We’ll see how RightSkill works out. In but meantime, here are four ways you can be sure your skills are up-to-date:
- Do some sleuthing to see which skills will boost your job prospects. A few hard skills (specific, teachable abilities that may be required) likely to make the list: Social media, data analysis, and sales. To find out which skills are required for the type of work you want, hit the job boards, pull up job descriptions you’re interested in, and make a list.
“We encourage older workers to do their homework first to both identify the in-demand occupations and compare them to their particular interests,” says Paul Magnus, vice president for workforce development at Mature Services’ Employment & Training Solutions in Akron, Ohio. He recommends using AARP’s Virtual Career Network and My Skills My Future.
- Do an inventory of your soft skills. These are personal attributes that help you work better with others. Employers want to be sure that you’ll work easily and efficiently with your coworkers, your supervisor, and perhaps the organization’s customers or clients. They also want to see that you can think on your feet and are equipped to make smart decisions.
“Employers continue to look for attributes such as adaptability, work ethic, trainability, ability to work with a diverse workforce, and previous knowledge,” Magnus says.
- Focus on your transferable skills and how they can help you land work. Although you may need additional training to pick up a new job or navigate a career change, many skills you already have are transferable to a new field. You just need to apply your current skills in a new way. The ability to manage projects, for example, is a transferable skill. In the publishing business, you may use this skill to coordinate efforts with writers, editors, graphic artists, and page layout personnel, while in a shipping business, you may use it to coordinate pick-up and delivery schedules.
- Seek out gratis retraining opportunities. Stop into your local American Job Center, commonly referred to as Career OneStops, advises Magnus. There are nearly 2,500 nationwide. “The staff can help older workers navigate the process of upgrading their skills,” he says.