a hiring manager at your organization making fun of a candidate who they had just interviewed who had autism.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

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Fortunately, some companies have generous paternity leave policies that give new dads the ability to take time off of work to stay home with their child.

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There are LOTS of questions around resume dos and don'ts. There's so much advice out there that it can be overwhelming to try and figure out what's the correct answer.

During our weekly live Office Hours on YouTube, two of our coaches, Ariella Coombs and J.T. O'Donnell, answer questions live from viewers related to their job search, career success, on the job situations and more.

We complied a simple list of what we find to be the most common questions our coaches get about resumes. We hope you find this helpful.

Let's start with the basics...

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Back in March, we made the hard decision to change our private Facebook group of over 37 THOUSAND members to a fee-based only platform.

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In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if a recruiter called you a day EARLY for your phone interview (and you were NOT PREPARED!)

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

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