The rules of career reinvention

June 21, 2011: 5:00 AM ET

Career reinvention doesn't happen overnight and certainly requires a concerted effort. Here are a few basic rules to go by and resources to consider using on your journey.

1. Get online, for real. Reinvention these days is digital. You're not too old to learn social media, and it's not too hard. In fact, technology has become more, not less, accessible. So get going!

2. Start from scratch. In the Age of Disruption, we're all starting from scratch. Don't get hung up over it -- embrace it. (Anyhow, you don't have a choice.)

3. Learn by doing. Don't worry about being perfect before you post something or try out a new site. The beauty of the medium is that there's often no right answer -- so you won't be wrong.

4. Share the wealth. Competitive advantage used to be about keeping a juicy nugget to yourself. But today knowledge is practically a commodity. Sharing raises your personal brand and connects you to others on a higher level. (Now go post this article.)

5. Cut back fast. To change your career, you need to be financially fit. So forget about status; the neighbors will be more impressed by your reinvention than your country club.

6. Prioritize your passions. The great thing about remaking yourself is that you can jettison all those things that you hate. Plot your passions and skill sets, and see if it gets you to a new place.

See also: 5 career makeover success stories

Sites that spark new thinking:

1. LinkedIn. Click on the groups tab, join as many "groups you may like" as possible in your areas of interest, and check out their discussions.

2. Twitter. Follow the experts who link to info about your professional interests. It's like hiring smart people to curate the news for you -- free.

3. Meetup is about bridging the online/offline divide with groups of people who share interests, then actually get together in real life.

4. YouTube. Type in"How to [fill in the blank]," and you'll find video after video explaining it. The results can be hit or miss, but the hits are fantastic.

This post is a selection from "Pulling off the ultimate career makeover," a feature story in the July 4, 2011 issue of Fortune. To read the article in its entirety, visit your local newsstand or download the Fortune iPad app, which is available on iTunes. Print subscribers to the U.S. edition of Fortune can access the iPad edition FREE. To become a print subscriber, click hereYou may also purchase this article for your Amazon Kindle reader or Kindle app for PC, Mac, iOS, Blackberry and Android devices. Click here to download from Amazon

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