The transition to a new job in this economy is fraught with stumbling blocks. Having the skills for your old job, but not your next one can block you. To keep costs down, employers hire and keep fewer people on the payroll even when the volume of work justifies more; therefore they often ask employees to work on projects that require the need for new skills.
Chances are, if you are employed, your company will provide some skills development or retraining opportunities. However, if you’re not employed you may find this situation creates a barrier to getting rehired. Your old job may not have required these capabilities in your position or perhaps they weren’t used as much or maybe you just need a refresher. Computer technology skills are one example of this block.
People tell me they see job listings that seem right otherwise, but they stumble when the requirements include extensive computer skills. I say get working on developing those skills. Being between jobs creates open time, so fill it with activities that will make you more employable. This suggestion may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many people give up when faced with the need to increase their employability. “I can’t afford it,” they say. Or, “I don’t think I’d do well and don’t want to risk it a big investment of time.”
Fortunately an easy way exists to pick up skills without spending too much time or money. Most towns in this area, including West Hartford and Farmington, have Continuing Education Programs with courses that cost well under $100 and meet anywhere from 4 to 14 hours per course. If you want something more extensive, you can take the next level class, contract with the teacher for tutoring, or move on to a community college or other school that offers computer training as part of its’ curriculum.
Just a few examples of computer courses offered now include introductory Microsoft PowerPoint, introductory and intermediate Word, and introductory Excel in West Hartford. Farmington classes include intermediate Excel, a fast track course in Access, An Evening with iPad, and Making the Switch to Office 2010.
For a catalog or more information contact http://www.lifelearn.org or call (860) 561-6900 in West Hartford. In Farmington, see http://www.fpsct.org or call (860) 404-0290.