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Reentering the workforce is a scary thing. Say you’ve taken time off to raise you kids or care for a sick loved one — when the time comes to put yourself back out there and start interviewing for jobs, you may fear time has passed you by, and that your skills are no longer applicable. According to career expert Dara Goldberg, that type of negative thought has no basis in reality, and in an informative piece for the Daily Muse, she highlights five ways you likely grew as a person during your time away from work.

The key, Goldberg writes, is to calm down, thing clearly, and ask friends and family to help you realize all the ways in which you’ve become more marketable. Keep reading to see the “essential traits” Goldberg figures you picked up while not in the office.

1. You’re a Better Risk Taker — It doesn’t matter why you left your job; you took the bold step of actually doing it, and that says a lot about your character. Don’t underestimate the courage it took.

2. You’re a Better Communicator — When you walk away from a job, you invariably get a ton of questions from friends, colleagues, and family members about what prompted your decision. As a result, you develop a “script,” as Goldberg calls it, and the more you share it with people, the more comfortable you become sharing personal details that might not be super pleasant.

3. You’ve Learned a Ton — Whether you left work to start a family or look after your ailing grandfather, you picked up knowledge you didn’t before. There’s no way you couldn’t have. “You learned more about yourself and how you operate in different contexts and with different types of people,” Goldberg explains.

4. You’re Better at Forming Relationships — This goes along with no. 3. Whether you’re work hiatus involved caring for sick relative or spending more time with your kids, you expanded your social network and met people you wouldn’t have had you remained in the office. “Any of the relationships you established or strengthened during your time away from the formal work world strengthened your relationship skills and increased your experience interacting with diverse groups of people,” says Goldberg.

5. You’re More Resilient — By making a major life change and rolling with the punches, you’ve proved that you’re no slave to routine, and that you’re not easily thrown by adversity. “Did you experience any personal failures that were completely new to you?” Goldberg asks. “This is yet another sign of your increased capacity for resilience.”


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