When D’anna Kaufman was laid off in April 2020, at the height of the pandemic, she immediately began brushing up on her job search skills.
“I’d worked as an executive assistant at the same company for 17 years and needed to revise my résumé and learn how to prepare for job interviews,” Kaufman says. “I started by updating my account on LinkedIn, from the free basic version to the paid Premium subscription, allowing me to access online LinkedIn courses at no additional charge.”
Kaufman, 61, who lives in Martinez, California, found a career coach on LinkedIn Learning who suggested courses and videos on a variety of topics, including how to write a great résumé and prepare for questions commonly asked during a job interview.
Taking classes to update job search techniques and learn new skills suited for emerging workplace trends and technology can be a smart move, especially for job seekers over 50, says Jamie J. Johnson, a career adviser and coach at University of Phoenix in Arizona. While ageism does exist in many workplaces, Johnson says it’s possible for job seekers to fight age discrimination by showing they’re adaptable and open to learning new skills.
“It’s important to evaluate the steps you’re taking to develop and improve yourself” both professionally and personally, Johnson says. “For those over the age of 50, what’s your perspective on work? Do you see it as a positive or negative experience? Are you just waiting to leave your job and retire, or do you love what you do? A negative perspective is ageless and can impact the views of others and their perception of what ageism is and whether it’s valid.”
Thanks to remote learning, it’s easier than ever for job seekers to learn new skills from the comfort of their homes. A recent survey from AARP Research found many adults over the age of 50 have taken online classes and other training programs over the past two years to improve their job opportunities and personal skills.
Eight months after Kaufman was laid off, she landed a new job as an office manager at a tech startup. She believes the online courses she took, combined with her willingness to learn new skills, helped her secure the position.
“While I had some tech skills when I started the new job, I also ramped up my software skills within the first few months of employment, learning Google Workspace, QuickBooks, Workable, online banking and more,” Kaufman says. “All of the programs were self-paced and web-based, making the learning experience effortless.”