With the recent economic troubles people have experienced the world over, finding a new job can be intimidating for anyone. But when you're a baby boomer trying to land a new position, you face some unique obstacles. First off, if you're looking for a job now, you may not be sure how to start. After all, sometimes an employee who has worked for a company for decades is laid off and is forced to seek a new career path. While change is always difficult, it's important to view it as an opportunity to advance your career and your life as a whole.
Of course, you may have to fight an uphill battle. You are likely worried that because you aren't the youngest candidate potential employers will interview, they won't want to hire you. This fear is somewhat well-founded, and a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision made it extremely difficult for people who suspect that they were passed over for a job based on age discrimination to make a case in court. But it's not all bad news: You likely have extensive experience in your field of choice, which will work in your favor. However, you need to be sure that you present the image of someone who is willing to adapt your skills as needed to suit a new company or an entirely new field.
Building a social media network not only shows that you're dedicated to adapting in this changing world, but it could also put you in contact with potential employers. Facebook can be used to spread the word to friends and acquaintances that you're looking for work. Perhaps the job market isn't particularly robust in your area, but your friend across the state might know of a good opportunity that's suited to your skills. LinkedIn is a site specifically designed for career-centric networking, where you can do everything from learning about local employers to contacting previous coworkers for letters of recommendation. Twitter, a platform that allows users to send 140-character messages, or "tweets," can be another useful tool, especially when you're researching a company. You can check the company account to learn about new products or services they offer or even look at an interviewer's account to cull some personal information and find out how to best impress him or her.
Even if you're completely confident that you could land a typical fulltime position through a job search, you may want to reconsider the types of jobs you're looking for. You may have worked a 9-to-5 desk job for your whole life and you may be fine with working that way until you retire. But if you're yearning for a change of pace, now might be the best time to explore your options. After all, while many fields require specialized degrees and extensive training, many of the fastest growing fields in the country require only on-the-job training. You might be in a position to start your own business, using your years of knowledge as a solid foundation. Semi-retirement is also another option that might fit your needs. By working part-time or by contract, you could continue bringing home some cash without the stress that comes with fulltime employment. Plus, you'll still be as purpose-driven as ever with a reason to get up in the morning.