Finding meaningful work in your second chapter: Post-retirement job resources
Retirees seek out post-retirement employment for a number of reasons. It could be because they need to supplement social security, to meet new people or to have something to do. We as humans are living longer and longer now — so spending age 65 to 85 watching TV all day will start to get boring.
No matter the reason, finding a job as a retiree will be a little different than your previous job hunting experiences. There are several factors to consider, such as marketing your unique skill set, battling ageism and brushing up on the job interviewing process. On the upside, you have a lifetime of experience to leverage and the opportunity to explore new paths!
Why do people seek post-retirement jobs?
For those in good financial shape, a regular job can provide mental stimulation, entertainment, and meaning. Retiring can bring about major life changes and a job can make that transition easier. Some aren’t as lucky to be able to retire financially sound. In that case, post-retirement work can help you support yourself and dependents.
There are gigs to suit any needs and lifestyle no matter your reason for seeking employment. You might find that some are easier to get than others, for example, temporary or seasonal jobs but even within that, you should be able to find something that works for you. Read on to see if any of these apply to you.
To Earn Additional Income
You might have heard this from financial advisors all the time: Social security is, well, not as secure as it used to be. According to Money Magazine, research has shown social security benefitting the wealthiest retirees. For those of you without silver spoons in your mouth, a supplement to social security and retirement pay may be necessary.
Even a part-time job can help with bills here and there, especially healthcare! Some retirees think that Medicare will cover everything they need. In reality, it only covers a portion of their expenses. Health problems are likely to happen more frequently in old age which means more expensive healthcare bills. A post-retirement job can offer more value than cash — read one to find out.
To Fill Time
Most individuals spend 40 hours or more of their weeks working. We get used to work being central to our schedule — anything else we want to do has to be done around it. It’s no surprise that it can be a struggle to find something to fill your days post-retirement. We’re so used to working!
Post-retirement work can give retirees the mental stimulation they need. Staying home and resting all day makes you feel like your brain is turning to mush. Getting into some sort of routine of going out and working (even just part time!) keeps your mind busy. Feeling purposeless? Scroll down to find out how post-retirement work can help that.
To Find Meaning
Whether that comes in the form of finding something to do or helping others, post-retirement work can help you steer clear of ennui. Meaning can come in various forms, like a passion project or a fun job. Those that find meaning in being a part of an entity working towards a common goal might like working in a small store or business. You’re more likely to see your personal impact.
Those that are more socially-minded might find themselves wanting to delve into volunteer work. Feeling like you’re improving someone else’s life, whether that be working at an animal shelter or on a political campaign, can be a rewarding experience. Supporting dependents with new income is also rewarding — more about that below.
To Support Dependents
You might have a spouse or relative that needs financial support beyond what social security and Medicare are able to offer. In this case, extra income can go a long way or at least help alleviate your struggles a bit. You won’t have to worry about living till the next social security check comes and have money to pay for things right away.
If your dependent isn’t old enough to receive benefits, you’ll need the extra income to support them even more. Younger individuals might be able to access Medicare depending on their income, but benefits from the government like social security are much harder for them to come by. You know what else is harder to come by in old age? Friends.
Some find fewer opportunities for socializing when they don’t have a job to go to regularly. You can’t make new friends if you’re always sitting alone at home! Going to a job every day gives you a chance to meet new people all the time (especially if you work with clients) and form lasting friendships.
In addition, friendships take time to form. Seeing the same person daily gives you both an opportunity to get to know each other and learn what makes you tick. If you’re working in an environment with other seniors, chances are they’ll be looking to meet new friends too! Not only can a new job connect you with new people, it can give you new experiences.
To Try Something New
Many people’s career choices were motivated by money. They didn’t have an opportunity to try a variety of jobs. If your savings and social security benefits are enough to keep you afloat, giving one of your dream jobs a go could be fun. It’s never too late, right? Age is just a number.
Take a job playing piano at a restaurant once a week or be an extra on a movie set. These aren’t the most lucrative jobs but they’d be entertaining to try. Your Golden Years are supposed to be fun, hence the name “Golden.” Being able to do whatever you want is a major perk to retirement! There’s also perks to some jobs — find out what below.
To Have Access to Insurance and Discounts
Full-time jobs often come with health, dental, vision and life insurance as well as sweet employee discounts. It’s helpful to have your teeth cleanings covered or get a markdown on your dry cleaning. All of these are, unfortunately, more expensive and harder to come by without employment. Post-retirement, even at a part time level, can really help out.
If you don’t want to do the 40-hour work week again, there are also some part-time jobs that offer benefits. Places like Costco and Starbucks don’t require full-time employment to be eligible for company perks. Usually, large retail companies offer part-time employee benefits, but there are some office jobs like JP Morgan Chase that offer this as well.
Job Searching Tips
The job hunt becomes a little different when entering into your second chapter. There are several factors to consider. For instance, getting used to the application and interviewing processes again, finding a gig that works with your new lifestyle and overcoming age discrimination. Yes, it is the 21st century and hiring managers should be well past that, but ageism still exists.
There are some strategies you can take, however, that’ll make the job search easier. Apply for jobs that tend to hire seniors like seasonal and temporary jobs, brush up on your interviewing skills and/or employ the help of an outside source like a staffing agency or a government-funded work program.
Focus on Industries Likely to Hire Senior Workers
There are industries more likely to hire seniors. With the unemployment rate dwindling, companies are tapping the senior workforce for seasonal and temporary jobs. A report in Forbes says this is because companies find this sector extremely reliable and able to rehire them year after year. Retailers are the most likely to need seasonal and temporary workers to work through holiday seasons.
UPS needs more people on the road delivering gifts. Department stores need extra cashiers and gift wrappers. You can even find work-at-home gigs. Companies like JP Penney and William & Sonoma have hired remote customer service reps to answer client questions via phone, email, and social media.
Figure Out How to Market Yourself
To snag these gigs, you’ll need to market yourself. How do you do that? Post-retirement workers have different and unique skills compared to their younger counterparts. They might have more job experience, specialized knowledge, and better communication skills. Hiring managers might not know this, especially if they’re used to younger candidates.
Let hiring managers know what sets you apart. You can express this on your Linkedin page and cover letter. Explain why your storied background will make you successful in the job you’re applying for. You might also advertise that you’re looking for a post-retirement job. Knowing you’re in it for the long run is appealing to employers. Learn how to communicate that in your interview — we’ll explain that next.
Brush Up on Job Interviewing
Interviews can be the worst — it’s awkward to have a forced conversation and talk about yourself. Honestly they’re tough for anyone, but if you haven’t done an interview in a while, it’s a good idea to get back in the swing of things. There are lots of resources online that list typical job interviewing questions. Review these and figure out how you might answer them.
You can also practice interviewing with a relative, spouse or friend. Speaking your thoughts out loud is different from writing them down or analyzing them in your head. Getting feedback on your performance always helps — there might be things you’re doing wrong that you don’t realize. While you’re mastering the interview, you can get in some “schmoozing.”
Master the Art of Schmoozing
Networking is key to finding a new gig! People like to hire a familiar face over a stranger in any industry. It makes sense — if you already know a qualified candidate, why wade through hundreds of resumes just to find another? Schmoozing (aka networking) just requires meeting people and being friendly.
You can go to networking events specifically for seniors or let everyone you meet know that you’re looking for a post-retirement job. A gig that fits the post-retirement lifestyle might be challenging to find, so any connections you do have will be an asset to your job hunt. Visiting a professional in the profession of getting people jobs will help too.
Visit a Staffing Agency or an American Job Center
It’s OK to ask for help sometimes! These types of companies are in the business of connecting people to jobs. A job counselor can offer job hunting tips or ideas for employment opportunities that you haven’t thought of yet. They can also speed up the hiring process considerably. Surprised? C’mon they’re professionals at this!
A staffing agency has ongoing relationships with various offices, so they can fill jobs as soon as there’s an opening. Sometimes these gigs might only be for “temps” (workers that remain in a position just for a certain time period) so clarify this if you seek long-term work. This’ll help you spend more time on yourself and family.
Don’t Spend All of Your Time Job Searching
Looking for a job is a full-time job in itself. Writing cover letters, filling out applications and editing your resume over and over again is a tedious process that can easily burn you out. You need to leave room for chores and joys in life because retirement doesn’t need to be stressful.
Plan out a job search schedule that works for you. This might consist of dedicating a few hours every day to scouring job boards, networking and brushing up your resume and LinkedIn page. After this time is up, stop what you’re doing and move onto something else. You don’t want to stress yourself out.
Find a Job That Won’t Stress You Out
You’ve probably dealt with enough work-induced anxiety in your career that doesn’t need to be carried over in your Golden Years. Sure, there are stresses to all jobs but some more than others. Get a low-key gig that doesn’t make you wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, aka, something very low stress.
Taking a cashier job at a small fabric store or working as a receptionist at a mellow office might be fulfilling enough. To judge the pace of a work environment, you can inquire as to what the company culture is like during your interview process. Next we’ll talk about jobs you can consider post-retirement.
Jobs to Consider Post-Retirement
Getting started looking for a new job can be very overwhelming. What should you even look for? What gig do you qualify for? What will you enjoy? There are so many options to consider and explore — more that you probably expect! Those that are more adventurous might get back into a busy office again.
Or maybe even move to a new country through the Peace Corps. There are also low-key choices if you’re opting for a more quiet life. There are work-from-home options, child care positions, or the opportunity to set your own schedule by working for a rideshare company. Scroll down to find your dream job!
PRO: This isn’t just for recent college grads! Peace Corps is a perfect opportunity for seniors that are adventurous, socially-conscious or didn’t get to “see the world” in their younger years. Travel and work closely with a new community on a fixed income. Go to a country you’ve never been before or one that you love and want to spend more time in.
CON: Peace Corps isn’t good for people with physical limitations or serious illnesses. Your service requires being able to travel long distances, as some locations are very remote. Some of the work might require some physical labor as well. Couples can serve together but if your partner doesn’t want to go, you’ll be separated.
PRO: Those with advanced degrees and decades of work experience can put that knowledge to use working as a teacher or college instructor. You can make a good salary and hopefully find rewarding experiences teaching youth. This is especially good for folks that love public speaking and research.
CON: You’ll need teaching credentials for jobs in public schools and at some private schools. This can take some time and money to acquire. You might also require some clout to snag a college teaching job, as they are highly competitive. This means having published research or being well-known in your field. If you got that, sign up!
Volunteering at Your Local Animal Shelter
PRO: There are lots of ways to help! Humane Societies and other animal shelters always have a need for volunteers to care for animals and take on administrative duties. There’s an influx of animals to shelters constantly (especially during kitten season!) and not enough people to help. Plus you get to see a bunch of cute animals!
CON: Many that work in animal care suffer from “compassion fatigue” or burnout from cumulative exposure to traumatic events. This results in indifference or being unable to continue working in this field. You could be at risk for these stresses depending on the number of hours you dedicate and the type of volunteering you do.
PRO: These gigs are great for people that love the busy atmosphere of an office job but don’t want the responsibility of an executive role. Not down for a grueling commute? Plenty of companies will hire virtual assistants. There are also virtual assistant agencies that work for multiple businesses. You’ll need adequate computer skills to take that on, however.
CON: There might be fewer opportunities for employment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupations such as executive secretaries and administrative assistants are projected to decline 17 percent from 2016 to 2026. The Bureau thinks this is because many offices have started to assign one administrative assistant to support multiple employees rather than just one.
Personal Care Aide
PRO: Unlike administrative assistants, the demand for this profession is going up due to our increasing U.S. senior population. Healthcare is getting better so we’re living longer! In addition, this job can be rewarding if you’re looking to make a difference in someone’s life. Seniors, or even younger people, with physical or mental impairments, can really benefit from help with daily tasks.
CON: Like volunteering at an animal shelter, a career as a personal aid also can cause compassion fatigue and burnout. If you’re assisting a senior, their struggles can hit close to home. It’s easy to imagine your good health taking a turn and needing your own personal aid someday. It might be boring being a quiet house all day.
PRO: Rideshare companies like Uber or Lyft are easier to get started with, unlike becoming a taxi driver. There are minimal requirements, like having a valid driver’s license, a smartphone and a vehicle 10 years old or newer. Many universities also have driving jobs, such as shuttle drivers, but you can’t make your own hours.
CON: Being constantly on the road puts you at risk for more car crashes. You might have also heard the rideshare horror stories in the news. Exercising caution around strangers is essential for this type of work. Maybe knowing some self-defense moves too? Scroll down for a safer work option.
Child Care Provider
PRO: This is an especially delightful job if you love kids but lack grandchildren. Caring for children and teaching them life skills can be rewarding. Just seeing the light bulb go off when they understand a new lesson… Priceless! Plus, kids are super cute — well, when they’re behaving that is…
CON: The pay is often low for these gigs — $22,290 annually according to US News. If you’re looking to pay high health care bills or support a dependent, this might not cut it even with social security. Also, if you have physical limitations holding you back, better pass on this one! If you’re still determined to work with kids, there’s resources to find this job and more below.
Resources for Finding Post-Retirement Work
The good news is you’re not in this alone! There’s plenty of resources to help people at all stages of their careers — including seniors — to attain job training, go to school, search for jobs, and learn interviewing skills. It’s totally OK to seek help during your job search. Finding a post-retirement job can be more difficult than it appears.
An outside source can make all the difference. There are both private and government-sponsored programs to help retirees find post-retirement work. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has many resources, as well as the Small Business Administration and online job boards targeted at seniors, remote workers, and seasonal hires.
AARP Foundation “Senior Community Service Employment Program”
This great program is designed for getting vulnerable seniors prepared for the workforce. Those 55 or older making $15,175 or less annually qualify to participate. This Department of Labor funded program puts individuals through 2-week training sessions. Seniors are taught computer-based skills and information on modern-day job application processes.
For example, hiring managers typically want a PDF resume rather than a paper version, or maybe you need info on the newest interview questions. The knowledge they gather helps them become stronger candidates for jobs post-retirement. What if you don’t qualify but still need help? Don’t fear, we’ll go over some online resources next!
Job Search Websites for Seniors
There are a plethora of online resources for job-searching retirees. It’s helpful to visit these over sites like Indeed or Monster because they’re specifically made for folks like you that are looking for a post-retirement gig. They’ll display gigs that typically hire seniors, like temporary and seasonal jobs and maybe even some volunteer work.
For example, Workforce50.com is a job board resource for employers to post gigs meant for older workers. It’s helpful to have a site catered to your needs. You can search by state or keyword and sign up for job alerts. RetireeWorkforce.com is a similar site that lets you search by full- or part-time, hourly jobs and warehouse jobs. If you’re an entrepreneur type, visiting the Small Business Administration might be more helpful. More about that below.
Small Business Administration
Started in 1953, this US government agency provides support to small businesses and entrepreneurs. If you’re looking to go into business yourself, visit your local Small Business Administration (SBA) center for information, one-on-one counseling, and training for free. They have nationwide locations with libraries, special services for minorities and access to market databases.
SBA also provides access to capital for getting your small business off the ground. An SBA counselor can tell you about options from microlending to equity investment capital. But if you’re just looking for your next gig instead of starting a whole new business, this isn’t the best resource for you. CareerOneStop might be better!
Here’s another wonderfully great government-sponsored resource. The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration is involved with CareerOneStop which helps people at all stages of their careers with understanding the workforce. CareerOneStop provides job seekers with information on interviewing, tools for job searching and suggestions for job planning.
If you’re not sure what path to take, there are fun features like self-assessments to gauge your interests and skill set and ultimately inform your job search. Rather have some face-to-face help? Visit CareerOneStop’s American Job Centers to meet with a counselor. There are tools for finding the nearest one on their website.
Senior Community Service Employment Program
This is especially geared towards those that are over 55 and have poor employment prospects. A Department of Labor-sponsored program, Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) offers training and part-time job placements in community service type places. Think daycare centers, schools, hospitals, and libraries. This is perfect for those that crave that warm fuzzy feeling you get when helping others.
Participants don’t work too much. They work about 20 hours a week and are paid the highest of federal, state or local minimum wage. SCSEP clients have access to training services and have access to American Job Centers. Visit their website to find a nearby program or call them at 1-877-US2-JOBS.
Job Boards for Remote Work
Seniors that can’t commute to an office but have savvy computer skills might opt for work-from-home type employment. Upwork posts a lot of remote jobs, but you find some on bigger job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor searching by the keyword “remote.” Be wary of the very common “work-from-home” scams.
Make sure the company you’re hired by is a legit place of business — a quick Google search can tell you that. Some common remote work jobs are virtual assistants, customer service reps, transcriptionists, online tutors and proofreaders. For more ideas, the post-retirement work website RetiredBrains.com has a ton under their “Work From Home” tab.
No Worker Left Behind and Other State Programs
Anyone from the Great Lake State? Michigan residents can apply for the No Worker Left Behind Program, which helps workers acquire the skills necessary for a 21st-century workforce. Participants get two years of free tuition at any Michigan community college, university or state-approved training programs and a skills assessment by Michigan Works! Agencies.
Other states have their own jobs programs as well. California, for example, offers some resources via its Employment Development Department. It’s helpful to check what your particular state offers. The job situation in every state is different. There might be higher rates of unemployment in some states or a plethora of opportunity in another.