/ Asked by Erica
I have found it difficult to return to the work field after an unforeseen family hiatus of 3 years. I've updated my resume and cover sheet accordingly. After applying to countless jobs, with no response, I've assumed more education was needed. I am actively taking college classes to obtain an AS degree. At the half way point, which is now, I have been applying for employment again to no avail. What would you recommend I do to improve my chance of getting hired?
Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on Friday, December 5, 2014
Unfortunately, simply sending resumes out when jobs are posted, is not as effective a method as it once was.  What can set you apart in today's market is your network.  The good thing is there are many more tools that you can use to build your network today than in the past.  The most prominent tool is LinkedIn.  If you have not, create a profile on LinkedIn and begin to research and connect with people in the field in which you have interest and at the companies in which you are interested.  Once connected, send a message to these individuals through LinkedIn introducing yourself and eventually requesting an informational interview.  Not all will be responsive, but keep in mind, leaders at many companies, as part of their own professional development, do actively seek out mentoring opportunities.  These relationships are what could set you apart in your job search.
Answered by Nell, Hiring Expert at Pitney Bowes, on Friday, December 5, 2014

I am so sorry to hear about the struggle with your job hunt! I have a couple of ideas for you:
1) If you’re having problems seeking a professional level in the industry that you were previously in; then I would highly recommend retail. It’s a great in and will get you up to date experience in a plethora of fields. Merchandising, Supply chain, Accounting, Customer service, People Management, Marketing, Sales, Industry, Conflict Resolution, Point of Sail Technology and many more. It will also provide you up to date experience to bounce off your AS degree. Retail positions tend to be flexible, and have a lot of opportunity for fast growth and depending on the type of retail there can be sales bonuses.
2) Network, the best thing to do is to go to job fairs, professional associations, and other opportunities in your community to meet other professionals that may be able to put you in contact with the right person.
3) Stop by your schools career services office and have them look over your resume and give you some insight into who is hiring.

I wish you all the best!
Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Since your resume won’t contain a traditional chronological work history with all gaps filled in, you’ll want to carefully craft experiences to address specific skillsets listed as requirements for the jobs to which you are applying. Perhaps there’s something you’ve done in a volunteer or other non-career capacity during the three year hiatus that demonstrates your leadership skills, ability to manage projects, or interface with difficult stakeholders. Your goal is to demonstrate that you will succeed in the desired job because you’ve demonstrated those same skills previously.
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