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Technological proficiency is no longer an option

Remember when you were a kid and your mother told you to “Eat your spinach!” You may not have liked it, but you ate it. As many parents counsel their children, sometimes you have to do what you don’t want to do.

And sometimes you have to do things you may not especially enjoy, but you do them because you have to in order to survive.

In today’s job search world, this is the case with becoming technologically proficient. It’s doubly true for the 50+ job seeker because many younger hiring managers and HR executives don’t believe that older workers have the ability to become comfortable with new technology. The real tragedy is when that misperception causes them to eliminate older candidates based on that faulty assumption.

The truth is that mature workers are just as capable handling new technology as any other age group. In some cases, more so. What’s more, there is scientific data to support this. Several studies from Boston College, the Harvard Medical School, Pew Research Center, McKinsey and others have shown that the Boomer generation are quite adept at learning new skills – especially as it pertains to technology.

This doesn’t mean that you need to become a programmer who can develop the next great mobile app. But you need to be able to demonstrate basic computer skills as an expectation for employment.

As a mature job seeker, it’s crucial for you to become technologically proficient – not just to perform your next job, but being tech savvy is just as important in your job search. Being competent in basic computer functions such as word processing and spreadsheets is expected in today’s workplace. Your knowledge of and ability to work LinkedIn is a modern day must.

If you feel that you techno-skills aren’t all that they should be, there are multitudes of places where you can sharpen your capabilities – and most of them are free. Libraries and other organizations regularly offer full complements of classes as do local community colleges. Then there are the many online tutorials that are at your fingertips. Often, if you do volunteer work for a non-profit, you’ll have the opportunity to learn or upgrade your skills.

In this day and age, being a techno-phobe is no longer an option. It may be time to buckle up your chin strap and get into the game.


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