Get the Job Training You Need
After a layoff, career training can help you develop the skills you need to find a new position. Today's labor market is changing faster than ever before. If it has been a while since you last looked for a job, you might be shocked to discover your skills are no longer in demand.
Developing Computer Skills
For older workers, developing computer skills is an important part of the career training process. It's no longer enough to know how to send an email message or format a document in Microsoft Word. Secretaries are being asked to create web pages for their bosses, public relations specialists are maintaining company blogs, and professionals in many different fields are using instant messaging software to communicate with their colleagues on a daily basis.
Most community colleges have career training courses designed for working adults who need to improve their understanding of various computer applications. Whether you're interested in creating a Microsoft Access database or designing the company newsletter in QuarkXPress, these classes can help you look more attractive to potential employers.
While computer skills are easier to list on a resume, they're not going to get you a job if you can't prove you understand the business environment. Classes in leadership, sales, communications, or customer service can help you develop the soft skills potential employers are looking for.
If you never got around to earning your college degree, you may want to investigate distance learning opportunities that will allow you to get the credentials you'll need in today's competitive job-hunting marketplace. Many programs will allow you to transfer credits earned for previously completed courses. If you already have your undergraduate degree, earning a professional certification or completing graduate-level coursework shows potential employers you're committed to your career.
Despite popular opinion, mid-life career shifts are more common than ever before. If you fell into your profession by accident, a layoff might be the perfect time to explore an area that has always interested you. Think about what you can do, not what you've already done. Even if you were once employed as a computer programmer, there's no rule prohibiting you from training to become an elementary school teacher!
If you're not sure what type of career interests you, check out Julie Jansen's I Don't Know What I Want, But I Know It's Not This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work. This book contains quizzes, questionnaires, and self-assessment exercises to help you determine your new career path.
Depending upon the reason for your job loss and the type of career training you wish to complete, you may be eligible for financial assistance. Ask your local workforce development office for details.
Becoming Your Own Boss
If you're tired of working for someone else, career training can help you turn your layoff into an opportunity for entrepreneurship. For example, if you've always enjoyed carpentry, taking classes in accounting, marketing, and business management may help you turn your hobby into a successful small business.
If you're interested in pursuing self-employment opportunities, make an appointment to meet with an academic advisor at the school you're considering attending. He/she can help you determine which courses will provide you with the skills you need to succeed.