Many adults dream of an eventual “life of leisure,” but in today’s economy, they find they can’t afford to retire. How do they find a job in their golden years? And what are the best jobs for an older employee?
Many seniors do very well with part-time or seasonal employment. Several companies actively seek out senior workers who do not need benefits — for example, health care because they are already on Medicare — or are only interested in supplementing pension plan payments.
In addition, the senior worker often is thought to have an old-fashioned work ethic, which is very attractive to management. Seniors who have spent years in the workforce often have years of experience that can’t really be learned in schools or owned by young adults just entering the job market.
AARP suggests that semiretirees look for part-time or seasonal positions with national parks, playgrounds and sports arenas, though these jobs often require a love of the outdoors and the ability to walk and remain on one’s feet for extended periods of time. Another position that could cater to a favorite interest is a museum tour guide.
“In Florida, Arizona and Maine, where snowbirds tend to congregate, companies like Home Depot offer some seniors ‘snowbird specials’ so they can work in Florida in the winter and Maine in the summer,” says career coach Michael Coritsidis.
According to Coritsidis, bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble, big-box stores such as Walmart, drugstores such as Walgreens and even insurance companies such as MetLife actively are recruiting people older than 50 for part-time or full-time work. Older adults’ social skills are valued in customer-contact jobs in temporary staffing agencies and mutual fund and health insurance companies.
Workplace and job search expert Lynn Taylor says consulting positions are also good jobs for those returning to work, and so are those that require mentoring and leadership skills. According to Taylor, retirees excel at office diplomacy; they “know how to smooth over tense situations because of their many years of corporate experience.”
Past achievements, though impressive to many, may mean little in a current job interview.
“You may be tempted to think that all you need to do to get a job is to highlight your years of experience. Not so. Make sure you translate those years of experience into skills and accomplishments that are required for the job you are seeking,” advises Michael Olender of AARP.
“The employer may view extensive experience as a drawback, not an asset, for success in the position. Craft your resume to show how you’ve used your skills and the results you’ve produced,” Olender says. Instead of accentuating your prior experience, show your potential employer how your skills could work for the company.
“Many experts suggest limiting your work history to 10 or 15 years. That may mean deleting pages of experience, but you’ll end up with a clearer, more targeted resume,” he says. Share only those qualifications that match the job opening.
Check out local colleges and adult programming (high schools, community groups, etc.) for the specific courses to make you marketable in today’s world. Ask at your local unemployment office for the locations of training sites. Not all unemployment offices require you to be actively collecting unemployment to make use of their services.
Consider retraining yourself to work in a new industry. Look to healthy job sectors, such as education, health care and government.
If you aren’t already, become familiar with email and computers, texting, voice mail systems and other common forms of communication. Learn word processing, desktop publishing and computer-generated design. Get experienced using some of the more popular software programs, and get used to new terminology. Ask the young adults in your life about common expressions.