<strong>LINDA JACKSON</strong><br />MANAGING DIRECTOR, FAIRPLACE<br /><strong>I used to work in fund management, but quit three years ago to bring up my children. I&rsquo;m looking to return to work, but have lost touch with most of my old contacts and am worried, in this job market, that I&rsquo;ll have trouble getting employed. What can I do to improve my chances?</strong><br /><br />You&rsquo;re right, this is a very difficult job market to get back into, but there are opportunities out there. The best route in is still going to be through people you&rsquo;ve worked with in the past, and even though you&rsquo;re out of touch with many of them, it&rsquo;s easy enough to get back in touch. Remember, if you&rsquo;ve left on good terms and were valued as a good worker before, people will remember that. For employers with a choice between a complete unknown or a tried and tested former employee &ndash; even one who has been away from the City for a while &ndash; there&rsquo;s a lot of security in knowing you can trust someone.<br /><br />In terms of networking, you only need a couple of contacts to get you started, and they&rsquo;ll lead to other contacts. Treat it as a project with an objective, and you should be able to get the ball rolling and start finding those openings.<br /><br />You should also be considering interim positions &ndash; generally, a short-term position is going to be easier to be accepted for since the assessment won&rsquo;t be as rigorous. Be prepared to do something a bit beneath your capabilities &ndash; people want someone to come in and pick up the reigns quickly without having to be heavily trained, so it will probably be relatively straightforward project work. But it still gives you something new to put on your CV, and it&rsquo;s a good way back into the market place that&rsquo;ll also help build your confidence.