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Project Management Career Q&A | Getting Back to a Sector

I am looking to go back into a particular field I specialised in over 5 years ago but recruiters / employers are not taking any interest, why?

I think we’re all agreed that the market is tough at the moment, with many jobseekers chasing fewer vacancies. This means that you are facing tough competition from others who do have current / recent experience in the field you are interested in.

There has long been a saying in recruitment; “You’re only as good as your last job”, which roughly translates to; “The last job you did is the most important to your next employer”. This might be a tough call, but it’s the truth in 95% of cases today. Your last opportunity in your field of interest is now over five years old, which of course means there are going to be others with more recent and relevant experience but also the organisation advertising the vacancy will have concerns on your experience, knowledge, skills etc being out-of-date for their field.

There are a couple of solutions that I can propose which you need to give careful thought over. The first; you need to find a way to make your current experiences more relevant to the field you are wanting to return to. You don’t mention which field so it is difficult to give specific advice.

Another opportunity is to work your own network which you should have maintained from when you left that field five years ago. You can bypass your current sources of frustration (recruiters and employers you are approaching direct) by working your network effectively. Find out what is happening in the field, do your research and approach ex-colleagues and peers to see if there are opportunities you can explore.

You should also convey your seriousness about wanting to return to a particular field by demonstrating it. Are you visiting conferences, exhibitions and seminars in your field? Is your training for the field up to date? Have you researched potential new networking opportunities for your field, you need to think about how you can update your contacts and think about the future and stop looking 5 years back into the past.

For more examples like this and/or further help & advice check out previous PM Career Q&AsCareers Clinic | Careers Advice pages.

About Lindsay Scott

Lindsay Scott
Director of Arras People, the programme and project management recruitment specialists. You can find out more about Arras People and follow me on Twitter and Google I also write the careers column for PMI's Network magazine and other project management organisations too. Recently created the first PMO Conference and currently running the PMO Flashmob

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