Working After Retirement: How to Apply for a Position and Get The Job
Jonas Salk, a famous American medical researcher said, “The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” As somebody who continued his life’s work until almost the time of his death, he was a good authority on the subject.
After a successful career during which they made a good income, good friends, and a measurable impact in their field, some people find it hard to retire and suddenly have little to do and few people with whom to do it. Instead of a life of leisure and plenty, retirement can feel like a life with too much time on its hands. Work provides human beings with a built-in social circle, a sense of purpose, and of course a paycheck, so it’s no wonder that after retiring, 40% of American workers decide to “un-retire” and go back to work in one way or another.
Are you ready for your “work well done” to give you the “opportunity to do more”? If so, the fact that un-retirement is on the rise means that hope is on the horizon. Whether you’re interested in picking up where you left off in your full-time field, starting something completely new, or pursuing a part-time passion project, you can be successful if you prepare and pitch yourself in the following ways:
Brush Up Your Skills and Knowledge
After deciding what field you want to enter (or re-enter), do your research. Read current industry blogs and articles, attend industry networking events, and familiarize yourself with the latest technology in that field. Kate Ashford, Monster.com contributor, recommends taking a local class or an online course to fill in any gaps or shore up any weaknesses relating to “industry trends or technological shifts” in the workplace. Don’t forget to highlight any classes or certifications you complete on your resume, to show your willingness and ability to stay abreast of the industry and on top of your game.
Build the Right Resume
Because you don’t necessarily want your resume to make your age apparent, format it in a way that highlights your strengths and experience and doesn’t focus on the dates of your accomplishments. For example, you should definitely include a section that highlights your education, but place that at the end of the resume; after all, your experience was most likely much more recent than your schooling — and it lasted longer. The one exception would be if you have lately finished some supplementary classes or certifications, as mentioned above.
Following are more tips to keep in mind when you write your post-retirement resume:
- Include all pertinent information regarding your education, excluding the dates.
- Start with a summary statement rather than a resume objective. Learn how to write an effective summary statement here.
- Start with a “past-employment” section that features your experience and accomplishments, especially as they relate to the field in which you are hoping to work. Again, dates are not as important here as the “where” and the “what.”
- Don’t go back too far. Employers don’t need a list of every job you’ve held clear back to high school. Include only your most recent, pertinent, and successful endeavors, and make sure to emphasize any awards and accomplishments you garnered along the way.
- If you’re hoping to launch a new career, develop a “special skills” category that showcases your abilities rather than focuses on your work history.
- Include volunteer experience. Doing so proves that you have remained active in the community, that you have integrity and a work ethic, and that you’re a team player.
Network! Network! Network!
One of the perks of being on the older end of the workforce is that you have had the chance to gather not only more experience, but also more connections than your younger counterparts. Use those connections to your advantage! Get out there and let it be known that you’re on the market again. Connect or reconnect with anybody and everybody you know in any field that interests you. They can keep you apprised of opportunities as they arise and put in a good word for you with the people who are in a position to help you reach your goals. “Networking is marketing. Marketing yourself, your uniqueness, and what you stand for.” (Christine Comaford-Lynch).
“Un-retiring” or choosing to pursue an “encore career” has a few challenges, but the benefits are far more numerous. Even if you feel like you’re a little out of the loop when it comes to industry trends, standards, and technology because you left the arena for a while, it shouldn’t take much to get back on track. After all, you were a pro in your day. Millions of people have started encore careers, and you’re as capable as any of them.
By Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano
President and CEO
Barbachano International (BIP) is the premier executive search and leadership advisory firm in the Americas (USA, Mexico, Latin America, & Canada) with a focus on diversity and multicultural target markets. Since 1992, BIP and its affiliates have served over 50% of Fortune 500 Companies and have been recognized by Forbes as a Top 40 executive search firm. Outplacement and Executive Coaching services are provided by our sister allied company Challenger Gray & Christmas. We are supported by our NPAworldwide partner offices in over 50 countries.