Tips, Wisdom and Just Plain Old, Good Advice for Mature Job Seekers
By Ms. Judy Cherry, Career Advisor/Program Coordinator, JEVS Career Solutions for 55+
Ever ask your kids, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren for help with your computer or that new smartphone? Do you ever find yourself in awe of how savvy the younger generation is with technology? (It’s the one thing they do not ask for help with!)
The important question is, what does this mean for you if you are seeking employment or looking to change careers? I have some advice to age-proof your job search.
1. Will my lack of computer or updated technology skills hinder my chances of getting a new job?
MS. JUDY: YES! (To be frank.) Although the level of mastery needed varies for every job, everyone applying for jobs needs basic computer skills…just to even apply.
We are no longer in the day and age where you can simply walk into an Human Resources department and complete a handwritten, paper application. Many companies no longer offer this option, and in some instances Human Resources recruiters are actually forbidden from accepting paper applications. The only way to start your job search process is to apply for jobs utilizing an employer’s website (like ours!) or an employment web site, like Indeed.com.
2. What is the biggest indication that a job seeker is not tech savvy?
MS. JUDY: The most obvious answer would be…not having an email address. Yes, there are some people that are still surviving without an email, or cell phone! Can you imagine?
But a requirement for most applications is an email address, as well as a basic understanding of how to use the Internet to apply “on line” for employment. Without these…it’s like trying to find a job without a telephone, it is almost impossible. Employers will not go to the ends of the earth to try to contact you. Setting up Google mail, or Gmail (not an AOL account!), strictly for your job search activities is a good way to keep track of job search progress. It is not very difficult to create a free Gmail account, but get help early.
3. I don’t have a background with these new devices, gadgets and software. What is the process to develop these skills?
MS. JUDY: One way is to conduct research to determine if you have current technical skills, certifications and requirements for the job you want to return to or to remain in. A simple approach is to access employment web-sites and review job openings. They always outline all current technical skills.
If you are still employed, find out what has become available in your field even if it is not being used by your current employer. Many older job seekers are no longer employed because they did not anticipate or know about new technical changes that were on the horizon. They assumed that, eventually, they would be trained.
Start this process as early as you can. Identify, high schools, colleges, employment or social service agencies that provide training classes, workshops or professional organizations that offer information about current requirements.
4. I am over 55 and have technology skills. How do I emphasis this so I am not included in the stigma that older generations are not tech savvy?
MS. JUDY: Be sure you mention during a job interview any new assigned duties and current experiences you have with technology, as well as trainings or courses you acquired. Be sure these skills are added to your resume.
Please do not add your 20- or 30 year-employment history by proudly mentioning that you were around to witness the introduction of first IBM electric typewriter, what a steno book was used for, and that you can still use a slide rule. Only anthropologists are impressed with undiscovered relics, employers may not be. It may have been great to have milk delivered to your door, but have you seen a milk man lately?
I hope you’ve enjoyed my seventh installment of Ask Ms. Judy! Now you are educated on the realities on technology in the workforce and know how to gain the skills you need in order to get that job!
Be sure to check out all of my Ask Ms. Judy blogs:
Part 1 … February 2016 – Résumé, Interview and Salary Advice for the 55+ Job Seeker
Part 2… July 2016 – New to Job Searching? 4 Tips to Get You Started
Part 3 … February 2017 – Time for a Career Change!
Part 4 … July 2017 – How to Prepare and Beat the Competition During Your Job Search
Part 5 … February 2018 – Determining Company Culture; Why it Matters to the Interview
Part 6 … July 2018 – Did Your Job…Lose You?
If you are a Philadelphia resident over age 55 and looking for a new part-time or full-time job, I can help you. (For free!) Call me at JEVS Career Solutions for 55+ at 267-647-7137 or click on this link for more info.