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Career Coach: tips for baby boomers who want a change

Baby boomers who have been laid off or are thinking about changing careers or doing something different with their work lives, may have no idea where to begin. Some feel, given their age, there may not be hope for them in today’s marketplace. That would be a grim outlook for the 78 million boomers.

But rest assured, there is hope – and there are many resources – for older workers. This is especially good news, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau and others estimate more than 80 percent of baby boomers (who will, on average, live to be 83) plan to keep working after retirement to remain active.

For baby boomers needing or wanting to make a career change, there is some specialized advice and services to help navigate into a new career field.

Figure out your interests

Baby boomers may not want to do the same type of work after age 50 that they did when they were younger. More than 50 percent of working retirees say they want to work in a new profession. The National Business Services Alliance has a job match survey that compares a person’s work interests and personal characteristics to hundreds of job profiles, providing them with a list of best-fit jobs.

The Labor Department has an online tool to help people consider career options related to their original career. By entering your current or previous job at the MySkills MyFuture website, you are able to see other career fields that might give you ideas of alternative careers to consider.

Keep your skills current

AARP offers WorkSearch, an online skills assessment system for job seekers. It helps identify the types of jobs you may be best suited for based on your work interests, personality characteristics, and the work/life skills you already have. The WorkSearch system also provides skills validation tests based on assessment results and free online skills courses to help increase qualifications. Another valuable site from the Labor Department is Career OneStop, which provides information on training programs.

Use websites to help

Some boomers may not have had to update their resumes or write a cover letter in 30 years so they might need help with this. They may not have learned how to network using social media. To do all this, they should refer to websites designed specifically to assist boomers.

∎ has a section titled “careers at 50+”

∎ brings together employers with older job seekers.

∎ offers information to help seniors with their career plans

jobseekers.html has resources for \older workers looking for new jobs and career-change strategies.

∎ lists jobs and other ways of earning money.

∎ is a job site designed to help baby boomers and older workers find employment. Job seekers can search job listings, find a collection of career articles and resources, and listings of local job fairs across the country.

∎ is a career resource site for older job seekers that has lots of age-related career content, from resume writing to job search strategies. The site also has a career and education section.

∎ has information for searching for a job and starting your own business, among other resources for seniors.

∎ is a site that offers articles and resources to help a person find a new career.

As many companies know, baby boomers and seniors have much to offer the workforce, whether as full-time employees, part-timers, consultants or in other creative work arrangements. Some statistics have shown that more than 50 percent of U.S. companies are willing to negotiate special arrangements for older workers. If you are one of these older workers, take advantage of the career resources out there, many of which are free, to get yourself set up for your next career move.

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