If you’re over 40 (or 50, like me), you may think a new book titled Me 2.0 and written by 20-something Dan Schawbel is not for you. Think again. Especially if you’re a baby boomer, over 50 and heading into the home stretch of what you hope will be a creative retirement filled with new possibilities.

Dan is young but he’s super savvy about a phenomenon called personal branding. The phrase was first used over a decade ago by management guru Tom Peters. If those words set your teeth on edge, bear with me for a moment.

Personal branding these days refers in large part to your digital footprint. How are you showing up on Google? How are you marketing yourself? How are you making yourself stand out online? What if… you’re out of work, or you’re looking for the next new thing, and you want to get noticed and make yourself stand out from the millions of others who are in the same boat?

Simple. In addition to face-to-face networking, you use every online tactic you can think of, including blogging, Twittering, Facebook, LinkedIn and Slideshare, to create a trail of delicious content for yourself. Dan’s terrific new book is filled with specific steps and advice on how to do this. He’s packaged them in digestible chapters about Discovering, Creating, Communicating and Maintaining Your Brand.

Fortune’s April 13, 2009 cover story, How to Find a Job, includes some of the same tactics, all designed to help you surface and get noticed in today’s hidden job market. 90% of vacant positions are not being advertised, according to executive search guru and author David Perry, who’s quoted in the article.  Also read How I Got the Job in MarketingProfs.

Listen up, folks. Everyone is saying the same thing. “Online” is no longer an extra. It’s essential to your professional success, whether you’re happily employed (and merely promoting yourself to the higher-ups). Or out of work and looking for a new job.

My advice: read Dan’s book.

Useful Link

Q & A with Dan Schawbel by 40-something author David Meerman Scott