As an older worker, staying competitive in the job market can be challenging, especially with rapidly evolving technology and industry trends. Identifying skills gaps and creating a personalized learning plan is essential to enhance your employability and career prospects. In this article, we will explore 7 effective strategies to identify skills gaps and develop a tailored learning plan to suit your needs and career goals.
- Self-Assessment: Identifying Skills Gaps
The first step in creating a personalized learning plan is to conduct a comprehensive self-assessment. Take stock of your existing skills, knowledge, and experience. Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, focusing on both technical and soft skills. Consider seeking feedback from colleagues or supervisors to gain a well-rounded perspective.
Utilize online self-assessment tools and career quizzes to identify areas where you may lack proficiency. Analyze job descriptions for roles you aspire to and compare them with your current skill set to uncover any gaps.
- Research Current Industry Trends
Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in your industry. Research the emerging skills and competencies that are in high demand among employers. Industry-specific publications, professional networking platforms, and online forums are excellent sources for such information. World Economic Forum estimates that, by 2025, 50% of all employees will need reskilling due to adopting new technology. Five years from now, over two-thirds of skills considered important in today’s job requirements will change.
Identify the skills that align with your career goals and would make you more marketable. Pay special attention to transferable skills that can be applied across various roles and industries.
- Set Clear Goals
Based on your self-assessment and industry research, set clear and achievable goals for skill development. Prioritize the skills that are most relevant to your desired career path and that will have the most significant impact on your employability.
Setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals will keep you focused and motivated throughout your learning journey. Both individuals and companies need to commit to reskilling and upskilling and make career development an essential phase of the future workforce.
- Leverage Online Learning Platforms
The digital era has made learning more accessible than ever before. Embrace online learning platforms that offer a vast array of courses, webinars, and tutorials. Websites like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and Udemy host courses on a wide range of topics, from technical skills like programming and data analysis to soft skills like communication and leadership.
Workers that qualify for jobs that require even one digital skill can earn an average of 23% more than in a job requiring no digital skills. Moving from a job requiring no digital skills to one requiring at least three can increase pay by an average of 45%.
For instance, our sister organization CWI Labs has launched a Digital Certification Program (DCP). DCP is a one-of-its-kind training program with a curriculum that goes beyond technology platforms to train on the soft skills unique to a remote and hybrid workplace. DCP simultaneously combats ageism by directly refuting two myths holding older workers back from equitable economic opportunity – that they are not digitally savvy and that they do not want to learn digital skills. Learn more…
- Seek Out Workshops and Webinars
Participating in workshops and webinars provides an opportunity to interact with industry experts and other learners, fostering networking and collaboration. Many organizations, universities, and professional associations offer virtual workshops and webinars on niche subjects.
Look out for conferences and events in your area of interest, as they can be valuable learning opportunities and help you stay informed about the latest trends in your field. Keep an eye out for our upcoming 2023 Equity Summit on October 17th! Each year, the Center for Workforce Inclusion and CWI Labs convene hundreds of decision-makers, influences, policymakers, and practitioners for a unique opportunity – to discuss equitable economic opportunities for older job seekers, especially those living in historically underserved communities. Unlike other conferences, the Equity Summit is exclusively focused on advancing the workforce aspirations of older workers through solutions to systemic ageism, racism, and sexism. Learn more…
- Mentorship and Job Shadowing
If possible, seek mentorship from experienced professionals in your desired field. A mentor can offer valuable insights and guidance, helping you navigate your career path and understand industry-specific nuances.
Additionally, consider job shadowing or volunteering in your chosen field to gain hands-on experience and practical knowledge. This will bolster your resume and demonstrate your commitment to continuous learning.
- Join Professional Associations
Joining a professional association related to your industry can be a valuable resource for skill development. These organizations often offer workshops, webinars, and networking events tailored to their members’ needs. Engaging with like-minded professionals can provide a supportive community that encourages skill development and career growth.
As an older worker, embracing lifelong learning and identifying skills gaps is crucial to remain competitive in today’s job market. By conducting a self-assessment, staying updated with industry trends, setting clear goals, leveraging online platforms, attending workshops, seeking mentorship, and engaging with professional associations, you can develop a personalized learning plan that aligns with your career aspirations.
Continuous improvement and adaptability are keys to success, and with a well-crafted learning plan, you can confidently navigate the ever-changing professional landscape and secure new opportunities in your chosen field.
Remember, age should never be a barrier to learning and growth – it can be your greatest asset on your journey to success in the modern workforce. The gift of longer life expectancy creates an opportunity for longer economic contribution and sustained economic growth – and older workers are crucial for the success of a multigenerational workforce.