Q. I've been out of work for more than a year. How can I keep my skills sharp while I continue to look for a job?
A. Convincing prospective employers that your skills are up-to-date may be one of your biggest challenges. Consider taking classes at a trade school or community college to upgrade your skills. You could also keep your experience fresh by volunteering, consulting or doing freelance work. Stay current with developments in your field by reading the latest journals.
Does your profession have an association? If so, join it. These groups often provide continuing education, seminars and networking events. Some even offer price breaks to unemployed members.
Expert: John Challenger.
Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.