Workers: Here's How to Reinvent Yourself

It's never too late to reinvent yourself, whether you're considering another line of work, seeking a promotion at your current job or looking for a more meaningful, less stressful gig on your way to retirement.

Career coaches say boomers and older adults, perhaps more than previous generations, seem willing to switch careers, return to college or seek retraining to boost their job opportunities. The deep recession of 2008-09 and the staggering loss of  jobs (some 2 million older workers are still unemployed) also helped to motivate midlife adults to learn new skills in their search for employment.

If you've lost a job, you already know how difficult it can be to land a new position if you're 55 or older. It takes older adults at least four months longer to find a job than younger workers.

Career coach Nancy Collamer says that being positive may be the number one secret to a successful career transition. Of course, talent, a large professional network and a stand-out  resume wouldn't hurt, either.

"When you believe that success is possible, you're far more likely to take the steps needed for positive change. And when you hit the inevitable bumps along the reinvention road - whether a sluggish economy, age bias or something else - you're better prepared to navigate around them," Collamer says.


In a video about personal branding via the Harvard Business Review blog, Dorie Clark, author of  Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, explains how to make others see where you're headed instead of where you've been.

Catherine Silverman, a stay-at-home mom, told AARP in a  Your Life Calling video that she reinvented herself in her 50s to become a "home stager," arranging furniture and decor to make for-sale homes more appealing to potential buyers.

"The most important thing is to look inside of yourself and figure out what makes you happy," she says." Sometimes you just need to be as introspective as possible and figure out what it is that, when you're doing it, you're happy about the fact that you're doing it. Because . . . chances are, if you like to do it, you're going to be pretty good at it."

Career experts suggest that if you're thinking about switching fields, find a mentor in that line of work to make sure it's what you had envisioned. Even better, consider trying out the work to make sure it's what you want.

Find information and tools at www.aarp.org/work - including job-hunting resources, articles and tips, and explore WorkReimagined.org to learn about employers who value experienced workers.

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