If you’ve retired and think it might make sense to start working again, it’s time to conduct a retirement job search. Returning to your old place of employment as a part-time or contract worker may be an option, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t explore other opportunities.
Take a few seconds to think about what you're looking for this time – part time or full time, something in your previous field or in another area that interests you. Realize that you're likely to make less than your best salary, but you probably now have other sources of income, such as Social Security and retirement savings. On the other hand, you've already built your career. This job can be different.
You may find that job hunting has changed considerably since the last time you did it, especially if you held your last position for some years. While newspapers still run some help-wanted ads, searching happens much more online and that's also the way to research any employers that interest you. You can always apply directly to companies where you'd like to work (click on "career" or similar listings from their home page) and of course there are large national job-hunting sites.
It also makes sense to try a growing group of employment agencies that cater to seniors – and to reshape how you conduct your search, including finding ways to deal with stereotypes about seniors you may encounter as you look.
You may want to investigate the following staffing agencies that cater to baby boomers and other retirees:
SeniorJobBank.org is a site that lists job opportunities for boomers and seniors. You can search for opportunities by keyword and location.
Workforce50.com is a career site dedicated to seniors, boomers and seasoned workers. It is loaded with useful resources, and the quick search tools allow you to peruse jobs by state, category or type.
CoolWorks.com advertises hospitality job opportunities in interesting places. Although it is not exclusively for seniors, it’s worth a shot if you desire a unique employment experience.
RetiredBrains is a job site that features temporary and full-time employment opportunities for retirees.
Job hunting as a senior is different than in earlier years. You still have to sell your skills, but you're looking more of a job you will enjoy now than one with big career possibilities. You may want more flexibility than in the past. You'll probably also have to focus harder on presenting yourself as someone with a high energy level and initiative – qualities younger interviewers may not associate with an older job candidate. Take these steps to make your job search more effective.
1. Get acclimated to online job boards.
Some job boards are simple to navigate while others are more complex. Take a few minutes to visit the help page of each new job site and peruse the tutorial to discover the best way to navigate it. It'll save time and keep you from making any unnecessary (possibly visible) mistakes when you file an application. You can generally register to have listings in selected categories sent to your email inbox – a big time-saver that also lets you respond quickly to opportunities. Speed is crucial, since online networks mean that hundreds of resumes may respond to an opening within an hour or two.
2. Reconstruct your resume.
It’s best to solicit the assistance of a professional resume writer who has a track record of creating resumes that help job seekers land interviews. Many interviews are now scanned by computer and it's important to be sure yours has the right keywords. If possible, find a writer who has experience working with seniors to increase the odds that the finished product will be worth the investment.
3. Polish your interview skills.
You never know what to expect before an interview, but you can spend some time preparing yourself. Visit Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com to retrieve a comprehensive list of sample interview questions. Also, feel free to reach out to seasoned human resources professionals in your circle to help you prepare for the interview. They may even be willing to do a mock interview with you and critique your skills. It's illegal for interviewers to ask directly about age, but – unless you really do still look 45 – you may want to ask about smart ways to confront the "elephant in the room" with energy and humor. Besides, the online application probably required listing what year you graduated from college....
4. Give the field a test drive.
If you’re not completely sure that you want to go into a particular area, inquire about becoming a volunteer. You'll get a chance to see how good a fit it is for you and pick up experience that can help you find a paid position in the field.
5. Network with other seniors.
Use LinkedIn to locate other seniors in your area who may know about job opportunities. Also, attend local job fairs and be on the lookout for flexible or part-time opportunities.
When you’re in a retirement job, it’s not about career. It’s about doing something interesting and earning some extra money. So, ditch the boring desk jobs, unless that’s what suits your fancy, and explore more entertaining opportunities.