Alexandra Levit, careers columnist WSJMany Baby Boomers are looking, voluntarily or involuntarily, at career change: Wall Street Journal careers columnist Alexandra Levit has some sage advice to offer.

Several years ago a friend of mine lost his job and was obviously feeling devastated. In his fifties, he clearly lacked confidence in being able to be employed again.

I knew he had a lot of skills and a lot of experience which could be applied effectively in a range of situations, some no doubt beyond the confines of the career path he had pursued for some years.

I tried, unsuccessfully I believe, to get him to do an inventory of his skills.

The good part of the story is that after a fairly short interval he found a job in the field he had worked in for many years.

But that might not have happened and at the back of my mind was the nagging question of whether I could have done more to help him realise what he had to offer, other than what might appear on a standard resume.

The answer came today when I was watching and listening to an interview by my colleague Bill Vick with Wall Street Journal columnist Alexandra Levit who specialises in writing about careers and has authored several books, including New Job, New You: A Guide to Reinventing Yourself in a Bright New Career

Responding to a question from Bill, about Baby Boomers who are looking at career change options, Alexandra said she encourages people to sit down and do a self assessment.  “Boomers, like everyone” she says, “should take the time to do a self-assessment.”

They should write down (or type) what are their values, how do they prefer to work..” And then, she says, they need to make an inventory of their skills. Work out what they have accumulated that is transferable to other areas. The idea is to “build a profile of themselves”, so they can see how they can transition easily to a field they might not have worked in previously.

So the inventory of one’s skills becomes part of an overall self-assessment.

The whole interview is a gem and I recommend it heartily to anyone looking at a career change or who knows someone who is doing so. It could make the difference between making a successful transition and getting stuck in the doldrums, or worse.

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