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More secrets to getting a job after 50

7 Secrets to Getting a Job After 50: Page 3

By , Caring.com senior editor
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Image by Brent Nelson used under the creative commons attribution license.

Secret #6: Reinvent one

Get a group of midlife people together, and you'll hear one reinvention story after another. In fact, More magazine, read mostly by women ages 50 and over, now sponsors an annual "reinvention convention" featuring panels on how to create your "second act." Of course, the stories of high-profile software managers turned chocolatiers and winemakers get the most attention, but there are also many quieter ways that over-50 job seekers reinvent themselves or rebrand themselves into a job.

Carolyn Pistone of Petaluma, California, lost her job as a property manager for a large industrial park when the portfolio she managed was sold. With few opportunities in her industry, Pistone, who'd long been involved with Green Key Real Estate, a residential real estate company dedicated to "greening" the homes they sell, approached the owners about opening a commercial branch. Her business, Green Key Commercial, just launched and is working with numerous organizations and groups to "green" commercial properties around the Bay Area.

How to do it: Whether you're looking for a job or starting a consulting service, building your brand is the new catchphrase of career consultants, who say it's all about getting known for having a specific type of expertise. A step-by-step plan:

  • Create a blog or website that positions you as the expert in your area of choice. (If needed, obtain whatever certifications or qualifications are required.) Freelance journalist Alisa Bowman of New Jersey launched a blog, Project Happily Ever After, about her successful experience saving her marriage. The blog turned into a book, TV appearances on the Today show, Fox, and CBS -- and a new career as a marriage expert, workshop leader, and relationship advice columnist was launched.

  • Get high-quality business cards to advertise the new area of expertise.

  • Join professional associations and local groups in your new area of expertise. Meet others in the field and set up a referral network to direct clients, particularly to complementary fields. For example, advertising designers might refer copywriters and vice versa.

  • Offer yourself as a speaker in your new area of expertise. Join Toastmasters, Speaking Circles, and other public speaking groups if you need to develop your public speaking skills.

  • If applicable, offer classes or coaching services in the area of expertise. For example, fitness and nutrition expert Raquel Barrios of Corte Madera, California, founded the Marin Adventure Bootcamp for Women and started teaching weeklong fitness camps to establish herself. She also became certified as a personal trainer and lifestyle coach.

Secret #7: Move for one

For many people, this might sound like a last resort. But if you have your sights set on a particular career or field, moving to where that industry is healthiest -- or where the job market in general is thriving -- can be the ultimate secret to job-hunting success. Christine Lee of Washington, D.C., was having trouble finding a job in hotel management, thanks to the downturn in the travel industry. She contacted corporate management at her favorite hotel chain and offered to go anywhere in the world to get started. They asked if she could start in Tokyo in three weeks, and although already "55-plus" -- and after a year without a job -- her answer was, "Yes."

Of course, a move that extreme isn't always needed; sometimes the jobs are more plentiful one or two counties over, or in a neighboring state.

How to do it: Research, research, research. Look at statistics for positions listed and filled in the industries or fields you're interested in. Talk to headhunters; they're an endless source of information on who's hiring and for what. If you have a particular region in mind, get current economic and labor market statistics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a wealth of such information, and most state governments keep good data, too. Many job sites, such as CareerBuilder and Indeed, keep lists of the best places to find a job or have searchable city-by-city databases.

The differences can be eye-opening: Oklahoma's unemployment rate has hovered between 5 and 6 percent for the past year, while California's has been more than double that. Washington, D.C.'s wage growth is the highest in the country. Information like this can make it easier to decide where to settle for the next phase of your working life.