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Many are re-entering the job market after having taken several years off. The reasons are varied; some wanted to raise a family while others wanted to travel the world. Still, here it is a decade later and you’re wanting to get back into your chosen career. If you’re like most, says A. Harrison Barnes, founder of LegalAuthority, you’re struggling on what that first step should be. No worries, though. The laws have changed probably many times over so you will have some catching up to do, but it’s certainly manageable, even in a less than ideal job market.

As always, first things first – what this means is you’ll want to test the waters. Ask former colleagues if you’re still in contact with them what the latest trends are and which law specialties seem to be thriving. Just as importantly, you’ll want to discover which ones are not as active these days. One hint: employment law is red hot these days. Another tip A. Harrison Barnes suggests is to consider allowing a professional resume team put together a revised resume that will effectively show your entire career – even if it means a long term leave of absence. Too many times, people feel that leaving their careers for any length of time is a weakness and that’s just not always true, says the LegalAuthority founder. Everyone has other responsibilities besides their careers. Many lawyers leave their careers to travel or further their educations. It’s part of life.

That said, it’s important to not apologize for the choices you made. If you don’t treat it as though it’s some kind of strike against you, potential employers won’t either. In fact, if an interviewer asks you about it, a simple, “I had several options at that time and I felt it was important for me to…” be with my family, raise my children or whatever the case may be. Even if your leave was something like traveling the world, a simple, “It was an extraordinary opportunity and I was in a position to take advantage of it” will more than serve its purpose, says Barnes.

The rules are the same as if you were a recent law school grad: remain confident, do your homework and be prepared to answer the tough questions you’re likely to be asked:

Why did you choose criminal law?

What are your long term intentions?

Can you sacrifice fifty or sixty hours a week to your career?

Once you’ve made up your mind to approach your leave of absence with a positive attitude and with no “but” added on to your sentences, you’ll realize that employers aren’t going to hold it against you. And if you’re wondering where to start, consider LegalAuthority. This job aggregate site has the most current information on all things related to one’s law career, including an incredible team of professionals who stand ready to make your resume shine. You’ll also be able to re-familiarize yourself with different law specialties and see which ones are best suited for you now at this stage of your life.

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