If you examine any list of job-seeking tips for seniors you are likely to ﬁnd a section on keeping your skills current and remaining ﬂexible. With rapid increases in technology, todays workplace requires workers who are willing to learn and change with the job. To stay employable older workers must be continually updating their skill set.
Take advantage of available training opportunities. If you are already employed, make sure to get that competitive edge by taking any training your employer offers. Be the ﬁrst to learn the updated software package. Dont hang on to the old technologies.
Examine and determine your own skill-set needs. Before you can update your skill set, you need to know what skills are in demand. Find out the cutting edge skills for your occupation and learn them.
Be sure to boost your software skills. Jobs ranging from clerical work to retail sales now require some expertise with computersparticularly a working knowledge of the Microsoft Windows environment. Find out what are the in-demand software skills. You may ﬁnd related tutorials offered by area community colleges, your local library or on the Web. If people dont have these skills, theyre shooting themselves in the foot, says career counselor Linsey Levine of CareerCounsel.
Conquer your fear. Dont be afraid to take a class at the local community college. More and more older students are upgrading their skills. Chances are you wont be the only older student in the class.
Know at least the computer basics:
Basic skills to operate a computer, such as handling a computer mouse, typing on a keyboard, and navigating ﬁle systems and menus.
Microsoft Ofﬁce programs, with particular attention to Word, Excel and PowerPointroughly in that order.
Essential Internet skills, such as e-mail, Web browsing and searching.
Enlist others in getting started. Find a reverse mentora younger person who can guide you in updating your skills. When it comes to computers and software, your children, grandchildren or friends can be a great resource. If you arent sure how up-to-date your skills are, you might want to visit a temporary employment agency and take their tests.
Search out resources for training. There are an amazing number of resources for upgrading your skillsparticularly your computer skills. Much training is free or close to it. Libraries, senior centers, learning centers, adult or continuing education programs, community colleges and online tutorials can all help you upgrade your skills. A library is often the best starting point, since libraries typically have computers available for patrons use and may even offer brief computer classes (or know of the best local options).
Once you take training, be sure to practice. Any skill not put to use will deteriorate and evaporate if it isnt used.
Be sure to market your new skills. New skills will aid you only if you let people know you have them.You might want to think about two things: experience and work samples. Volunteer work can help increase your skill levels. When you update your skills as technology advances, it shows that you are someone who loves learning. It will give employers the impression that you are resilient and adaptable.
Make sure your resume and the way you send it reﬂect your skills. If you cant e-mail your resume, it signals that you may not be wired to the Internet or comfortable using e-mail. It also indicates you dont understand that recruiters need resumes that are in data form so they can search the text.
Be fearless, explore new technology and you will be able to compete in today’s job market!