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After you’ve been away from the workforce for a while, jumping back into the game can present some serious challenges, both practical and psychological. This is true for almost all professions, but each field and each industry also brings a unique set of hurdles that relate specifically hiring manger preferences and the tasks required by the job. If you’re stepping back into the engineering workplace after a hiatus of a few months or years, these simple moves can make the transition easier.

1. Demonstrate that you’ve been keeping up.

You don’t have to launch into your cover letter with a statement like: “Despite the gap in my resume, I’ve been subscribing to and reading several industry-specific publications and participating in professional societies, etc, etc…” This sounds defensive, and until your resume gap is directly questioned, there’s no need to take this stance. But when interviewer ask you what you’ve been doing in order to keep up with changes in the industry, make sure you have something to say.

2. Build an online presence.

It may or may not seem fair, and it may or may not seem very wise, but a significant number of employers research candidates online and factor the information they find into their hiring decisions. So make sure that when your reviewers run your name through a search engine, the results they find create a positive impact for your job prospects. Clean up your online profiles, check and recheck your privacy settings, and make sure no embarrassing photos, “secret” blogs, or excessive sharing are standing in your way.

3. Establish yourself as a thought leader.

In the meantime, don’t just keep your online persona from holding you back. Actively push yourself forward by frequenting respectable engineering-focused websites, industry-related blogs, and sites that can help you stay on top of cutting edge software developments, legal issues, and other trends that are specific to your area of expertise. Make smart comments, and post and retweet articles that interest you.

4. Leverage your network.

Your network will be your most valuable tool as you work your way back into the field. Stay in touch with your previous bosses and coworkers, and don’t be shy about asking for informational interviews, connections, and leads.

For more information on how to re-establish yourself in the engineering field and find your footing on the job market, reach out to the MA staffing experts at Tech Needs.

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