Starting Over Checklist


Job searching can be stressful. That’s why we created this checklist. It’s a step-by-step outline of what needs to be done. Following this checklist will keep you on track and help you remember all the details necessary to find a job.



We interviewed people from various walks of life to find out what exactly they do, and how they shifted from one career to another by learning new skills and trades.

Watch Joyce Williams, the manager and trainer of the Fit 4 Boxing Club explain how she got her job and what she does each day.

Meet a heavy equipment operator apprentice who talks about her decision to pivot to a trade and why she enjoys her work.

Ron Coleman, a DJ who decided to enroll in a 12 week program to become a coding student.


Millions of American workers are looking to “reskill” or “upskill” as they prepare for different careers. This documentary follows several Western Pennsylvanians in various stages of identifying, training, and working in new jobs – all guided by emerging trends in the workforce.

illustration of job myths

Q: I have been a stay-at-home mom, what can I put on my resume to cover the gaps?

A: Think of the volunteer work you have done and look at what skills you used in that role. For example, if you were a Girl Scout leader in charge of the annual cookie sale, you could write: developed organizational and budgeting skills by managing the records of 573 boxed of cookies, balancing the ledger at the completion of the sale. Make a list of your volunteer efforts and see if there is an opportunity to use words like; collaborated, managed, organized, streamlined to explain your role.

Q: Can I use personal friends for a job reference?

A: This answer depends on the company so read the application form carefully. Some will state that they want professional references; someone who can talk about your work ethic. You might be asked to provide the name and contact information of a former manager or boss. If you are completing an application where it asks for personal references, this can be a friend or neighbor; someone who can talk about your character and reliability. Prepare a list of names and contact information for professional and personal references to be ready!

Q: How do I answer interview questions with a gap in my employment history?

A: First, you must always be honest. However, sometimes the gap will not stand out if you give confident answers about how you will handle a situation and give an example. More companies use behavioral questions that start with “Tell me about a time when…” These questions provide the employer with more information than simply asking if you can handle a stressful situation.

For example, if you are asked, “Tell me about a time you had a stressful day at work and how you responded to the stress,” you could answer by talking about when you were a waitress. That waitress job might have been seven years ago, but if you explain that you stayed calm, apologized to people who were just seated that the kitchen was short-staffed and other specific facts, the fact that this happened years ago doesn’t matter.

If you are asked specifically why you haven’t been employed in seven years, give a short answer but end with a positive message about the present. For example, “I left the workforce to take care of my elderly mother. I am excited to return to the work force and look forward to contributing as your (Insert job title).”


Resources | The Mid-Atlantic Association of Career Schools | MAACS
For students and those trying to decide on a new career, their site has helpful links to find schools, additional career fields, and resources for financial aid and other obstacles. Located in Harrisburg, PA.

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IAF logoImagine America Foundation | Scholarships for Adult Students – View Our Adult Student Award Program!
Are you an adult that wants to train for a new job or completely new career path? Imagine America Awards up to $1,000 in scholarship aid to adult learners with little or no secondary level education.

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Occupational Mobility Explorer
Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia and Cleveland have created an interactive site that helps people look at their current skills, as defined by their current job, and how these skills would translate to other careers.
Build Your Path  |  See which occupations require similar skills and represent at least a 10% increase in wages
Compare Skills  |  Compare the 25 most in-demand skills for any pair of occupations in a metro
View Top Transitions  |  View, sort, and download data for pairs of occupations considered most similar

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