One’s golden years are no longer reserved for fishing and gardening. Many of today’s would-be retirees are forgoing a life of leisure and opting to work well past 65 — a trend that’s sure to continue as the country’s 76 million baby boomers reach so-called retirement age.
CONSIDER THESE NUMBERS:
- In a study conducted by AARP, 79 percent of baby boomers said they plan to work in some capacity during retirement.
- Workers 55 and older make up roughly 20 percent of the U.S. labor force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- There soon will be 4 million more jobs than workers, according to the Employment Policy Foundation.
- In 2020 there will be a 60 percent increase in the number of people over age 65, while the segment of the population ranging in age from 18 to 44 will increase by just 4 percent, according to the Hudson Institute, a nonprofit research organization.
In addition to demographic shifts, there are other factors working in favor of seasoned employees. Companies that are launching new initiatives or merging with other organizations are willing to pay a premium for the wisdom and experience of time-tested professionals. Dependability, a strong work ethic and the ability to oversee complex projects also are in demand. In short, the changing employment landscape will present many opportunities for professionals looking to extend their careers or retirees interested in returning to the workforce. Following are tips for leveraging deep knowledge and experience.
Retool YOUR RESUME
Revamping your resume is a key first step to effectively selling yourself to prospective employers. Instead of formatting your resume chronologically, consider creating a functional resume that’s targeted specifically to the positions you seek. A functional resume emphasizes the unique set of skills you bring to the table rather than your job titles or duties. When compiling your resume, home in on the last 15 to 20 years of your career, since that will likely be your most relevant experience. You’ll also minimize the chances of a hiring manager deeming you “overqualified.”
Keep your skills sharp
Whether you’re currently employed and looking for new opportunities, or you’d like to come out of retirement, there are many ways to stay on the cutting edge of your field. Consider enrolling in professional development courses offered through an employer, local community college or trade organization. In addition, subscribing to industry publications will help you stay apprised of the latest trends and advancements in your field.
Network, network, network
The value networking provides can’t be overstated for workers of any age. Reconnect with former bosses or colleagues who may have job leads — or know people who do. And don’t forget about your family members, friends and neighbors, who all can serve as potential resources during your job hunt. Let people know that you’re looking for a job and give them details about the types of roles that appeal to you. Joining an industry association is a quick and efficient way to make new contacts.
Explore all options
Working no longer means a rigid nine-to-five schedule. Companies want to keep long-time employees in order to retain invaluable institutional knowledge. As a result, many are offering phased retirement programs and inviting retirees back to work part time. In addition, telecommuting, job-sharing, flextime and seasonal work are options at an increasing number of firms. Ask your current employer – or reach out to a former one – to find out what non-traditional work arrangements might be available to you.
Working as a consultant on a temporary or project basis is another viable option. The advantage of this type of work is that you can generate income while choosing which assignments to pursue and setting your own schedule. By working through a staffing firm, you’ll receive career guidance, insight about emerging technologies and job leads. Staffing firms also can give you a heads-up on the types of companies that are targeting professionals with your abilities and background.
For some professionals, working is a financial necessity. For many others, however, working beyond 65 is a choice. Regardless of why you work, the opportunities are abundant and will likely continue to grow. To maximize your marketability, use the tips above to position yourself as an adaptable yet proven professional who’s at the forefront of your industry.