Search
Advice » Career Development» Education & Training » Reinvention Review: Turn ...
Reinvention Review: Turn Prior Experiences into Current Capabilities

Reinvention Review: Turn Prior Experiences into Current Capabilities

After three decades as a radio engineer, a 50-plus woman suddenly finds herself downsized. With the radio industry in a tailspin, what are her prospects for continuing the work she loves?

Pretty good -- if she repositions her skills and reinvents her experience as relevant to employers seeking engineers knowledgeable about podcasts and MP3 downloads.

Is she alone in worrying about how to keep working? Hardly.

Older Workers Face Many Barriers

According to Linda Wiener, expert on Monster's Age Issues forum and a workforce consultant specializing in issues related to older workers, "This is huge. I see more ageism in employment now than in the past 20 years." But Wiener adds, "I don't know if there will be a worker shortage in the future, but there definitely will be a skills shortage."

A 2005 study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that younger workers were 40 percent more likely to be called for interviews than those 50 or older. In fiscal year 2011, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission fielded 23,465 charges of age discrimination and collected $95.2 million in settlements.

Part of that bias lies with an increasingly younger corps of human resources personnel and hiring managers who, in the words of Granny @ Work editor Karen Riggs, "may have concerns about the ability and inclination of older people to perform."

Unleash Your Curiosity

However, Riggs -- an older Baby Boomer herself -- says that her generation has many ways to show potential employers they are more than up to the task. "Unleash your curiosity," Riggs advises. "Roll up your sleeves. Poke around the computer to learn more skills. Pay attention to the technology your kids are using, and learn from them."

Understand Your Expertise

But simply learning new programs is not enough. To actually reposition yourself in the workplace, you must first examine your current position.

"Look at your job description, capture your own experience," says Riggs.

For example, Wiener knows a 50-plus information technology project manager who was downsized three times while caring for her aging parents. She realized her technological skills could be used in gerontology, helping elderly people move from one residence to another. "She overlaid her current skills on her current life and filled a new need," Wiener explains.

Riggs advises: "If you feel that your skill set no longer fits with your organization and you have the luxury of time, go back to school. Take a couple of classes to recover your skills or get to the next stage."

Accomplishments, Not Laundry Lists of Skills

Riggs urges older workers who are repositioning themselves to focus on achievements. "Let's say you've been a sales representative for 15 years," Riggs says. "You're an expert in maintaining client relationships face to face, by phone and letter. But now, through the miracle of technology, there are more expedient ways. So look at what you're doing, highlighting the number of relationships you retain, and how deeply and successfully they're held, rather than the methodology of maintaining client relationships. Focus on results, not how you achieve those results."

If you helped your division increase sales 20 percent while you were working, talk about that, Riggs says. "It doesn't matter if it was 20 years ago," she says. "It's still an accomplishment."

Many hiring professionals now search online for background information. To be noticed, create an online presence. Emphasize your work and credentials, not your personal life; include links to articles about you or testimonials from colleagues and supervisors.

The key to repositioning yourself is to highlight skills and experiences that never become obsolete. A manager in a manufacturing plant, for example, should look past a downsized industry and offshored production. Instead, Riggs suggests, "highlight your decision-making skills that benefit time and efficiency and supervising people. These are applicable to any field with products that must be moved and people who must be handled."

Always think of what you've done, how you've done it and who can benefit from your talents and experiences today. "Find the touchstone in your professional career," Riggs advises. "Don't massage it or doctor it; just formulate it sensibly. People don't like to connect the dots. Your job is to connect them for them."

Articles in This Feature:

Latest Jobs

Bering Straits Native Corporation
Posted: 10/20/2014
Fort Mccoy, WI, 54656
Bering Straits Native Corporation
Posted: 10/20/2014
Las Vegas, NV, 89148
Weis Markets
Posted: 10/20/2014
Binghamton, NY, 13901
Weis Markets
Posted: 10/20/2014
Binghamton, NY, 13901
Weis Markets
Posted: 10/20/2014
Binghamton, NY, 13901

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.65.72-322
eTrustLogo