Most Gen Xers Are Making This 1 Huge Career Mistake

by Kailey Hagen | Published on Aug. 15, 2021

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Making this change could open up a world of new career possibilities.

The COVID-19 unemployment crisis has hit workers of all ages hard, but Gen Xers are finding it the most difficult to get back into the workforce, according to a new survey from nonprofit organization Generation. Both workers and employers seem to view Gen Xers as having weaker skill sets than their younger counterparts.

There are ways to change that, though. If you're a Gen Xer and you want your application to stand out, there is one thing that could make a big difference.

Do you have the skills you need?

Three out of four employers in the Generation survey say they believe training and certification provide workers with the skills and experience to excel in today's work environment. Yet 58% of Gen X workers express reluctance to pursue additional training.

The associated cost and time can feel daunting, but there's a big upside: Additional training helps your application stand out and can open doors to better, higher-paying positions. This could make it easier for you to achieve your long-term goals, including saving for retirement.

Training doesn't have to mean going back to school for an advanced degree, either. Depending on your industry, there might be short-term training or certification courses you can complete on your own schedule at a fraction of the cost of a college degree.

Take a look at what's out there in your field or in a field you're interested in breaking into. See if there are any certifications you can add to your resume to set yourself apart from competitors, then look into how to achieve them.

You may not have to do it alone

Some employers compensate employees who pursue additional training. If you find a company that does this, you may not have to use your personal finances for a certification, and you may land a job sooner -- some employers may offer you the work while you're taking courses.

If you find a company you're interested in working for, inquire about whether it offers training opportunities for employees. Even expressing a willingness to develop your skills may set you apart from other job seekers.

Other ways to help your job application stand out

If pursuing additional training isn't possible for you right now, try highlighting skills you already have that are applicable to the job you're seeking. Review the job posting for keywords and skills the employer is looking for, then work them into your application as naturally as possible. And bring them up in interviews.

Don't inflate your skills, but highlight everything you can. This usually means tailoring your resume for each job application. It's more work, but it can deliver quick results. And once you get the hang of it, it won't take you long to tweak your resume.

We live in a world where everything's changing quickly. Adapting and growing your skills is key to being successful in today's job market. If you've never considered additional training, now may be the time to start. You never know what kind of new opportunities might open up to you.

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