Careers for young and old

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" is a question that's easy enough to answer when you're 5-years-old, with astronaut-cop being the clear choice. But once the end of high school approaches the question gets a little more serious. Even more so for those older folks who find themselves in need, or want, of a career change.

Fortunately for those in the Bennington area, there's Career Month.

It used to be called Career Week, but in the five years it has been running it's been growing steadily. It's put together by the Bennington County Industrial Corporation's School and Workforce Partnership. It involves local schools, business, the Vermont Department of Labor, and others who host various job-themed events that job-seekers of all ages can benefit from.

Among the events are: A career and internship fair held at Southern Vermont College, guest speakers visiting local schools such as Molly Stark Elementary and Mount Anthony Union High School, an open house by JK Adams in Dorset, a Wellness and Health Fair at Community College of Vermont, class sit-ins at CCV, and a Career and Job Expo which will be held Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bennington Fire Facility.

Along with all of this, the Department of Labor has been hosting workshops for those on the hunt for a job. A few have already gone by, but still ahead is a resume writing workshop April 12 at the Bennington Free Library starting at 9 a.m.

Most employers know a resume isn't everything, but they still use resumes as a winnowing device to screen out under-qualified candidates. Sometimes it's not the skills and experience listed on the resume that raise red flags, it's the quality and presentation of the document. Job websites offer tips and templates, but hearing from someone on how to actually craft one is a good learning experience.

Also at the library, on April 13 at 3 p.m., is a workshop on "networking," which is a fancy term for "knowing the right people." Many companies prefer to promote from within their own ranks versus outside hiring and when they do bring people in from outside they lean towards folks they know or have dealt with before. Obviously not everyone is hired this way, but knowing how to build a network of professional contacts is helpful when one wants to move around.

On April 14 there'll be a Model Employees Fashion Show held at the library from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. You've probably heard the phrase "dress for the job you want," but knowing what that is can be tricky given that standards are always changing. Not always in a major way, but in a competitive job market it's important to work every angle.

One of the more well-known Career Month events is the Bennington County Sophomore Summit on April 13 at Bennington College. Sophomores from all over the county will travel to the college and attend career-based workshops.

What we like most about Career Month is that it helps students about to enter the workforce as well as those already in it. It's one thing to prepare people for a life of work, but many things can change between high school and age 40. We congratulate the BCIC and the School and Workforce Partnership and all those involved with making Career Month happen. We hope it continues.


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