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Ready to re-enter the workforce?

Here’s how to get started

Are you a retiree or stay-at-home parent who is thinking about returning to the workforce? If so, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3.3 million formerly out-of-work Americans have re-entered the workforce lately1. Some are doing it to supplement retirement income; others because they just feel like working again. Either way, that’s a lot of competition—especially in this economy—so it’s important to have a game plan if you’re going to succeed.

Knowing how difficult this transition can be, we asked our own human resource professionals and hiring managers to list their top suggestions. Here’s what they came up with—we hope you find it helpful:

  1. Be professional: If you’re trying to land a professional position, you need to look and act the part. Update your resume, refresh your wardrobe, and work with an interviewing coach to make sure you can handle anything that is thrown your way. If that’s a bit steep for your budget, comb the internet for articles on how to improve your interviewing skills. There’s always something to learn. Also, be sure to research the company and industry thoroughly so that you appear knowledgeable, up-to-date, and can provide relevant answers to their questions.
  2. Boost your skills: While money may be tight, it may be worth your while to invest in a few computer classes, audit a college course, or to become certified in a job-related activity. Not only will that give you the practical skills you need, but it also demonstrates your willingness and ability to learn.
  3. Be realistic: Chances are you aren’t going to waltz back into your previous industry and command the same salary you had before. You may have to start at a part-time or entry-level position just to get your foot in the door. You may even want to consider a ‘returnship’—a term coined by Goldman Sachs to describe internship programs for experienced people who have been out of the workforce.
  4. Convey value: With so many people fighting for the same job, you need to find a way to stand out in the crowd. One way is to demonstrate how your unique skills and experience can help the employer achieve a specific goal or solve a particular problem. Another way is to use your situation to your advantage. For instance: a retiree could point out that their kids are grown so working extra hours or odd shifts won’t be a problem.
  5. Network like it’s a job: Referrals are not only the best way to make a sale—they are also the best way to land a job. Reach out to former colleagues, suppliers, and key business partners and let them know you are looking. Be an active participant in new clubs and professional associations so that people get to know you and your capabilities. Take full advantage of social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook—they are a great way to introduce yourself and demonstrate your command of new technologies.
  6. Be persistent: According to, it now takes an unemployed person more than 7 months to find a job. Unfortunately, most people get discouraged and give up after 5 months2 so it’s important to stay focused and remain positive. Just keep telling yourself that it’s a numbers game and that your next job could be around the corner. If you stick with it, you’ll eventually be right.
  7. It isn’t easy landing a job these days—especially if you’ve been out of the workforce for a while. Still, our human resources professionals say it can be done if you follow some of the advice provided above. Good luck!


    New York Life is hiring. Let’s talk.

    If you’re looking for a way to re-enter the workforce, maybe we can help. Due to the overwhelming demand for our products, New York Life is aggressively hiring, and we’re looking for people with ambition and drive to fill sales and sales management positions throughout the country. While sales and insurance experience is helpful, it’s not required. In fact, many of our most successful Agents and Managers came to us from fields such as education, coaching, banking, and the military—just to name a few.

    Visit and see for how rewarding a career with New York Life can be.

    1(As of 2012) “Rebooting your career after a long layoff,”, December 7, 2012.
    2“5 Reasons It’s Taking So Long To Find A Job (And How To Fix That),”, April 24, 2012.