The prospect of reinventing yourself after 50 can be a daunting one without some basic tools and support. Fortunately, while it can't give you the all-important motivation and drive, the internet can help break a seemingly insurmountable prospect into manageable steps by providing access to the advice and inspirational example of others who have been there and done that.
Maybe you're looking for a new job after a recent layoff, or to continue with your current profession but shift gears in some way -- or maybe you're dreaming of reinventing yourself entirely, picking up where you left off with an old passion, or trying something new that excites you. Whatever is driving your reinvention, there are more than a few good websites out there for job-seekers and career-shifters over 50. For instance, Experience Works offers a self-assessment tool to help you identify where your strengths lie, and then connect the dots to available career paths. More specialized sites such as ReServe, which can help you get a foot in the door in the nonprofit world. Click through the slideshow below for more information on these and 10 more great reinvention sites:
A blog dedicated to reinvention or "rebooting" (ending one career and pursuing a new one), <a href="http://rebootyou.com/" target="_hplink">RebootYou</a> offers inspiration and support to a network of "rebooters," with fun resources such as "Ten Good Reasons to Reboot Yourself" and "Rebooter Stories," as well as some concrete guidelines on "How to Reboot."
A popular reinvention theme is using the skills and experience gleaned from years in the professional world to serve the greater good. If this sounds appealing, <a href="http://reserveinc.org/" target="_hplink">ReServe</a> can help match you with a nonprofit organization that could use your help; a nonprofit group itself, ReServe helps "continuing professionals age 55+" secure a part-time, flexible position with one of its nonprofit partners, where they will be paid an hourly stipend -- which can remain a short-term project, or can serve as a stepping-stone to second career in the nonprofit sector.
In a similar vein, <a href="http://www.encore.org/" target="_hplink">Encore Careers</a>, a service of Civic Ventures, a nonprofit think tank on boomers, work and social purpose, "provides free, comprehensive information that helps people transition to jobs in the nonprofit world and the public sector." In addition to lots of information on multigenerational workforce issues and inspiring testimonials, Encore Careers provides <a href="http://www.encore.org/fellowships" target="_hplink">fellowships</a> to help a few lucky encore-career hunters get their foot in the door in the nonprofit world.
In addition to a wealth of information on topics such as financial planning for retirement and the unique health concerns affecting seniors, <a href="http://www.retiredbrains.com/" target="_hplink">RetiredBrains</a> offers a job search engine complete with a "work from home" search category.
<a href="http://workreimagined.aarp.org/" target="_hplink">Work Reimagined</a> is a social networking site launched recently by AARP. Powered by LinkedIn, it connects job-seeking professionals with potential employers -- companies who have taken the "Work Reimagined pledge" to actively seek experienced professionals -- as well as with each other for support and networking.
Though it targets primarily a younger audience working their way through false starts in their professional lives, articles on topics such as "How to overcome fear and obstacles" and even "How to identify your ideal career" on the "expert advice" page of <a href="http://www.careershifters.org/" target="_hplink">Careershifters.org</a> can be of use to people of any age making a major career and life transition, and in need of a little motivation and guided self-reflection. For those in the U.K., this organization also offers workshops in "figuring out what you really want and making a realistic action plan."
<a href="http://www.experienceworks.org/" target="_hplink">Experience Works</a> provides training, employment and community service to low-income seniors; operating under the belief that "Older people should have the opportunity to learn new skills and contribute to their communities throughout their lives," the organization offers training to people 55+ who are currently unemployed. Its website itself is a great resource, with advice on combating age discrimination in the labor market ("myths of maturity" and how to counter them), lists of common interview, resume, and job-search mistakes, and a link to the National Business Services Alliance's <a href="http://ewl.nbsalliance.com/tt/wsl/main/welcome" target="_hplink">"Job Match" and "Job Search" tool</a>, which helps older workers assess where their strengths lie and match those strengths with local job openings.
<a href="http://www.quintcareers.com/" target="_hplink">Quintessential careers</a> is another primarily information-based online resource for career-changers and job-seekers, with articles on topics such as how to make the most of a job fair, tips for interviewing, and how to build a personal brand. It also has a special page for the unique concerns of mature and older jobseekers.
Sites To Help You Keep Doing What You're Doing...But Less
There are also plenty of useful sites for people who hope to continue in their current profession into their second half, but perhaps at a slower pace or on a part-time basis: <a href="http://www.yourencore.com/" target="_hplink">YourEncore</a> is a neat resource for recently retired scientists or engineers, pairing them with projects that will utilize their expertise in the consumer product, pharmaceutical / life science, aerospace / defense, food, chemical and electronic industries. Once they've joined the YourEncore network as an "expert," they can be recruited by "Member Companies" for full- or part-time work on projects of interest in their field of expertise, ranging from days to several months. <a href="http://www.volunteersinmedicine.org/index.shtml" target="_hplink">Volunteers in Medicine</a> helps retired medical practitioners offer their services pro bono to those in need. <a href="http://www.score.org/" target="_hplink">Score</a> connects retirees from the world of business with budding small businesses that could use their expertise.
Aspiranet Encore Fellowships
<a href="http://www.aspiranet.org/" target="_hplink">Aspiranet</a>, one of the largest social service agencies in California, helps post 50s get started in doing work in the nonprofit sector. The service is also the first <a href="http://www.encore.org/fellowships/aspiranet-encore" target="_hplink">nonprofit</a> in America to launch an Encore Fellowships program with <a href="http://Encore.org" target="_hplink">Encore.org</a>. The program aims to "provide a unique opportunity to take meaningful action, using skills and knowledge you already have, while learning firsthand about the nonprofit sector and exploring potential work options." Aspiranet provides a list of their 35 programs to chose from as well as testimonials from their Encore Fellows.
An Expensive Watch
Lubin-Sherman says displaying wealth or status objects might convey that you really don't need the job.
A Diamond Ring
Even remove large diamond wedding rings, Lubin-Sherman suggests. "Choose items that are symbolic of humility such as sport watches, a simple wedding band," she says.
A Pocket Square
Unless you're New York Giants hero Victor Cruz heading for the Grammys, lose the pocket square.
A Recognizable Designer Handbag
Look for a handbag "that doesn't convey a 'herd' mentality or a desire to impress people with your money," said Lubin-Sherman. Save your nifty Prada bag to bring to work after you land the job.
A Status Tie
Skip the tie by Hermes and go with something less showy, Lubin-Sherman advises.
Status Loafers With No Socks