By Beth Hannon-Penny, Older Worker Services Program Director, Goodwill Industries International
This May, we celebrate Older Americans Month and recognize the contributions older Americans make both inside and outside the workforce. Whether you are young or old, do you know what you need to do to prepare for the future?
Are you tired of hearing the same bad news — that you didn’t get the job? By now, many of us may have given up on finding a new job or training for the future. While many industries have crashed and burned, the truth is, the outlook is bright in many areas.
So, now what? How do you prepare for the hiring frenzy that some are predicting? As important, how do you know which types of roles to prepare for? A few thoughts:
Know Which Jobs Are Opening Up – Many fields are exploding, with new positions available now, including frontline ecommerce workers, health care supporting staff, custodial and maintenance staff, digital marketing professionals, medical staff, and retail workers.
Know Your Worth – Whatever your age, what are the strengths, interests and experiences that can help you stand out? Through the successes, failures, joys and difficulties they navigate, older Americans’ stories and contributions make us all better. At a time when employers need to build resilience, older workers can play a critical role.
Get the Skills and Training You Need – Work with your local Goodwill to identify training that will support your growth and development. Employers are seeking qualified candidates who have communication and problem-solving skills. There are also digital skills training programs that may be a good fit.
Strengthen Your Network – Review your network of contacts and let them know what type of work you are seeking. Make sure you have your cover letter and résumé ready for when one of the contacts in your network tells you about an open position. Don’t hesitate: many employers are looking for the right attitude and soft skills, like teamwork and problem solving. They don’t always need a credential to make a hire. Make sure your network includes your local Goodwill career counselor, who can offer training, case management support and ongoing leads for jobs in your area.
Search in Multiple Places – Investigate local opportunities through radio, television, newspaper and online job sites. Use Indeed and other online job boards to narrow down your search or target certain regions in your city or town. Contact your local Goodwill for help with upcoming virtual career fairs in your area.
Do the Little Things – Is the mailbox for your voicemail full? Do you know what is most important to you as you think about your next role? Why should an employer choose you vs. others who have applied? Getting ready for the interview and other communication activities that are sure to come will help you feel confident.
All older workers deserve the opportunity to thrive. Goodwill helps older Americans through paid training, upskilling, ongoing support and assistance finding jobs that provide livable wages. If you are an older worker seeking help with training or paid work experience, contact your local Senior Community Service and Employment Program (SCSEP) representative to see if you qualify. Find a SCSEP location near you to see if you qualify.
Anyone looking to learn more about Goodwill job training programs or career search assistance can also contact your local Goodwill.