Many people are working well beyond the traditional retirement age, partly out of necessity and partly because they still want to contribute and are not ready to retire.
Whether you’ve been laid off, you’re retired and looking for something to do or need a little supplemental income, here are some tips on how to find a job when you are older.
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Almost half of boomers have saved less than $10,000 for retirement. So, the financial necessity to stay employed is a real one, and believe it or not, working past retirement is a great opportunity. No matter where you find yourself, it is best to start by gauging your financial situation.
How long can you sustain your current lifestyle? How much do you need going forward? The reality is that you will probably not be hired at the rich salary you had been making. You may want to rethink your retirement age and also consider when to collect social security.
This may be just the impetus you need to consider the kind of work you want to do at this stage in life. Maybe moving to a whole new field will give you more personal satisfaction. Remember Robert De Niro in the movie The Intern. Losing your job may well be finding your life.
Choose Your Path
If you prefer to stay in the field you know, then you may consider consulting. If you know the industry well, you may identify products or services that solve key issues in that industry.
You will need some lag time to get up and running, so make sure you consider how long you can last without a paycheck and benefits. You may also take a part time job while building your business on the side.
Something important you will need is a business plan. SCORE, a national non-profit organization affiliated with US Small Business Administration, advices small businesses on these issues. You may have a similar agency in your country.
Consider starting a blog or podcast. It’s a great way to test the waters and get a feel for what people want. These become important marketing tools for your business and lead to business creation. It can also help if you seek employment.
College classes on entrepreneurship are also a good option.
Taking a Job
If you choose to become employed, think about finding jobs at smaller organizations, including nonprofits, start-ups, small trade associations and niche educational programs. Typically, these employers operate with spare staff and depend on the experience and expertise that comes with age.
A career coach can help you if you want to change your field of work. And you must have a complete LinkedIn page as this is the new resume.
Half of all jobs come through a network. You may be out of practice after years of security on the job, so now you need to find groups where you can interact. For example, my Rotary service not only fulfills a need to give back but also puts me in contact with other business professionals.
You might also consider volunteering for a board position. All of these things set you up for success.
Unfortunately, ageism is a fact of life in society. If you are a job seeker over 60, what can you do to combat it? Make ageism work in your favor.
Some employers believe older people only want to work for a short time, compared with younger people. When researchers look at that question, it is actually the opposite.
Older workers tend to be more loyal and stick around longer than the younger worker. The younger worker is moving around to acquire new skills. We see that with the Millennials.
Another obstacle is the perception that older workers are less productive and energetic. But we know that they are as productive as any other age group. The variations are between workers, not age groups. To counteract that stereotype, an older worker who is physically fit can exude a get-up-and-go attitude.
Some employers also believe older job applicants expect high salaries or are overqualified. Most people over 60 are happy and willing to go back to a position they had a few years ago, if it gets them back doing work they’re qualified to do and want to do. But again, you have to set your expectations.
A lack of technology savvy is also a misperception. That is why engaging on social media, having a blog and tweeting is important. Consider this post from a LinkedIn colleague:
“I hired a person over 60. Should not be a big deal, but it was. ‘He will never work hard enough,’ ‘He will not fit into our culture,’ ‘He will be taking a lot of sick days,’ ‘He is overqualified,’ etc.
Nobody said he was too old. They were all ‘politically correct.’ He was one of the best hires I ever made. We all learned from him. He made a huge difference for the company.”
How about you? Have you been downsized but still desire employment? What is your story? Did you retire and pursue a passion into a business? Please share with the community.
Anthony Cirillo is president of The Aging Experience. He helps organizations craft experiences and seize opportunities the mature marketplace. He helps family caregivers thrive and individuals make educated aging decisions. He is a consultant and professional speaker.