For those who have held the same position for a longer period of time or are seeking employment in the middle of their career, here are a few important things to do to keep up with competition while diversifying your skill sets for a rewarding career path.
Brush up on the most widely used applications
Sometimes, staying up to date in the job market is simply a matter of keeping pace with technology. Thomas Kamber, founding executive director of Older Adults Technology Services, says: “The most important skills and technologies for older adults in the workplace are actually the least esoteric. Applications like Microsoft Word, Excel and Gmail are essential for functioning in the modern workplace, and many older adults need to brush up on or develop new skills in these mainstream tools.”
Update your online presence without going overboard
Today, many employers and recruiters find their most promising talent online. If you’ve avoided updating your online presence, it’s time to update a few areas, much like one would do with a resume. Young job seekers often understand that it is expected that their social / online presence will be a factor when they are looking for employment. With this in mind, younger job seekers typically have a polished LinkedIn profile, appropriate settings in place on their social accounts, such as Facebook or Twitter – and in many cases, they ensure that the content they share on either of these platforms is acceptable for any potential employers to see. While it is important to keep your online presence updated, don’t force yourself to develop your own content online, as this can backfire and come off as unprofessional unless done correctly. Stick to the basics: a clean, up to date LinkedIn profile, and polished pages on any of your social accounts.
Pay attention to how open positions have changed
Keep an eye on job listings for roles that pertain to your career. Often, small shifts occur in job titles or descriptions that you are still qualified for – but it is critical to pay attention to the distinctions that have been made over time. Many times, these shifts are as simple as an added experience requirement for a newer application, which is a requirement that you can easily obtain and add to your resume.
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Never stop networking
One of the biggest advantages that those who are in the middle of their career have over younger job seekers is simply time and experience. Much of this experience is naturally shared with co-workers, past or present, and it is likely that you’ve organically built up a network of supporters and colleagues. It’s important to continue networking with established contacts and continue building new ones as well. Seek out conferences for like-minded professionals or colleagues who work in your field, even if you aren’t actively looking for a job. Tapping into a broad network will always come in handy later on.
Although it seems overly simple, having an open mind is a true asset for experienced professionals. Often, the baby-boomer generation in particular is misunderstood as “unwilling to change or adapt.” To combat this stereotype, always be open to new opportunities. Mostly, pay attention to how others around you work, and don’t continue working the same exact way for five or ten years – remind yourself to continuously adapt and accept change as a force for good.