Step 3: Skill Enhancement
Develop and execute a plan to enhance your skill set as needed. I realize this is much easier said than done. Below are some very low cost or free ways you can gain the skills, knowledge and experience to help you move forward.
• Download free evaluation copies of the software you want to learn. The evaluation copies are generally limited in some way such as automatically turning off after thirty days, not allowing you to save key types of data, limited stored data size, watermarks placed on graphics, and/or other limitations. From your perspective, however, who cares, you have full access to the application’s functionality for your educational purposes.
• You can find instructional YouTube videos for almost every topic. They are free and many of them are quite good.
• Volunteer at a local charity (or company) that uses the technology you want to learn. The deal is that you will work for free (part or full time as your schedule allows) and they will help you learn the product/technology and give you a professional reference if you do a good job.
• Your local government may have job retraining funds you can use and/or free training classes that you can take.
The trick for you here is to think outside-the-box of ways to have the skills you need and ideally a current job reference that you can use as part of your job search.
Step 4: Update your resume
This may sound like an obvious step, but don’t overlook the power of a well written resume and the roadblocks caused by a poor one. Seek the help of a professional resume writer and/or help from a friend in a management role who could give you suggestions based on the resumes he/she sees as part of his/her daily work.
Step 5: Build your professional brand and brand awareness
The bottom line here is to make sure the world knows that your skills are up to date and ready to get back into IT. The following activities can help you move this process along:
• Attend local (and often free) technology meetings. This activity alone has three advantages. They are making new contacts, gaining new knowledge, giving you something to talk about in interviews, and picking up tips on potential job opportunities.
• Become active in LinkedIn groups specifically related to the latest technologies in your area of newfound expertise. This may help people find you and your participation will continue to increase your technical knowledge in the area.
Step 6: Do information interviews
Find people in your field at companies where you would like to work and ask to meet them over coffee or in their office to
• Gain knowledge related to the technologies you are learning
• People they can connect you to
• Companies that they think may be hiring.