The 4 Best Resume-Boosting Opportunities for Working With the Elderly

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Your care, your know-how and even just your smile can make a difference in the life of a senior. If you want a career that offers stability and the chance to know you’re making a real impact on people’s lives, working with the elderly is an ideal opportunity. However, the best jobs in the field require more than just willingness to help. Increase your chances of getting a good-paying job in the field of gerontology by putting forth the extra effort to make yourself a more experienced and educated job candidate.

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Earning an Online Degree

If you’re stuck at an entry-level position or you’re having trouble finding paying work in the field of elder care, make yourself outshine the competition by earning a master’s in human services with a specialization in gerontology. A graduate degree proves not only your knowledge of the latest senior care techniques and practices but also your drive to go the extra mile, something that’s especially valued in a field like senior care. Enroll in online classes and study on your own schedule.

Because online degree programs are tailored to getting you licensure in your state, you can continue to work and volunteer with other projects as you earn your degree in your free time. Whether you only have time before your shift starts, you have the most time on the weekends or you can set aside a few hours each evening, the convenience of doing coursework online is a must for the busy adult looking to further her career.

Because online degree programs are tailored to getting you licensure in your state, you can continue to work and volunteer with other projects as you earn your degree in your free time. Whether you only have time before your shift starts, you have the most time on the weekends or you can set aside a few hours each evening, the convenience of doing coursework online is a must for the busy adult looking to further her career.

Choosing a Specialization

Along with studying the field of gerontology, which is a blanket term for the study of aging, choose a specialization within the field and seek careers directly related to your focus. For example, you might choose to work with the elderly as a:

  • Nurse, either in a clinic or hospital or an in-home aide,
  • Occupational therapist,
  • Case manager,
  • Social worker,
  • Long-term care administrator.

The sooner you select a specialization, the earlier you can incorporate it into your online coursework and get certification. An employer seeking an in-home aide specifically, for example, will need to see you have the adequate training for in-home work in the state, so a basic gerontology degree without a specialization won’t be quite enough. You’ll delay the start of your new career if you have to seek licensure after earning your degree.

Volunteering With the Elderly

While studying and looking for a good-paying job in the field, boost your resume with volunteer experiences that demonstrate your talents working with the elderly. Your area has a number of senior aid programs always in need of volunteers, particularly those studying to work in the field. You might inquire about the local programs in your area such as:

  • Meals on Wheels. Deliver hot meals to seniors who live alone or can’t get out of the home.
  • Senior centers. Host frequent activities, such as dinners, games and performances in addition to financial and legal counseling and case management services.
  • Adult day services. Bathe, walk and run errands for those with low incomes who don’t qualify for government assistance.
  • Transitions. Coach families going through the transition of home care to residential care.

Use your volunteer activities not only to get experience working with the elderly but also to make connections. The coordinators of these programs may be in need of a paid staff member in the near future, or they may know someone in the field who’s hiring. The elderly people with whom you spend time might also be able to recommend you to their families, residential care staff and program coordinators looking to hire someone.

Speaking at a Senior Center

In addition to acting as a volunteer at a senior center, ask to speak at the senior center on the issue of your choice. Senior centers are always looking for educated and experienced speakers to engage local seniors on issues that concern them. For example, you might speak on healthy nutrition for the elderly, watching out for signs of disease such as Alzheimer’s or making a transition to residential care.

According to the United States Census, 13.9 percent of the Nebraskan population is 65 or older, just slightly more than the 13.7 percent of the national population that’s in the same age bracket. Nebraska is an ideal location for finding jobs that allow you to work with the elderly. The time and effort you put into becoming a more experienced and educated job candidate in your local area will help you make all the connections you need to get a job in-state.