When Camille Knight, age 50, was considering a job switch, her career counselor insisted she get on the professional networking site LinkedIn. It took her three years to do it. She was concerned about security issues and like many of her boomer cohorts, "You get shy about putting yourself out there in public," she said. But just before her 13-year position in human resources was eliminated in February 2012, she set up a LinkedIn profile.
As Knight began updating her content to reflect additional skills, the calls from recruiters started coming. At one point, she received 30 emails a week and a dozen phone calls with job prospects, one of which led to her current position as a business analyst in Austin, Texas. "It is my dream job," Knight said. "[Having] an online profile to remain competitive in today's job market is an absolute necessity."
The generation that spawned Bill Gates and Steve Jobs continues to keep pace with technology: According to the Pew Research Center's Internet Project, 66 percent of those ages 55 and older are online—but notably focused on professional activities. Among the 50-plus age group online, interest in professional pursuits "is tremendous," said Adam Sohn, vice president of brand alliances and partnerships for AARP. "There is a huge part of this demographic that is already digitally savvy and is using LinkedIn and recognizes that the paper rolodex is an ancient artifact," he said.
Nicole Williams, a LinkedIn career expert, has seen LinkedIn use in the elder demographic grow exponentially within the last couple of years. Williams said they feel less intimidated by it than other platforms because it is a professional network. "They understand that this is the place they need to dig in," she said.
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