3. Learn the joys of tweeting
Then there's Twitter — the place where you summarize the world in no more than 140 characters. Each post is called a tweet, and it's delivered as a text message. You can follow the tweets not only of colleagues who might be on Twitter, but also of recruiters or important people in your field. You also can follow companies that tweet job openings. Twitter doesn't carry the heft of LinkedIn, but it shows employers that you're keeping up with the digital world.
Once you've set up your digital presence, you have to feed the beast with regular posts, comments and links to interesting developments, which is a job in itself. But the modern job hunter can't avoid it.
"The online world is the new talent pool," says Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding. "If you aren't in that pool, because you don't have profiles on the networks, then you won't be found and aren't as employable."
If all this sounds daunting — and it flummoxed me when I first set up my profiles — you can find plenty of advice online. Search the Web for answers to your practical questions; buy a book about websites; ask your children and grandchildren for help; or, for help with everything from the most basic Web skills to how to use online organizing tools, hire a computer tutor or attend a continuing education class.
4. Start drilling down
Once you've established — or enhanced — your presence online, you're ready to drill down on jobs. Big companies and many smaller ones have "Careers" pages online. Job boards such as Monster.com, Craigslist.com and CareerBuilder.com list thousands of jobs.
Beyond.com will build a profile from your résumé that can go to any employer who checks you out. There are job boards for particular professions, such as JournalismJobs.com and newspaper want ads.
As in the old days, you still need a cover letter, tailored for the job you're seeking. Tip: Use the same keywords that the company put in its job posting. It will help the computer find you.
Once you get in the door for an interview, you can sell your experience, contacts and successes. The interviewer will have read your profiles, so he or she already thinks you might be a fit.
"Employers are always going to question the energy and relevancy of older workers," says Wayne Breitbarth, a social media trainer and author of The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. "An online ID shows that you've already changed with the times."
Jane Bryant Quinn is a personal finance expert and author of Making the Most of Your Money NOW. She writes regularly for the Bulletin.