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New Year. New Skills. New Job.

New Year. New Skills. New Job.

Forty-nine percent of employed baby boomers said staying current with technology is extremely or very important for their jobs. — GettyImages

It’s that time of year when we make our annual New Year’s resolutions. This is our way of telling ourselves that we’re going to make the next year better than the last one. For some of us, that means taking better care of our health or promising to be kinder to others. For many, it means going after a promotion at work or finding a new job. In fact, January is the peak month for job searches by people 50 and over. Many career experts say it’s also a peak hiring time.

If it’s been awhile since you seriously pursued a promotion or last looked for work, you might find that the landscape feels a little alien. While fundamental tools such as résumés and recommendations remain important, technology now rules the roost. And up-to-date technology skills will likely be just as essential for keeping a job as they are for finding one. Forty-nine percent of employed baby boomers surveyed by AARP recently said staying current with technology is extremely or very important for their jobs. And in a recent survey by AARP, 45 percent of unemployed baby boomers said it’s extremely or very important for them to stay current with technology for the types of jobs they’re looking for.

If you suspect that your technological skills need an upgrade, I have just the place for you to start.

AARP has launched a new Work & Jobs Digital Skills Inventory, a free online tool to help you identify your strengths and challenges in a job market that’s moved largely online. You can take a quick quiz, and the results will recommend short videos that will help you build your expertise. In addition to online job searching, the videos include topics such as the basics of computers and online security, how to work remotely, using apps, popular writing and how to search for jobs with different devices.

Once you’re comfortable with your new skills, I urge you to explore the rest of our Work & Jobs resources — everything you can imagine that may be helpful to someone who wants to make a job switch or go after a promotion.

The site includes key info such as tips on interviewing, how to use Facebook and other digital tools to find work, guidelines for working the room at networking events, information about employers who value 50-plus workers, and lots of other skill- and confidence-boosting guidance.

We also connect you with people who have genuine jobs! You can take advantage of AARP’s virtual career fairs, which allow you to meet online with actual employers who are looking for experienced people just like you.

Terri Smith is a success story. When she accepted an email invitation to an AARP virtual career fair, Terri had low expectations but liked that the event was free and that she could take part from the comfort of her own home. She was delighted to find the virtual fair user-friendly and “awesome.”

She especially liked the employers’ virtual representatives. Rather than waiting in line “forever for the person ahead of you to ask a million questions,” Terri noted, the virtual representative replied immediately. “You tell them who you are and what you’re looking for. They instantly tell you where to send your résumé.”

In a matter of days, Terri was hired by the American Red Cross in Atlanta.

The next virtual career fair is on Jan. 26, 2017, and will feature part-time opportunities. Get the details here: www.aarp.org/parttimeworkfair.

Happy New Year and happy job hunting!

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