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Back to Work: How to Land a Job After a Long Absence from the Workforce

November 2009 (SmartPros) If you're attempting to relaunch your accounting and finance career after an extended absence, it's likely you're finding today's job market especially challenging.

Use the following tips to get back in the game:

Mind the gap. As you know, gaps in a job history concern many employers. Hiring managers want to know you’re capable of successfully working in a field that, given the accelerated pace of business, is likely different than the one you left. Allay their worries by noting how you stayed sharp and kept up with developments during your time away. For instance, did you attend industry conferences or seminars, join professional associations, enroll in continuing education courses or subscribe to trade publications? If not, consider taking these steps as an investment in your career. Highlighting your efforts to remain connected to the accounting profession shows employers that you have both initiative and up-to-date knowledge.

Tailor your content. No longer does one resume fit all. Today, customization counts. Because different employers have different needs, it’s crucial that you target your sales pitch to each company you contact. Instead of sending the same resume to every firm that’s advertising an open accounting and finance position, take the time to develop documents that speak directly to each organization’s unique requirements. Whenever applicable, mirror the language in the job ad when referencing your skills and experience.

Pursue project work. Seeking temporary work through a staffing firm is also a wise way to show prospective employers that you’ve remained engaged while searching for a full-time position. Some companies that instituted hiring freezes or laid off accounting staff are now seeking the services of project professionals to keep productivity and service levels high. Project work allows you to gain new skills, make valuable new contacts and earn money. But most importantly, it enables you to get a foot in the door with firms that, at some point, will again be looking to hire full-time employees.

For more advice on management and career issues, listen to The Management Minute, Robert Half’s podcast series at

Accountemps is the world’s first and largest temporary staffing service specializing in the placement of accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The company has more than 360 offices nationwide and offers online job search services at

2009 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

Source: Accountemps

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