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How to Start Over After Resigning From Your Job

by Lisa McQuerrey, studioD

Re-entering the workforce after resigning from a job may feel like a challenge, but it can also be an exciting new start. In addition to refreshing and honing your job-seeking skills, prepare yourself mentally for the endeavor. If you worked for the same company for a significant period of time, making a transition to a new employer can be overwhelming unless you know what to expect.

Update your skills. Take a continuing education or professional development class on a subject relevant to your industry. You’ll make contacts in the process, build your confidence and help establish yourself as an attractive employment candidate.

Update your resume. Add new skills, your past job description, achievements, accomplishments and awards. If your career objective has changed, revise that as well. If you’re a mature worker concerned about appearing overqualified, make the focus of your resume your specific accomplishments and contributions rather than the number of years you've been in the business.

Start networking. Get in touch with former colleagues and business associates and spread the word you're in the market for a particular type of job. This is the time to call in favors, touch base with companies you've been interested in working for in the past, and ask for referrals and recommendations.

Launch a formal job search. If you belong to professional or industry associations, check their job posting and referral opportunities. You might be able to post your resume and apply for jobs with other members. Read classified ads and online job boards and post your resume to job search sites relevant to your industry.

Sign up with an executive search company or headhunter if you're looking for a high-level management position. These organizations have contacts and can match you with companies and positions for which you're qualified.

Contact your college job placement department. Depending on how long you've been out of school, you may still qualify for alumni programs or job placement assistance through your alma mater.

Start going on job interviews. Be prepared to explain why you resigned from your last job. Be honest, but not overly forthright, particularly if you left on poor terms. Emphasize your achievements during your tenure and explain your parting of ways by saying you decided to seek new opportunities or explore different career paths.


  • Consider part-time or temporary employment while conducting your job search. This will ensure you have an income and help you make new contacts.
  • If you have a significant amount of experience in your field, consider independent consulting work as an alternative to a full-time job.

About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images