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5 Must-Read Job-Hunting Books

These key books will guide boomers on the path to career reinvention

Looking for a job is tough at any age. When you're over 50, it's even tougher. The median length of unemployment for job seekers 55 and older was 35 weeks last year, compared with 26 weeks for younger workers.

See also: How to sell yourself in a 30-second elevator pitch.

Man searching through books at a bookstore

Find the book that will help you find the right job. — Photo by Getty Images

To land a job today, you must be well versed in social media: Are you sending out a steady stream of tweets? Updating your Facebook account? Writing a blog? Are you prepared to be interviewed by a manager who may be several decades younger than you?

The books listed below deserve a place on the bookshelf — or e-reader — of every job-hunting boomer. Each one guides you through the new employment landscape with its own mix of inspiration, advice and true tales from the trenches.

Don't Retire, REWIRE!
by Jeri Sedlar and Rick Miners

$12.89 hardback, $15.99 e-book

The exclamation point and shouty capital letters in the book's title are no accident: Sedlar and Miners are excited to tell you how to channel your energy and experience to find work that is financially and emotionally satisfying. The coauthors include case studies, ways to determine your "hidden drivers" (what turns you on, workwise), networking tips and online resources.

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AARP Crash Course in Finding the Work You Love: The Essential Guide to Reinventing Your Life
by Samuel Greengard                
$5.98 hardback

Greengard offers a practical guide to "recareering," with concise advice such as "6 steps to an effective cover letter" and interviewing strategies, including how to handle "Gotcha" questions. The author's social-networking tips include starting a blog; he then lists his own favorite blogs that focus on career change.

Next: How to find career success after 50. »

What Should I Do with the Rest of My Life? True Stories of Finding Success, Passion, and New Meaning in the Second Half of Life
by Bruce Frankel
$6.40 hardback, $12.99 e-book

The subtitle says it all: No how-to manual, this is an inspirational ode to late-life reinvention. Frankel profiles 13 individuals who made successful life changes, among them a civil servant laid off in his 50s who earned a Ph.D. in psychology, and a retired contact-lens grinder who picked up (and perfected) stone carving at 61.

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The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife
by Marc Freedman

$11.18 hardback, $9.99 e-book

Freedman heads Civic Ventures, a San Francisco nonprofit devoted to boomers and work issues. He pioneered the concept of the "encore career," which he detailed in Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life (2008). Freedman's newest book, The Big Shift, suggests how we should rethink aging and capitalize on the often-lengthy productive period after our (unnecessary, in Freedman's opinion) midlife crises.

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What's Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job
by Kerry Hannon

$15.29 hardback, $9.34 e-book

Hannon mixes stories from successful reinventors with sound information about the best fields for starting over (education and elder care are two at the top). She emphasizes finding work that pays a decent wage without sucking your soul dry. Among the passion-pursuers she presents are a Navy captain now managing a circus and a former Wall Street bigshot who left the city and opened a cozy Italian bistro.

Published: July 23, 2012

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