Retirement has changed. Many baby boomers are looking for retirement jobs. The reasons are many. Things do not look as rosy as they once might have looked for boomers. Covid-19 has consumed considerable equity in the stock markets. It has driven unemployment to historic levels. The lack of savings on the part of Baby Boomers is a contributing factor, too. Downsizing and right sizing have taken a toll, as well. Expensive boomers with years of time-in-grade make easy targets for businesses trying to squeeze out ever profit dollar. The result: Baby boomers are looking for work now more than ever. It helps to know what you are looking for before you start.
Baby boomers are usually out of practice when it comes to searching for jobs. When the reality of retirement sets in and the decision is made to supplement our retirement income by reentering the workforce, the process can be very intimidating.
As the Market Manager for The Employment Guide in a large western market several years ago, I was able to watch the employment market very closely for almost a decade. By way of background, The Employment Guide was a combination print and internet employment resource that operated in over 75 markets across the country. It was owned by Dominion Enterprises. During that time, I found that the job market for baby boomers and seniors was always a bit problematic. I’ll review the reasons latter this post. Several entities tried to address the issue but none were really very effective. More than anything else, when baby boomers are looking for retirement jobs, we need to focus.
- 1 Four key ways to look for boomers to look for retirement jobs
- 2 Friends of Friends
- 3 Walking Around
- 4 Websites
- 5 Job Fairs
- 6 Before you get stated
- 7 Preparing for the interview
- 8 What to avoid
- 9 What to avoid II
- 10 What to avoid III
- 11 What about age discrimination?
- 12 PRO TIP
- 13 How about starting a business?
Four key ways to look for boomers to look for retirement jobs
There are almost as many ways to search for a job as there are job seekers. However, the most effective fall in three broad categories. A wise job seeker will pursue all three methods concurrently. We will explore each method in detail below. Here are three methods:
- Friends of friends
- Walking around
- Job websites
- Job Fairs
Friends of Friends
The reason you start with friends and friends of friends is that this is often the most fertile, productive method of job searching. Do not be afraid to let it be known that you are looking for work. The natural tendency is to be a bit reluctant to talk with our friends. It’s time to get past the supposed embarrassment and pride. Get over it! Ask open-ended questions. For example, ask “Who do you know if you circle of friends and associates that might be hiring?” Do not ask “Do you know anyone who is hiring?” Why? It is too easy to answer the latter question with a simple “no” and the conversation is over. Make sure you make notes in your notebook of all your conversations.
This may seem too simple. It is not. It is important. With your answers to the questions above firmly in hand, make a target list of businesses that might fit. Patronize them. Look for signs indicating they are hiring. For example, if you just want to work a few hours every morning for walking around money and have the rest of your day free to pursue your retirement dreams, every McDonalds in the country seems to be hiring for morning shift help.
There are literally hundreds of job boards. You can waste a lot of time searching on out of date and obscure job websites. Always check the date on a job posting. Websites are problematic for another reason, too. If you focus your search on seniors, most websites return jobs for CNAs and other jobs serving seniors.
There are three types of job boards. You will want to frequent all three. They are, in no order: Senior targeted job websites, General interest job sites, and local job sites. Most, if not all, will want you to create an account. All are free. I evaluated each of the following websites by first doing a search for bookkeepers in my zip code just to see what they would return.
Senior or boomer targeted job websites
|AARP||AARP has a very robust job board for boomers and seniors. To use it effectively, you need to be a member of AARP. The site is also full of job hunting tips and a strong search engine. You can search by zip code and job title. It will also send you updates for similar jobs if you give them your email address. A search for bookkeeper jobs within 20 miles of my zip code found no jobs. Not very encouraging! On the other hand, a search for any job within 20 miles of my zip code returned 1,833 jobs.|
|Execunet||This website focuses on retired executives. If you have past executive experience, it might be worth your while to poke around a bit on Execunet.|
|Workforce50||You can search by job title and location. It is not a large board, however. I searched for a bookkeeper in my home zip code. It yielded 12 results. Some were 30 or 40 miles away. That’s too far to go for a bookkeeper job in most cases.|
|RetirementJobs||RetirementJobs.com subtitles itself as Jobs for people over 50. A search for bookkeeper jobs within 20 miles of my zip code returned 1 job. A general search returned 292 jobs. However, most of the job postings appeared to be over 30 days old.|
|Retirement workforce||You might find this site in a google search but you can skip it. It just redirects to jobs2Careers.com which is a general interest job board we will cover below.|
|Retired Brains||RetiredBrains.com is a general interest website for baby boomers. Searches, however, redirect to Zip Recruiter so will address that below as well.|
Click on the name of each website to find out what they have to offer. The website will open in a new window so you can come back to this page when you are finished.
There are many different national job boards. The three below are some of the most active. The biggest challenge, however for boomers and seniors using general job boards is that searches for senior jobs or boomer jobs return jobs to serve seniors like CNA jobs, etc. Most allow you to drill down in some to find something that fits your targeting. General job boards change often. You almost need to visit them every day to see new listings.
|Indeed||Indeed is the 800-pound gorilla of job boards. It used to be Monster but Indeed has passed them in most people’s eyes. Both are trusted by millions of employers. You can post your resume and do targeted, filtered job searches. Indeed will want your email address to register and you will be getting updates continually until you opt-out. A search for bookkeepers in my zip code 32 jobs. Most were fresh.|
|Monster||Indeed and Monster are 1 and 1a for general interest job boards. A search for bookkeeper jobs in my zip code returned 712 jobs on the day I searched. Monster is very robust and the job postings tend to be fresh. With Monster, you will have to drill down some to get to what you are searching for.|
|JobHat||A search for bookkeepers in my zip code on JobHat.com revealed 32 jobs.|
|Zip Recruiter||Zip Recruiter returned 62 bookkeeper jobs within 225 miles of my zip code.|
|Jobs2Careers||When I searched for bookkeeper jobs in my zip code, Jobs2Careers returned 1,006 jobs. The problem with the search was that the job category seemed to be ignored and the result contained all types of jobs.|
You can click on the name of each website to find out what they have to offer. The website will open in a new window so you can come back to this page when you are finished.
Local job sites
Do not overlook local boards when looking for retirement jobs. Most larger markets have one or more geographically target job boards. For example, I am familiar with the Salt Lake City job market. KSL.com is sponsored by one of the dominant local television stations. It has hundreds of jobs listed. The side is very robust. Another job board serving the area is UtahCareerNews.com. Make Google your friend when searching for local job boards. Use search terms like “bookkeeping jobs in Denver” or “part-time jobs in Atlanta.” Most will allow you to “drill down” to local neighborhoods. For comparison to the sites above, KSL.com returned 1 bookkeeper job within 25 miles of my zip code the day I searched. Do you can see that local job boards can be a hit or miss situation.
My Top 3
By now, you have probably decided that you can waste a lot of time searching the myriad of job boards that are available. After you write your game plan, it would be focus on three or four of the most productive job boards based on your target. In general my top three for your focus would be:
Keep an eye out for job fairs both in-person or online. They can be a very effective way to search for retirement jobs. Employers will not go to the trouble and expense of job fair participation unless they have jobs to fill. If they have jobs to fill, you in the running. Dress for business, print a dozen resumes, and go talk with everyone.
Before you get stated
There is an old expression “Prior proper planning prevents poor performance.” Searching for retirement jobs requires proper planning. Here a few items you should consider:
Decisions to make before you start your retirement job search
You need to make several decisions to make as you start your job search. Answering the following questions will help you decide what you are looking for and pinpoint your search. Keep in mind that just deciding may not make you successful in your job search, but they will make your more efficient. Here they are:
- How much do you need to make?
- Are you looking for a job or a second career?
- When do you need to start?
- Do you want to work full or part-time?
- Are you willing to work shifts or weekends?
- How far are you willing to travel for a job?
- What type of work do you want to do?
The answers to these questions are what make boomer applicants a bit problematic. If you answer these questions it will clear up a lot of uncertainty in your mind and in the minds of future employers. Make sure you write them down; do not just think about your answers. You can always revise them later if you need to revise them but writing them down makes them more real in both your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. Both are important to your search. Now, on to you elevator speech.
With your answers firmly in hand, you are ready to write an “elevator speech.” Imagine you alone with an HR professional who is hiring on a ten-flor elevator ride. What would you like to tell him or her? What do you have to offer? Write it down. Refine it. Practice it. Make it you. After all, you are the best tool you have in your job search.
With your decisions firmly in hand and your elevator speech internalized, you are ready to go to work looking for work. Treat it like a job. Get up every day and report for “work” at a set time. The morning is the best. This is your job until you find a job. Period. Make notes.
What about a resume?
Based on important, this topic should be addressed much earlier in this post. In this electronic world, you are going to need an electronic resume. You will be emailing or uploading it. You can find templates in both Microsoft Word and Google Docs that you can use. Save a master copy and then customize it each time you send it out by changing the objective to the specific job and company where you are applying. HR people are usually receiving hundreds of applications. You want to stand out – in a nice way!
Keep your resume to one page, two at most.
Most boomer job seekers to draft a resume in chronological form. If you’ve had too many jobs, it might be a red flag to employers. You might want to use a job skills type resume to target the job you want. Your resume should quickly communicate what you can do for the company and where or how use acquired and or used the skills successfully. A skills resume can do that
Preparing for the interview
Prepare for your job interview. Make a list of the hard questions you might be asked. Rehearse your answers. A retirement job interview is not the time to stumble around or look confused. Do not be surprised if your first interview is an online interview. HR professionals need to cover as much ground as possible. Online interviews let them start the process quickly and efficiently. For an in-person interview, dress appropriately for the job. If you don’t know what that is, ask what is expected. Take two printed copies of your resume. One copy is for the interviewer; the other one for you to reference during the interview if necessary. Keep your story straight.
Interviewers are always pressed for time. They look for “knockouts.” Knockouts are things that will eliminate an applicant. When they find one, the interview is over and they will be ready to move on without you. Search your elevator speech for knockouts. The process is brutal. but efficient for the interviewer. Remember that there are probably hundreds of applicants for a job opening. The fact that you made it to the interview should build your confidence. That being said, be confident but not overbearing during the interview. Focus on how you can help the company get done what it is that they do.
What to avoid
Perhaps the last time you had to look for work many years ago, you check the local want ads. Do not bother looking. They virtually do not exist anymore. For the most part, they have been replaced by the electronic job boards. Many major markets would have over a hundred pages of classified help want ads every Sunday. Now, there might be two or three columns at most. It is sad for those of us who grew up with newspapers. Focus on the job boards instead.
What to avoid II
Scams! Watch out for scams. You should never, ever have to pay a fee to apply for a job. If someone asks you to pay a fee to apply, it is a scam! You should never, ever agree to exchange checks, make deposits or anything of they ilk. If anyone asks, it is a scam.
What to avoid III
There is a growing trend to call workers independent contractors, especially in sales-type jobs. They are not necessarily scams but watch independent contractor status very carefully. Compare the levels of commitment. How much are you investing in them with your time and effort and how much are they investing in you. It costs a business very little to add independent contractors to the sales staff – other than in the area of lost business that comes from turnover. They can add 10 when they only need two and see who performs. If eight fall by the wayside, they still have the two they wanted in the first place. Personally, I do not like those odds.
What about age discrimination?
Age discrimination is real – very real. If you have ever looked for a job after the age of 50, you have seen. The sad truth is that there is not really much you can do about it. The hiring process is very, very subjective. Remember, people buy emotionally and justify their decision numerically. The interviewer has to buy you. Help them “buy” you emotionally. It will make their job easier. The bottom line, though, it that is hard for a “thirty-something ” interviewer or HR professional to really understand the legacy value of a “55 something” applicant. If it doesn’t click, move on and don’t look back. Have the attitude that it is their loss and move on to the next opportunity.
Start a notebook. Make records of conversations. Keep records of websites visited. Record resumes sent. Write down the responses you receive. Check your notebook daily.
How about starting a business?
Don’t overlook the possibility of starting a business. Ask yourself questions!
- What are your hobbies?
- What are you do well?
- How do you find yourself helping others?
There might be an opportunity to start charging for your 40 years of accumulated skill and knowledge and perhaps even have some fun in the process! If you need cash immediately, find a job. If you would like a bit more challenge with more a bit more potential reward and you have the financial staying power, you might want to consider starting your own business. I will write more about this in another post.