For those of you who are regular readers of Feisty Side of Fifty, you know I’m a huge proponent of the bountiful changes a woman experiences during her midlife makeover. No, I’m not referring to a new, stylish wardrobe that covers and camouflages or an uplifting hairdo that draws the eye away from the crows’ feet. The makeover Mother Nature gifts women with is an internal reset of hormones, attitudes, drive, sense of self-direction, and personal power. For most of us, it’s all encompassing and it’s grand—once you get through that pesky period called peri-menopause.
However, today’s marketplace is adding an entirely new dimension to nature’s makeover. Women over fifty are being forced to make changes they never anticipated and these externally imposed demands can be tough to deal with. They’re being laid-off, downsized, right-sized, and even labeled “redundant.” If they haven’t lost their jobs, they’re being forced to recognize that their careers, once flourishing, are in jeopardy. Previously promising fields and industries are contracting or moving offshore leaving workers vulnerable and dispensable. And this can be especially true for the older worker.
Despite the bleak circumstances and the ever-depressing news, there are ways to make others aware of your worth in the workplace and boost your own sense of self-confidence. One of the best is to know and be able to articulate your skills. Skills are your salable qualities and, if you’re laid off, you need to be very clear on what you bring to the position, the problems you can solve, and how you differ from the competition. This self-knowledge also comes in very handy at review time, when asking for a raise, and to avoid being passed over for promotions.
As a career and life transition counselor whose focus has been to assist people in finding work, I know the importance of identifying and speaking to one’s skills. Therefore, for the next several posts, I’m going to be posing questions to help you uncover your own unique qualities and how you can best convey your skill sets to others.
Skills can be divided into several categories and you’ll want to be clear on each of them. Today we’ll begin with work-specific, knowledge-based skills. Here are a several points to consider:
- What formal education do you have in your field?
- Which classes and ongoing training have you taken?
- Do you hold any certifications or degrees?
- What technical skills are required to do the work you perform?
- What people-related skills do you use on the job?
- What are the skills listed in your job description?
Spend some time identifying and listing skills that reflect your specialized knowledge. Next time we’ll look at and address another equally important skill area. In the meantime, forget the news and stay feisty!