Due to a number of personal choices, including stay-at-home parenting, caring for an elderly relative, and layoffs in the marketplace, many candidates are faced with a very uncomfortable dilemma: how to best represent yourself to compete with candidates who have been working consistently for the last few years.

To start, outline what transferable skills you have, whether from a stay at home parent or caretaker. Some of these may include: budgeting, negotiation, multitasking, organization, and scheduling. Apply how the skill would work with the job to which you are interested.

A second idea is to take a refresher course on industry specific software. There are many inexpensive community courses (like at your local middle or high school through Continuing Education) that will assist you in brushing up on your technical expertise.

Additionally, consider the volunteer experience which you have obtained, such as PTA work or school volunteer. Many of those roles offer the same transferrable skills as paid employment. If you have not volunteered, perhaps now is a good time to start, while easing yourself back into the professional world.

Lastly, a great way to get your foot in the door is to temp. There are agencies specializing in a variety of clerical, industrial, and professional roles. That is a great way to showcase your talents to hiring managers! In fact, when I ran a highly profitable temp desk as a recruiter, I converted over 80% of my employees through temp-to-hire! Many of them made more than they did while temping. And even if your first temp employer does not provide you with an offer, being exposed to a variety of organizations and software will assist you in becoming more marketable! Happy hunting!!!