By Nancy Collamer, Next avenue
A reader recently asked how to go about finding a meaningful part-time job after retiring in a few years. “I don’t know where to look for meaningful part-time work,” he wrote. “Besides that is how to reach out. To whom and how? How to start?
As 2.6 million more Americans than expected have retired early during the pandemic, many are looking to return to the workforce, preferably on their terms. In March 2022, 3.2% of workers who had retired a year earlier found employment, according to an Indeed.com analysis of Labor Department data. And, with inflation on the rise and equities faltering, it’s likely that more retirees will want — or need — to return to work, at least part-time.
So how do you start finding an interesting part-time job after retirement? Here are five steps to help you focus and move forward:
1. Clearly explain why you want to work in retirement. Whether your primary goal is earning an income or finding meaningful work, defining your “must haves”, “nice to haves” and “decisive elements” will guide your decisions going forward. Think about how, why and when you want to work. Ask yourself how much you want or need to earn. Ask yourself if you need a job that challenges you creatively or intellectually. Consider what type of work schedule works best for you. Want to try turning a hobby into a source of income? Perhaps you would prefer to continue in your old profession, but on a more flexible basis, perhaps as a trainer, coach or consultant.
2. Look for flexible opportunities in your target industries. If it’s been a while since you looked for a job, you’ll be pleased to find that flexible, virtual, and high-quality project work options have increased dramatically in recent years.
Here are three ways to learn more about options in your industry:
- Explore industry associations. Many sponsored webinars, newsletters, job boards, and conferences are invaluable for newcomers and industry veterans alike. They can alert you to growth opportunities within the industry, as well as certification programs that can help you move quickly and inexpensively into a new role. To locate an industry association in your area of interest, simply Google
search or consult the Gale Encyclopedia of Associations, which can be found online or in the reference section of your library.
- Check out job boards that focus on flexible, on-demand work. There are a growing number of online platforms, such as FlexJobs.com, Freelancer.com or SideHusl.com, specializing in flexible working. In addition to job postings, they have helpful tips for navigating the world of flexible working.
- Find assignments with temporary or professional service companies. These days, many companies use temp agencies to fill professional-level positions. To find a company in your target industry, ask for referrals from colleagues or do a Google search using terms such as “interim executive”, “recruitment agency” or “professional services firm”.
3. Fill in the gaps in your journey. If you’re moving into a new field or role, consider taking an online course, workshop, or certification program to improve the likelihood of landing a new position quickly. You can find thousands of free or nearly free training courses offered on platforms like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and EdX. Also, check out the many courses and certification programs offered by community colleges or industry groups, many of which are now available online.
4. Update your LinkedIn profile or create one if you haven’t already. Once you’ve clarified your desired direction, update your profile to reflect your career aspirations.
Some key suggestions:
- Replace your old title with one that sums up the role you want to play next, as your title is the first thing potential connections or employers see. For example, “Financial analyst in the retail industry looking for consulting and freelance work” or “I help environmental nonprofits attract more donations and volunteers. Open to opportunities council or board of directors.”
- Update the other sections of your LinkedIn profile (About, Experience, etc.) to include training, volunteering, or consulting experience related to your new job target.
- If you’re looking for virtual work, highlight keywords that demonstrate your proficiency with technology and the skills needed to work remotely.
- Once you’ve updated your LinkedIn profile, revise your resume to match your new goals as well.
5. Tell your network that you are available for work. Networking is the best way to land a meaningful job in retirement, just like when you were looking for a “real” job. After informing your current employer of your intention to retire, let your colleagues and friends know that you are interested in a part-time job. To make it easier for people to help you, be clear about the type of work and hours you want.
And don’t forget to end every networking conversation by asking who else you should talk to. You never know who might become the central link to your next consultant, interim, board, or part-time role.