Re-entering the workforce with RightSkill: Q&A with a student

RightSkill Q&A

RightSkill provides job seekers with unique learning experiences that prepare them for in-demand careers.

David M. held a variety of jobs – from selling World Book Encyclopedia to selling cars and even working as a defense contractor at White Sands Missile Range – before retiring in 2013. But like many Americans, after retirement, David decided to return to the workforce to supplement his income.

"So basically I really hadn't been working at all, and I was looking for something that would allow me a lot of freedom but would generate a little income," said David. "The Social Security check is nice, I mean it's a pretty decent check, but, still own a home, still paying a mortgage, still want to buy stuff."

While applying to jobs, David learned about RightSkill, a partnership between CareerBuilder and Capella Learning Solutions, which, upon successful completion of an online learning experience, would facilitate job interviews with local employers who were actively hiring.

We talked with David to learn more about his experience in the RightSkill program and how others can take advantage of the benefits it offers.

CB: What are you doing currently?

DM: I'm actually working part time as a technical advisor for a company called Sitel, who was contracted by DirectTV for technical issues – basically a customer service representative gig.

CB: What was your profession before you applied for RightSkill?

DM: Well, my primary profession has been sales. Everything from World Book Encyclopedia to automobiles to phone books, etc. I also spent eleven and a half years working as a defense contractor at White Sands Missile Range, serving as a combat operations special analyst on computer stuff.

CB: What did you think of the course you took, Essentials of Customer Service?

DM: You have people who, in their 50s and 60s, can't find a job, and this will allow them to get into an entirely different field than perhaps they even considered. Because there is a certain skillset involved in talking to people. Putting them at ease, establishing a rapport, and if you don't have those skills it can be a horrible job, but I happen to be good at that, so I like the job. But I think that this course can really help a lot of people.

Another real strong part of the course I think would be for people, perhaps either males or females who had left the workforce to raise children or to care for a loved one, and are coming back to the workforce and don't have a lot of skills, this would be a great course for them as well.

CB: How was the course structured? What was the coursework like?

DM: They really start out with the basics, and they talked a lot about how to talk, how to comport yourself. They talked about focusing on learning the skills that are there. And for example, DirectTV – they have an excellent, excellent toolset, over 4,000 actual webpages, so that you can guide customers through the different methods and the solutions that you need. And [the course] talked about that – understanding who you're working for, what their goals are, and making sure that you understood that and you followed that.

CB: Did you feel prepared to begin working at the end of the course?

DM: Yes. Where it helped me was it reminded me of some of the things that I had forgotten.

If you've never been in a call center, it can be a bizarre circumstance. You walk into a place and you've got over a hundred people there taking phone calls. It's noisy. You have customers calling who can be extremely upset. However, you have to understand that it's not personal. I think it does a great job of getting a person from coming in with absolutely no knowledge [of that], and having a good basic grounding of what the job is going to be.

CB: What did you like best about the training?

DM: It was self-paced. You could move at your own pace. You were at your computer desk.

CB: What would you say to someone considering the program and getting reskilled?

DM: The key takeaway is that you're going to be talking to and trying to establish a rapport with new people every day. The ability to react to and understand how to deal with new people on a daily basis is a critical skill that is certainly needed today.

RightSkill is a service that helps job seekers develop in-demand skills, then helps facilitate job interviews with local employers that are actively hiring. Click here to learn more.