Your Office Coach | With a radical career change, networking will be your most valuable tool.

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Q: Like many baby boomers, I plan to continue working after I retire. However, I would like to do something completely different. For example, I recently met a retired executive who found a job working for a boat dealership. He delivers new boats to their owners and demonstrates all the features.

Although starting over will undoubtedly be difficult, I am very energetic and have a lot of useful experience. I’m also prepared to take a significant pay cut. My problem is that I don’t know how to convey all this in a job application.

How can I convince potential employers that I would be an asset to their business?

A: With compensation being less important, you are now in the enviable position of doing work for fun. Therefore, the first step is to determine what type of work you find appealing. Start by making a list of all your interests and hobbies and then brainstorm related employment possibilities.

Next, develop a plan for learning about jobs in your desired field. For example, your boat delivery buddy might have done research by attending boat shows, visiting dealerships or chatting with employees at a marina. Eventually, the people you meet along the way will become part of your job search network.

With a radical career change, networking will be your most valuable tool. Randomly submitting applications won’t be helpful because your background has no apparent connection to the jobs you want. On the other hand, a personal conversation will allow you to convey your character, motivation and sincere desire to learn.

Since your ultimate goal is to get hired, be prepared to provide a concise career summary, highlighting any relevant skills and experience. If it’s been awhile since you looked for work, take time to refresh your interviewing skills. And since this is part of your retirement, please remember to relax and enjoy the process.

Submit questions to Marie G. McIntyre at yourofficecoach.com.