Auditing Your Job Skills to Get a Job after 50

By Kerry Hannon

Part of Getting the Job You Want After 50 For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Copyright © 2015 AARP. All rights reserved.

If you want to get a job after 50, you need to know what job skills you bring to the table. Job seekers often don’t know what they know or what skills they already have until they sit down and write a list. Make your own list, which will come in handy when revamping your résumé, filling out job applications, and preparing for interviews. Take an inventory of your skills and follow these steps:

  1. Write down any formal education you received in high school, college, or trade school that has given you a work skill, such as welding, programming, business management, or public speaking.

  2. Include any other coursework, seminars, or workshops you attended.

  3. List any licenses or certifications you currently hold or held in the past.

  4. Record any proficiencies you have in any subject areas.

    Perhaps you picked up a foreign language on your own, taught yourself how to build websites or blogs, or developed public speaking skills as a member of a local Toastmasters group.

  5. List all office software you’re proficient with, such as spreadsheet applications, presentation programs, database management software, desktop publishing or graphics programs, and blogging platforms.

  6. Jot down any hobbies that have taught you new skills or helped sharpen existing skills.

  7. List your soft skills.

    For example, maybe you’re good at solving problems, planning and overseeing projects, or resolving conflict.

  8. Ask friends, relatives, and former coworkers and supervisors to list your best qualities.

    You may not realize skills you possess until others call attention to them.

Don’t restrict yourself to skills you developed on the job. If you volunteered as treasurer for your local parent-teacher organization, for example, you have experience with financial management and budgeting. If you raised children, you have experience in child-care, scheduling, and training. How you developed your skills is less important than the fact that you have the skills and how you can present those skills in a way that meet an employer’s needs.