Older Workers Need to Rebrand Online, Says AARP

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AARP is launching a new social network designed to help older workers find jobs and reach their retirement goals.

Work Reimagined, which starts today, is a joint project with the social-media site LinkedIn, which can help consumers navigate online. Older Americans are increasingly tech-savvy Internet users.

Although older workers' unemployment rate is not as high as the general workforce, once they are unemployed they are out of work longer than their younger counterparts, says a July AARP Public Policy Institute report.

While 58 percent of non-retirees say they only plan to work part time in retirement, that may be wishful thinking, because 50 percent of them acknowledge that they only have guessed at the savings they will need for retirement, according to the Wells Fargo survey.

Despite their years of experience, many older Americans fear that they will be turned down for a job because of their age. AARP's new digital platform provides them with advice and connects them to current job openings.

Currently 50 percent of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 use social-networking sites, according to a June report by Pew Research Center. While they mostly use them to stay in touch with family members and friends, it's important to know how to use them for job searches.

"It used to be that you could sit around in your pajamas and send out job résumés," says Peggy Northrop, editor of Work Reimagined. "Today if you are not engaged in social media in some way you are not really looking for a job. And it is more than posting your résumé on a job site or having a LinkedIn profile. It's having an active social-media profile."

Work Reimagined is created to help people build a presence on social networks and create a community where people can share information.

AARP's social-network site also lists jobs offered by employers that have taken a pledge to treat all applicants on a level playing field, regardless of their age. Already 120 employers have signed the pledge.

"We value all of our employees," said Vic Buzachero, senior vice president for innovation at Scripps Health, which has signed the pledge. "But there is something special about our more senior members of the team as they bring both education and experience to the job."