The launch of a shiny new year is a time when many people think about changing careers, jump-starting a job search or putting a new sheen on an existing job.
January is the biggest month for online job searching. And 40 percent of experienced working individuals say they're likely to be looking for a job in 2016, according to a recent AARP survey of people ages 35 to 64.
If it's been a while since you've looked for work or thought about polishing up your skills, the job marketplace can seem like unfamiliar territory. Things have changed greatly in the past five to 10 years!
Job listings migrated to the Internet from the back pages of newspapers, and search sites have since multiplied and remultiplied. Networking and interviews have moved from face-to-face meetings to webcams and mobile devices. Applications, references, work samples, cover letters — all are now linked and shipped via the Internet, only rarely by paper and postage stamps.
Navigating this altered landscape might call for investing some time in renovating your search and work skills.
Jobs and the workplace have also changed dramatically, with flexible work options, telecommuting, team collaboration, big data analytics and diversity among today's watchwords.
But have no fear. Wherever you are in your career journey, help is available to make sure you have the best shot at prospering professionally.
Whether you're ready to seek the next opportunity or transforming your current situation, there are ample online resources to boost your confidence and smooth the path.
You might want to begin by making sure your technological talents are up to date, a prerequisite for both finding a new job and thriving in the new world of work. A good place to start is with AARP's new work site, www.aarp.org/work.
Beyond technology, we tried to think of everything that would be helpful to someone reshaping his or her work life: a list of employers who value experienced workers; tips for looking for work or for just exploring your options; expert insight on how to stay competitive and prosper in the workplace; tips and guidance about the challenges and opportunities in part-time, flexible and work-from-home jobs; and warnings about steering clear of online recruiting and other scams.
You deserve to know that you, as an experienced worker, are among an employer's best assets. Research shows that you are deeply engaged and intensely loyal, house a wealth of workplace wisdom and will make an excellent mentor.
So throw your shoulders back and plunge into the new world of work! We're here to help you take the next step, no matter where you are in your career journey.
Jo Ann Jenkins is CEO of AARP.