Job search tips for boomers over 60

Robert Rivers at his home in upstate Ravena.

Robert Rivers at his home in upstate Ravena. Many boomers like Rivers believe they need to work in retirement or never retire. (March 24, 2011) (Credit: AP)

DEAR JOYCE: I turn 65 next month and luckily am still employed at a company that doesn't force retirement at that age. Who can afford to retire in this time of fewer jobs, declining home values and peanut interest rates that starve savings? But just in case I ever do have to look for another job, what should I know about job searches for seniors? -- C.W.

Recent surveys report one in four baby boomers say they'll never saddle up and ride into the sunset. For most, money is at the root of their intent to keep on keeping on in the workplace.

What's more, in a poll taken by the Associated Press and LifeGoesStrong.com, 64 percent of boomers see Social Security as the keystone of their retirement earnings, far outstripping pensions, investments and other income.

Because you're smart enough to think ahead -- just in case you hit the wall -- pick up a new paperback book by Jean Baur, "Eliminated! Now What? Finding Your Way from Job-Loss Crisis to Career Resilience" (JIST Publishing; jist.com).

A humorous and creative senior consultant at a leading outplacement firm, Lee Hecht Harrison, Baur's helped thousands of job seekers reach their targets. She believes you're never too old to land a job and offers a range of true stories and tips to back up her opinion.

DEAR JOYCE: I'm thinking about starting my own business as a solopreneur and could use advice on how to do so without spending a fortune. Suggestions? -- K.A.

While checking with several mini-business people who wear the shoes you'd like to slip into, I heard good things about a new book, "The Entrepreneur Equation: Evaluating the Realities, Risk, and Rewards of Having Your Own Business," by Carol Roth (BenBella Books; benbellabooks.com). Roth's book caught on fast -- within a couple of months it's climbed aboard two major bestsellers' lists.

DEAR JOYCE: If the cost of gas continues to go through the roof, are employers likely to offer gas-offset transportation benefits? -- J.R.C.

A few will, most won't. The last time this question came up in this column was in 2008. A survey that year by staffing company Robert Half found that 59 percent of professionals said their employers were doing zip about offsetting the rising cost of commuting.

So how do most employees deal with crushing expenses for work commutes? Most try to find a job closer to home (good luck on that one!), telecommute from home, carpool with colleagues, take public transportation or walk. One new problem: Public transportation schedules and routes are dwindling in many urban areas.

DEAR JOYCE: With skyrocketing tuitions at four-year colleges becoming unmanageable, what community college two-year programs pay well and offer a fair number of jobs? -- H.S.D.

Here are a dozen good bets, noted with rounded annual median pay: registered nurses, $64,000; licensed practical nurses, $40,000; computer support specialists, $44,000; automotive service technicians, $35,000; insurance sales agents, $46,000; real estate sales agents, $40,000; paralegals, $47,000; dental hygienists, $67,000; legal secretaries, $41,000; diesel engine mechanics, $40,000; radiologic technologists, $53,000.

DEAR JOYCE: What's a good answer to the interview question: "Can you work under pressure?" -- F.B.

Thanks to "Knock 'Em Dead" author Martin Yate for this response: "Don't give a simple yes or no answer." Instead, flesh it out: "Yes, I usually find it stimulating. However, I believe in planning and proper management of my time to reduce panic deadlines within my area of responsibility."

DEAR JOYCE: I intend to hang it up in six years and consult. But I want to be paid fairly. Blueprint? -- J.A.M.

Expert consultant and coach Alan Weiss has written more books on solo consulting than anyone in history. You'll want to read his new guide, "The Consulting Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Create and Expand a Seven-Figure Consulting Practice (Wiley; paperback).

(E-mail career questions for possible use in this column to Joyce Lain Kennedy at jlk@sunfeatures.com; use "Reader Question" for subject line. Or mail her at Box 368, Cardiff, CA 92007.)

(C) 2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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