Longer and better health, the fear of outliving retirement savings, and a strong desire to remain active and involved have all contributed to today's retirees viewing retirement very differently than the generations before them. Many retired boomers are using their retirement years to explore new careers that were previously not economically feasible for them.

Even though a second career during retirement will most likely be more about personal fulfillment than money for you, this career should have the same planning and care as your first career. Here are four tips to help you approach your second career with a level head:

Reassess Your Job Skills.

Whether you already have a career in mind or are unsure exactly what type of job you'd like to have, it's important to begin by listing out all the skills you've accumulated over the years from your primary career. This will help you determine what skills can be transferred to the type of job you have in mind or in which types of jobs your skill-set would be most valuable. Online job boards, employment services, and the classified section of your local newspaper are all great sources to research job opportunities. They also usually provide tips on resume revamping and the interview phase of seeking employment. Since you're changing careers, your resume will most likely need to be reworked to highlight which skills are transferable/applicable. If you want one-on-one help with the process, then you might consider hiring a job coach that specializes in second careers or midlife career changes.

Research Growing Industries.

There will always be fields like healthcare that have steady and strong growth rates. However, new industries and specialties looking for workers emerge every day. Therefore, you shouldn't overlook researching what industries are being developed in your area. There are many sites, such as,, and AARP, that offer you information on what organizations are welcoming to the older workforce. The Occupational Outlook Handbook by the Dept. of Labor also offers detailed information about almost any field of work.

Make Industry Connections.

Two excellent ways to make connections in the industry you plan to work is by attending industry-related conferences and joining applicable professional organizations. At meetings, you'll have the opportunity to converse with workers currently in the industry and find out what businesses are hiring, the demand for jobs, businesses that are hospitable to older workers, and so forth. Do keep in mind that your lack of experience in a given field might mean that you'll need to start out as an unpaid intern or volunteer. It's also important to consider elements like lower Social Security benefits and the possibility of earning only a fraction of a profession's average salary during any training period.

Evaluate Furthering Your Education.

Despite any educational and professional achievements already under your belt, your second career might require furthering your course work, obtaining certifications, or pursuing an altogether different degree. Some employers will hire you, even if you don't meet their hiring criteria, given that you agree to further your education. Some might even offer a tuition reimbursement for agreeing to work for them a specified amount of time, but you need to make sure that you're prepared for such a commitment. In the event it's necessary to further your education without any type of tuition assistance, then you'll need to carefully assess your finances to see if this is a realistic expense for you.
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