Today, it’s a brave new world of social media and digital résumés and positive online presence.

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If you’re mid-career and looking for work, you may have already figured out that the tried-and-true job-hunting techniques of the past no longer work.

Today, it’s a brave new world of social media and digital résumés and positive online presence.

What to do? You really have only one choice: Get to know this brave new world, and conquer it. Some tips:

  • Forget mailing out résumés and then sitting back and waiting for employers to contact you. It was never very effective, and today it just doesn’t cut it.
  • Experience matters less than it used to. People don’t want to hear about everything you did way back when. They want to hear about what you can do, specifically, to help them today.
  • Do not expect to hear back. Sadly, this little courtesy has gone the way of the vinyl record.
  • A résumé is no longer seen as a comprehensive summary of your work and education history. Don’t bother listing jobs more than 15 years old. Emphasize recent accomplishments, certifications and training.
  • Speaking of résumés, you need a digital-friendly one that is easily uploadable, downloadable, scannable and rich in the keywords that employers in your field are looking for.
  • In fact, an overall computer literacy is a must. Get comfortable with applying for jobs online and learn to research on the Internet. Your public library is a good place to start.
  • Consider going one step further and establishing a lively Internet presence. Get on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Become active on your field’s social media sites. Consider building your own career-oriented website.
  • One of the first things potential employers do is Google you. So if there’s anything negative about you online, try to get it removed or “bury” it with more recent, more favorable, links.
  • Realize that finding employment nowadays is less a matter of applying for existing open positions, and more about identifying needs potential employers have and demonstrating to them that you can fill these needs.
  • Finally, get used to the fact that many interviewers, hiring managers and recruiters will be younger than you. Learn how to speak their language. Do not say things like, “You remind me of my son/daughter,” or “When I was your age …”!

You can do this. Go forth and conquer!

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Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at