We get it. Shifting roles or returning to the paid workforce after a caregiving break can feel like a big leap, especially in midlife.
It did for us. It was hard to put ourselves out there.
Judy, pivoting after a long career in the nonprofit sector, wondered if she could do anything else. And Linda, relaunching her career, doubted herself after a 16-year caregiving break from investment banking.
The thought of interviewing again after all these years made us cringe!
And then came the crisis of confidence. Ageism. Networks that had dried up.
It doesn’t have to be this way!
After working with hundreds of women in EvolveMe's Reinvention Collective cohorts, we know that even if you haven’t interviewed in a long time, there are skills you can reawaken and strategies you can master to show up as your best self.
And the more prepared you feel, the more confident you’ll be! Take it from two over-preparers.
There’s no time like now to learn what it takes to interview well. You don’t want to be scrambling if an opportunity pops up!
We’ve got your back with these 10 practical interviewing tips to set you up for success.
Let’s dive in!
1. Embrace your unique story
Own your journey and embrace your unique story. For example, if you’re returning to the workforce after a break, highlight how your caregiving experience has developed skills such as multitasking, problem-solving, and adaptability.
Employers value diverse perspectives, so let your personal narrative shine! And remember - it doesn’t matter where you acquired the skills (through paid or volunteer work) – just that you have them!
2. Update your digital presence
Make sure you’re showing up online as your best professional self. Add a clear, current headshot, a current headline, and experience to your LinkedIn profile.
Google yourself to see what potential employers might find and scrub your social media
accounts. First impressions matter, so you want to show a positive, consistent, updated digital image.
3. Leverage your network
You have a network, even if it doesn’t feel that way! Reach out to former colleagues, friends, and professional contacts who can vouch for your skills and experience. We like to say, “You never know.”
Get used to saying YES to meetings - you never know where your next opportunity might come from. Embrace spontaneity and what can happen from being at the right place and time.
4. Practice with a purpose
What not to do: limit your prep to typical interview questions. Instead, research the industry, organization, and role you're targeting and craft practice questions that align with those areas. Doing so will make you better prepared to showcase your expertise and enthusiasm.
Embrace the STAR (Situation-Task-Action-Result) to prepare your answers and keep your thoughts organized and concise. We can’t stress this enough. Practice, practice, practice. There’s no better way to feel prepared and confident.
5. Show you’re a lifelong learner
Employers want team members who can thrive in a rapidly changing world. Being a life-long learner is one of the most in-demand skills! In the ever-evolving professional landscape, adaptability is everything. Highlight your ability to learn new skills, embrace change, and quickly adjust to new environments.
6. Demonstrate your digital savviness
Need help with workplace technology? Skill up with Udemy, Coursera, or other free platforms. You don’t need to be 100% proficient, but you do need to demonstrate your comfort with tech by mentioning relevant software, tools, or AI platforms (and if you've used them in your previous roles, say so!).
7. Volunteer and freelance opportunities
Do you need to sharpen your skills before you go for an interview? If you've taken a break from the paid workforce, consider volunteer work or freelance projects to keep your skills sharp. It’s a win-win. You’ll make valuable contributions to society AND demonstrate your commitment and dedication.
8. Show cultural fit
Think about this - interviewing is not one-sided. You need to know it’s a cultural fit for you, too. Research the company culture and values before the interview. Do your values align with the company's mission? If so, demonstrate how you can contribute to their goals. Share experiences that show you can work effectively in diverse teams.
9. Be confident and positive
Confidence is key! If you’re not feeling self-assured, practice interviewing with someone and record your tone. The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you’ll feel. Projecting positivity throughout the interview and displaying enthusiasm for the opportunity goes a long way toward impressing potential employers! Enthusiasm is contagious.
10. Follow up with gratitude
No matter the interview's outcome, you’ve grown your network and now have more contacts who know you well. You never know where this can go! After the interview, send a thank-you note or email to express your gratitude for the opportunity to interview. Want to leave a lasting impression? Personalize your message and reiterate your interest in the position.
Follow these tips, and you'll be ready to navigate the interviewing process and land the job that fits your skills, values, and life.
Ready to target opportunities aligned with your strengths?
Download EvolveMe’s Career SWOT. It’s the tool women in their 40s, 50s, and beyond turn to most to get clarity in their direction - so you can land interviews that are the right match for your next chapter!
Remember, you’re a force to be reckoned with!