In years past it was common to work at one company for an entire career and spend the retirement years traveling, playing golf, or pursuing hobbies. Today with increasing financial demands and changes in social security laws raising the retirement age above 65, many Baby Boomers expect to work at least part time during their retirement years. After decades of being on the fast track in the working world, some people find it hard to stop working abruptly at retirement and prefer to keep busy in another job at least part time.
A skills-based resume is an effective way to highlight your experience and accomplishments without calling attention to your age. Try to list skills that can apply to a variety of positions such as supervising others, customer service, making sales calls, organizing databases, research, budget management, etc. Don’t forget to list any volunteer or management experience you may have even if it was in unpaid positions.
When you begin your search for a part time job it’s a good idea to approach smaller businesses and nonprofit organizations that have a tendency to be more flexible in hiring older workers. If you enjoy working with kids, consider applying to work as a teacher’s assistant. There is a huge demand in private and public schools and many school systems allow on-the-job training. You may be able to transfer your business skills into a consultant position. Talk with past work contacts and associations within your industry for leads on part time financial, marketing, project management and other opportunities.
Many mature workers who have spent years in office jobs enjoy expressing their creativity in a part time job related to a favorite hobby. If you love antiques, you might consider working at an antique shop or helping a local dealer acquire and appraise new inventory. Gardening enthusiasts might work for a florist, a home and garden shop, or for a landscape designer. Even if you aren’t skilled at floral or garden design, many florists and nurseries need people to work part time making deliveries and taking orders especially during busy seasons like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas.
If you enjoy working with people, talk with your local bank about becoming a new accounts representative, teller or financial consultant. Museums, amusement parks, casinos, resorts and restaurants are always in need of friendly people to work as tour guides, ticket takers, servers, etc. Avid readers or music fans are a natural for working in bookstores and music shops. Or put your knowledge as a movie buff to work at a video rental store.
Many hotels, retail stores, apartment complexes and businesses hire seniors to work as security personnel or as information agents for a front lobby. Those with a background in security or police work may find part time work as a security screener at the airport. Contact the Transportation Security Administration for more information or check with your local airport authority for details on positions that may be available.
Travel enthusiasts may want to look into tour guide opportunities or even teaching English abroad. Many airlines also employ mature workers to work as airport reservationists, food preparation staff, baggage handlers, or to staff reservation call centers. If you worked for years in a construction job and no longer want to wield a hammer and saw, you may be able to transfer your years of experience on job sites to a new position involving project management or supervising inventory. It is important to convey how your years of experience in other industries can benefit a new company. Talk about transferable skills that relate to the job at hand. Be convincing about your ability to adapt to new situations and use your time in an interview to demonstrate your pleasant personality and willingness to work with others. Don’t forget to mention hobbies, interests and volunteer experience. For example raising funds for a charity is relevant if you are applying for a sales job. Be prepared to address employer comments that you are overqualified for a position. You might explain that you are looking to expand your knowledge by exploring a different field.
It is against the law for employers to discriminate because of age but you may have to address subtle references to it. Let the employer know that you are enthusiastic, computer literate (if applicable) and open to learning new things.
Be honest about explaining any gaps in your employment. If you took time off to care for a spouse, or you were laid off, explain the circumstances and emphasize that you are ready to return to work.