If You’re a Senior Looking for Part-Time Work in Retirement, Consider These Five Tips to Jump-Start Your Search
The notion of retirees seeking part-time work is hardly front-page news. Some recent studies have suggested that almost half of all those soon-to-be retired say they plan to work part-time – to earn extra money, to stay active, or simply for the social interaction of the workplace. But good intentions are one thing, and reality is another. The fact is, many retirees don’t really know how to go about finding, applying for, and landing part-time work that’s meaningful and rewarding.
With that in mind, we offer this recent NextAvenue article on the topic, written by retirement coach, speaker and author Nancy Collamer. Here the author gets down to the brass tacks of the job search with five tips that address not only the “how” questions but also the “why” question – as in, “Why do you really want to work part-time?” We think it’s a helpful article offering good food for thought to the legion of retirees clamoring for a spot in the part-time workplace.
“How Do I Get Started Looking for Work?”
A reader wrote in to Collamer and expressed an increasingly common sentiment: “I don’t know where to look for meaningful part-time work. Next to that is how to reach out. To whom and how? How to get started on this?”
The pace of early retirement during the pandemic was dramatic and unexpected, to the tune of 2.6 million more people than projected. Still, it’s clear that not everyone is done with work altogether. And those returning to the workforce are looking for arrangements that fit their lifestyle better. Collamer writes, “As of March 2022, 3.2 percent of workers who were retired a year earlier are employed again, according to an Indeed.com analysis of Labor Department data. And, with inflation rising and stocks losing steam, it’s likely that more retirees will want to — or need to — return to work, at least part-time.”
Collamer lists the following valuable steps for those hoping to return to work part-time.
Step #1: Be Clear About Why You Want to Work in Retirement
There’s no wrong answer to the “why” question, but you really should be clear with yourself about what your hope is in returning to work. Collamer explains, “Whether your primary goal is to earn income or find meaningful work, defining your ‘must-haves,’ ‘nice to haves,’ and ‘deal breakers’ will guide your decisions going forward.”
She also urges retirees to dig deep and think about how, why, and when they want to work. “Ask yourself how much you want or need to earn,” she writes. “Think about whether you need a job that challenges you creatively or intellectually. Consider what type of work schedule will best suit you. Do you want to try to turn a hobby into a source of income? Perhaps you would prefer to continue in your old line of work, but on a more flexible basis, perhaps as a trainer, coach or consultant.”
Step #2: Start With Opportunities in Your Target Industries
“If it’s been a while since you last looked for work,” Collamer writes, “you’ll be pleased to discover that the options for high-quality flexible, virtual and project work have increased dramatically in recent years.” She lists a few places to search for possible leads.
- Industry associations can “sponsor webinars, newsletters, job boards and conferences that are invaluable for both newcomers and industry veterans,” as well as keep you updated on areas of niche growth in your chosen field. Industry associations in your local area should show up on a quick Google search.
- Job boards for flexible or gig work can be a great resource to connect with potential clients in temporary or longer-term projects. Collamer recommends sites like FlexJobs.com, Freelancer.com, or SideHusl.com.
- Temp agencies are another great asset. “These days, many companies rely upon temporary agencies to fill professional level jobs,” Collamer writes. “To find a firm in your target industry, ask for referrals from colleagues, or do a Google search using terms like, ‘interim executive,’ ‘staffing agency,’ or ‘professional services firm.’”
Step #3: Address the Gaps in Your Background
As the saying goes, it’s never too late to learn something new. Collamer writes, “If you’re moving into a new field or role, consider taking a course, workshop or online certification program to improve the likelihood of quickly landing a new gig.”
Platforms like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and EdX all have free—or close to free—classes in a variety of fields, and other online courses can be found through community colleges and industry groups. Many community colleges have special programs for seniors that are either tuition-free or offered at a discounted cost.
Step #4: Make Sure You’re Up to Date on LinkedIn
It used to be that an up-to-date resume was all you needed, but nowadays a refreshed LinkedIn profile is every bit as important.
We’ve quoted Collamer’s suggestions below verbatim, because we think they’re perfect:
A few key suggestions:
- Replace your old headline with one that summarizes the role you want to do next because your headline is the first thing potential connections or employers see. For example, “Financial analyst in the retail industry seeking consulting and freelance work” or “I help environmental non-profits attract more donations and volunteers. Open to consulting or board opportunities.”
- Update the other sections of your LinkedIn profile (About, Experience, etc.) to include training, volunteer or consulting experience related to your new job target.
- If you’re looking for virtual work, highlight keywords that demonstrate your mastery of the technology and skills needed to work remotely.
- Once you have updated your LinkedIn profile, revise your resume to be in line with your new goals as well.
Step #5: Tell Your Network You’re Available
“Networking is the best way to land meaningful work in retirement, just as it was when you were looking for a ‘real’ job,” Collamer writes. “After telling your current employer of your plan to retire, let your colleagues and friends know you are interested in part-time work. To make it easy for people to help, be clear about the type of work and hours you want.”
Some further networking tips can be found in this 2017 NextAvenue article, also by Nancy Collamer.
Collamer ends her article this way: “Don’t forget to end every networking conversation by asking who else you should speak with. You never know who might end up being the pivotal link to your next consulting, temp, board or part-time role.”
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(originally reported at www.nextavenue.org)