Using new skills to re-enter the workforce

“I took 4 years off and started a business. It has been fun, but I want to get back into a real job. I programmed on the old mainframe computers. I don’t want to spend my money getting training. What do I do?”

Strategy, Chess, Board Game, Win, Champion

It is not hard for skills and tools to become obsolete in 4 years. There are a couple things you can do:

  1. Keep looking for a job that wants your legacy skill set
    1. Start at beginner level wages and learn a new skill set on the job
    1. Pay for your own training

Depending on what you do, the first option could be a sure thing or a miracle. ColdFusion programmers? That might be hard. Cost accounting? Easy enough. If you’re stable enough to wait a long time, go for it.

If you know how to market yourself, number one gets easier. Keep in touch with the companies that you’d like to work for if your skills aren’t used as much anymore. Talking to the hirers on LinkedIn in those companies every month is an easy way to keep yourself aware of any opportunities.

Number two is totally fine. If you’re okay taking the time to get up to your previous level, you will get there eventually. Learning new skills keeps boredom at bay.

Paying for your training will get you the most pay over the next several years. I’ve had people tell me “I’m not going to learn a new skill unless my employer pays me to learn it!” and then wonder why they never get a raise. Taking your own time to learn new skills and get updated certifications will get you a better job faster than other options.

Something To Do Today

Write a plan. What would you do if you were struck with an illness and took three years to recover?


What is a skill you’d like to learn to help you in your job hunt? Research classes to help you learn that skill.

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