Search
Advice » Career Development» Education & Training » Get Computer Skills as an ...
Get Computer Skills as an Older Worker

Get Computer Skills as an Older Worker

Gigabyte and Google have made their way into the popular lexicon, but not everyone uses these terms with the ease of Bill Gates or the guys who founded Google. Older workers, in particular, may find their careers stymied by a lack of computer know-how.

Across a broad spectrum of industries, computer literacy is now viewed as a must-have for office workers, from receptionists to executives. And while many workers have embraced the computer revolution, others haven't taken the time to acquire these skills -- and find themselves dealing with the consequences, especially after a layoff or when trying to return to the workforce.

"If people don't have these skills, they're shooting themselves in the foot," says career counselor Linsey Levine of CareerCounsel.

Older workers who confess to being "scared of computers" or "from the old school" are asking for trouble, says Don Sutaria, founder and president of CareerQuest, a career coaching firm. "That's the kiss of death,” he says.

And that's bad news for older workers who run when they see a mouse -- a mouse of the computer variety, that is.

The good news is this: Computers are easier to use these days, training is widely available and there is no need to become a computer pro to thrive in today's office environment.

Conquer Your Fear

"The first thing is to get rid of the fear factor," Sutaria says.

A common stumbling block comes down to a person's attitude toward acquiring workplace skills, according to Levine. Some older workers, especially those who worked for one company for many years, may think of training as an employer's responsibility. "I see in older workers, sometimes, an attitude of, 'I didn't need to know that before, and this is who I am,'" Levine says. "If they want to continue to work, that's not the right attitude. Updating their skills is their own responsibility."

What Skills Should You Have?

Workers aiming to become computer-literate should focus on:

  • Basic computer skills, such as using a mouse, typing on a keyboard, and navigating file systems and menus.
  • Microsoft Office programs, with particular attention to Word, Excel and PowerPoint -- roughly in that order.
  • Essential Internet skills, such as email, Web browsing and searching.

How to Get Started

One option is to enlist a son, daughter, grandchild or peer to bring you to a library or other location with free computer access. At this stage, the idea isn't necessarily to become adept at specific tasks, but to learn you won't break a computer by using it and, as Sutaria puts it, to break the fear associated with these machines.

Jenna Gausman, a career counselor at Kerwin and Associates, advises workers who are unsure about their skills to visit a temporary employment agency to take a test for computer skills. "It's a great way to figure out what skills you have and what you're lacking -- just to get a benchmark for yourself," she says.

Career counselors point to the amazing number of resources for learning about computers, many of them free (or close to it): friends and relatives, libraries, senior centers, learning centers, adult or continuing-education programs, community colleges and online tutorials. A library is often the best starting point, since libraries typically have computers available for patrons' use and may even offer brief computer classes (or know of the best local options).

Once you begin to learn, continued practice is essential. "If you don't use it, you don't really learn it," Gausman says. "You need to use the computer on a daily basis."

Market Your New Skills

And to make this work for you in today's job market, Gausman says, you want to think about obtaining experience and work samples. Volunteer work at a church or community organization -- entering names in a mailing list, say, or maybe even working on a newsletter -- provides both, as well as a boost of confidence.

Becoming adept with computers may also help older workers market themselves as someone who loves learning. "It gives people the impression that they're career-resilient and adaptable," she says.

Latest Jobs

MRINetwork
Posted: 12/19/2014
Job location not provided
Granite Services Inc.
Posted: 12/19/2014
Miami, FL, 33142
Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island
Posted: 12/19/2014
Providence, RI, 02904
Best Version Media
Posted: 12/19/2014
Newark, OH, 43055
Morgan Communities
Posted: 12/19/2014
Peekskill, NY, 10566

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: 2014.11.10.17-208
eTrustLogo