Sat09202014

Business & Real Estate

Los Altos resident organizes 'Return To Work' conference

Those looking to go back to work after a long hiatus have plenty of questions about the job market – and themselves. Los Altos resident Johanna Wise may offer some answers, along with solid job opportunities, at her upcoming "Connect Work Thrive Return to Work Conference," scheduled 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 6 at NestGSV, Inc., in Redwood City.

Wise, a successful business executive who took several years off to raise a family, knows from experience the challenges of beginning a "third career."

"There was no one out there to help me with the gap years," she said. "How do you explain that to a (prospective) employer?"

Her conference brings together experts in the field of "marketing the gap years." The 16 workshops on tap range from first steps to a career path and assessing options to "networking 101," social media marketing and resume writing strategies ("How to write a killer LinkedIn profile"). The conference also includes insights from those who have successfully returned to work and tips from employers on back-to-work approaches.

Wise noted that some returning  workers sell themselves short by leaving off their resumes skills that they acquired through volunteering during their gap years, such as organizing a school fundraiser. She added that even in youth-dominated Silicon Valley culture, older people can get hired if they are confident, organized and have a good skill set – no matter when they acquired it.

The conference doesn't come cheap. – the conference costs between $299 (advance registration) and $399 at the door. But Wise said the costs reflect bringing in speakers from Chicago, Minneapolis and other parts of the country who are among the best experts in their fields. She added that attendees' chances of finding that return job will increase dramatically with the information and connections made at the event.

"If you find a job, it's money well spent," Wise said. "Make an investment on yourself."

To register for the event, visit www.connectworkthrive.com.

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