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1. Stay current with today’s workforce. Many jobs are based on contract work, and workers can expect to move through several jobs throughout their careers. Longevity with a single employer and job security are far less prominent than in the past. Legislation has also changed, so do some research to understand your rights and responsibilities.
2. Improve your computer skills. For practice, make documents, conduct online research, and email or text friends and family. Explore websites such as http://www.50plus.com for tips that will maximize your experience. Also look at www.damngood.com/jobseekers/skills-adults.html and http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2012/11/15/online-job-hunting-tips-for-boomers/ to get started.
3. Participate in assessments. Try face-to-face or online assessments to help you determine internal factors such as interests, abilities, personality, and values that may influence your job search or career decision-making process. Consider reading Reinventing Yourself: Life Planning After 50 Using the Strong and MBTI® by Sandra Davis & Bill Hanschin (1998, Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto, CA). Even if you feel that you are on the downswing to retirement, your day-to-day pleasure and satisfaction at work could be at stake.
4. Make a list of transferable skills. These are "soft skills" that you have learned through prior experiences that are relevant to the job that you are applying for. For instance, for a customer service position you might highlight interpersonal skills (team building, communicating orally and in writing), organizational skills (scheduling, planning, organizing), and technology skills (using point-of-purchase equipment). Think of skills you developed through work, volunteering, group participation, and personal experiences.
5. Target your resumes and cover letters to each specific job you are applying for. Use the job description to determine which skills and abilities you should highlight. Don’t try to include everything – only the relevant points.
6. Use a functional or combination (also known as hybrid) resume style. This helps to minimize gaps in employment or limited experience with a single organization. These resume styles highlight your skills rather than your work history.
7. Ensure that your resume's look doesn’t date you. Use a modern layout, format, and language. Avoid dates that go back more than 15 years.
8. Network, network, network! Actively participate in groups such as Toastmasters, Rotary, Probus, or job clubs. Expand or strengthen your skills by volunteering with local non-profit agencies. Conduct information interviews with employers. And remember to avoid negative words when networking. Focus on what you can do and why someone should hire you. Socializing will increase your community profile and keep you feeling more positive and effective. Don’t get trapped by the "stay-at-home blues".
9. Build a strong support network. This will help you obtain a new job and maintain it. Consider friends, family, former co-workers, acquaintances, business people, and others who bring expertise in different areas. For instance, some will provide emotional support, while others will bring workplace expertise, labour market knowledge, and other critical information to your network.
10. Believe in yourself. Perhaps the most important tip for building your self-confidence is to believe in yourself and your ability to make a significant contribution at work. If you are not convinced, others will not be either!
This tip sheet was developed by Sharon Welch, a career development practitioner in British Columbia. You can connect with Sharon through LinkedIn at: ca.linkedin.com/in/sharonwelch.
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