Q: I am 50yo with sketchy job history due to abusive marriage and PTSD after divorce.
I’m in therapy, moved out of state and ready to get on with my life and back in the work force. Suggestions, tips, advice?
A: Good for you Tia, you have taken the steps that you need to get on with your life. I’m sure that this has been an extremely challenging process for you. It wouldn’t be odd for you to be feeling some anxiety right now about what putting yourself back out there will entail. Just know that you can get through this as well.
One of the first things we need to settle is your resume and how it presents your job history. If you have several gaps in your employment history, you may wish to consider a functional resume instead of a chronological one. The functional resume will tell the employer about your skills and experiences, instead of emphasizing dates and
longevity on the job.
After you rework your resume, you will want to strengthen the references you will use when applying for jobs. Be sure your list of references includes former supervisors, co-workers, and other personal and professional references who will sing your praises. Their testaments of your experience, skills, and worth ethic will be invaluable.
Third, I highly recommend thinking through the spiel you will use in interviews and call backs about the gaps in your employment. Make sure that whatever you decide to say, that you do not appear apologetic or ashamed of your time away or need to switch employment. You once lived in a very volatile situation and your safety and that of your children (if you have any) was paramount. Rehearse what you will say with a friend to gain feedback about how it comes across.
Lastly, I recommend that you spend time networking with employers and friends who work at places that may be hiring. When people like and care about you, it expands the list of what they what be willing to do to help you.