Finding a new job after being out of the workforce for an extended period of time can be tough. Maybe you left work to raise your kids. Or took a few months to care for a sick family member. Or had to quit your job because of an illness of your own. Whatever the reason, you probably want to know what you can do to improve your chances of getting hired again.

An article on CNN.com had these suggestions:

  • Network with old and new business contacts during your "sabbatical." Then ramp up your efforts when you start job hunting. Set up short meetings with previous employers, customers, co-workers, etc. If you can’t get together with them in person, keep in touch by phone and e-mail.
  • Stay current with new trends and technologies in your industry by attending seminars, reading trade publications, and taking courses.
  • Work as a volunteer with your favorite organization or intern with a company in your industry. You may not get paid, but this will keep your skills up and give you great networking opportunities. It will also show potential employers you are ready to get back to work.
  • When you apply for a job, briefly mention in your cover letter why you were out of work for so long. But don’t dwell on it. Focus, instead, on your relevant experience and accomplishments.

This advice sounds reasonable – but there’s something FAR better you can do.

Instead of sitting on your duff while you’re caring for your grandmother or raising your kids, start your own business. There are dozens – if not hundreds – of businesses you can run in just a few hours each week. It’s a great way to gain experience. Plus, it can provide you with a steady stream of income to tide you over during the job search. It may even blossom into a full-blown career.

Real-world experience in business is going to be worth a lot more to you – and a potential employer – than merely volunteering or glossing over your absence in a cover letter.

[Ed. Note: Discover dozens of side businesses with ETR’s Profit Center Dispatch alerts. Learn more here about how to find out about the latest and most profitable opportunities.]
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