Boomers: Do you want or need to stay in the job market a while longer? Whether you plan to work full-time, part-time, free-lance, or have other workplace related goals, staying relevant is the key to being competitive with Millennials.
No matter the industry, workers can demonstrate their value by staying up-to-date on relevant advances, not only in technology, but in business trends, current events, and the competitive landscape. Volunteering, taking classes and attending seminars are great ways to keep skills fresh and expand your network at the same time.
I left my corporate job after thirty years, following a devastating personal tragedy. Fortunately I was old enough to leave the company in retirement status, allowing me more flexibility with regard to my next career move. After a year or so of trying to figure out how to be “normal” enough to work again, I had to decide what I wanted to do. I had lots of unanswered questions. Did I want another job in the same industry and/or the same field (sales and marketing)? Did I want to work full-time? Could I compete with younger workers in the job market? I was fortunate enough to receive a job offer in my field at the same level as my previous position (different industry) fairly quickly after starting my search. It was a job I had heard about from a friend (we’ll talk about the importance of building a network, online and offline, in another post). I had come to a fork in the road. Suddenly I was unsure I wanted the confines of full-time employment. I decided I would be happier with part-time, or free-lance work. As I considered my options in the consumer sales and marketing arena, and scanned job openings on sites like Indeed, it became clear to me that I needed to update my skills to be considered for mid-level or project type jobs. Middle management jobs, similar to the one I had, aren’t typically structured for part-timers or free-lancers. Nearly all the marketing job openings (part-time or full-time) required digital marketing skills, and many called for hands-on technical knowledge. While I understood digital marketing on a strategic level, I didn’t actually know how to write a Facebook Ad, or use Google Analytics. I decided it was time to update my skills. I enrolled in, and completed a Digital Marketing Certificate program at a local college. Digital marketing is a critical part of corporate marketing strategy today, and as an older worker, I had better be conversant in this area if I want to be taken seriously as a job applicant. Not only did taking classes help update my skills, but connected me with a whole new network of professionals. I was also able to hone my newly acquired skills by doing pro bono digital marketing projects for non-profits. Additionally, I landed a job as a part-time instructor at the college.
I plan to continue taking classes and learning new skills, as there is a new digital world out there to explore, and it is ever-changing! Do you have a plan for staying relevant in the workplace? Please continue the conversation in the comments.