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January 23, 2013

Career coach: 3 tips for baby boomers wanting change

I often hear from baby boomers who have been laid off or are thinking about changing careers or doing something different with their work lives. 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 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 them navigate into a new career field.

1. Figure out what type of work you may be interested in

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. After users finish identifying work interests, they can identify their transferable skills and see enhanced job match results.

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 Web site, you are able to see other career fields that might give you ideas of alternative careers to consider (which have some similar characteristics to your previous job). It also enables you to narrow your search based on certain work-related characteristics and even list locations by zip code.

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