Guest Submission by Jean Baur
Jean Baur is a dynamic speaker who knows how to inspire audiences to maximize their potential. She draws on her diverse background as an author and career coach to reveal the symptoms and causes of burnout, empowers her audiences to be the “boss” of their own lives and careers, and helps them realize there are always choices. For more information, visit http://www.jeanbaur.com/.

You know what you’re good at. You’re used to your job. Then it disappears on you, and when you’re an older worker, it can feel particularly difficult to imagine finding work again. How do you figure out what to do? And how do you get the confidence and stamina to make it happen?

First point. You’re not alone. This happens to a lot of people and it rarely has to do with their competence. In fact, studies show that most of will not only have several jobs in our working lives, but also more than one career.

Second point. As what I like to call “a mature worker,” you have advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, you’ve been through a lot. Maybe you’ve managed a team or had a wide range of jobs in manufacturing. You know how to solve problems. On the minus side, you might not be up-to-date with the technology.

Third. You feel as if you’ve had the stuffing knocked out of you. Your confidence seems to have disappeared with your paycheck.

Fourth. You haven’t looked at your resume in more than twenty years and don’t know where to start.

Okay, deep breath. All of these issues are surmountable. There’s help and answers, but you’ll have to commit to try. You have to get off the couch!

Where to start? I’m a big fan of lists, so I suggest starting with a list of the kinds of work you enjoy. Make sure to think about what’s practical for this phase of your life. If you hate commuting, don’t pick jobs that require a two-hour drive each way. If you’ve never worked in food service, this probably isn’t the time to become a server.

Check your local resources, including the information right on the AARP website under Work and Jobs. Find the nearest Department of Labor office – often called American Job Centers. They offer a wide range of free classes as well as help in creating and/or updating your resume. You can also find a lot of templates online. Just Google your title and resume, such as “Administrative Resume,” and you’ll find plenty of samples.

Now you need to start a second list – one of the people you know. These can be friends, relatives, people you used to work with, neighbors, parents of your children’s friends, etc.

Next, draft a script – for an email or phone conversation. Your choice. And reach out to the people on the list asking for advice – not a job! My example might be:

“I’m reaching out to you as I’m excited to be exploring new opportunities after more than 20 years as a career coach. I’ve put  together a list of some organizations that interest me, and I was hoping that I could share it with you. Would that be alright? I’ll follow up next week and look forward to connecting.”

What you’re basically doing here is sharing a list of the kinds of places where you might want to work with the people you know. This is a really smart way to tap into the unpublished job market – one that is just as robust as the ads listed online. What I like about this is that you don’t need to have all the answers – you haven’t even defined what kinds of work you want to do, but are using your connections to explore and brainstorm.

Lastly, give yourself a nice pat on the back. This is hard work, but you’ve taken smart steps to launch your new career.

Jean will present at the AARP Connecticut seminar “Navigating the Job Search in the Digital Age” in Waterford on Wednesday, April 18, at 5:30 p.m. The interactive seminar on job searching in the digital age highlights the evolution of the job search, shares on-line job search resources and tools, and showcases the power of personal branding. The tips and tools provided will invigorate a job search and help you prioritize where to focus your time and energies. For details and to register, visit https://aarp.cvent.com/JobSearch418.