13 Tips for Finding Work in Retirement
How to plan ahead to line up income opportunities
(This article appeared previously on MarketWatch.com.)
Many boomers and older Americans are interested in continuing to work after leaving, or retiring from, the field in which they’ve worked most of their lives. Some need the income, while others wish to continue to be challenged and feel they need to continue to work to be happy.
Here are 13 tips and resource lists to explore different kinds of careers and jobs (it includes my own site, Retired Brains):
1. Line up work before you leave. Talk to department heads/hiring managers at your employer before retiring and make sure they understand that you are available for project assignments after you “retire.” It’s the hiring managers that make these decisions and they are the HR department’s clients. Build a departure network. That doesn't mean you shouldn’t also connect with appropriate managers within HR. Do this as well.
2. Define your value. Outside of your former employers, you must be able to identify your value to prospective consulting clients or consulting firms to appropriately market yourself. To do this, you should:
- Assess your experience, skill sets, general knowledge, etc.
- Assess how your experience translates to marketable skills of value to their needs.
- Identify potential market opportunities.
- Look for a place to start as a consultant. (Remember, referencing working for another firm is secondary to project work on your own.) When you first start looking for projects either on your own or with a consulting company you won't have a proper understanding of this market and you won't have the appropriate information to reach prospects to “sell” your value. This will take time as you build experience and the development of a referral network that comes from working on projects as a consultant and problem solver.
4. Look for companies needing your skills. Identify firms outside of your industry that hire people with your experience and skill sets so you can contact them for project assignments after you retire.
5. Look into consulting. Depending on your function and industry, consider starting a consulting firm where you can offer your services on a project basis after you retire. You should also consider identifying and becoming affiliated with existing consulting firms that serve the markets in which you are involved. Maintain your network as this is extremely valuable to you as well as any firm you may join.
7. Learn to work off-site. Many executives, managers and professionals don't have the skills to work virtually and collaboratively. If you don't possess these skills, you must get training if you hope to be successful in acquiring project assignments after retiring. Much of the project or consultative work you get is likely to be done remotely as opposed to on site. You will need “leading edge” communications skills to be successful and if you don’t already have them, you must acquire them — preferably before leaving you job.
8. Look for part-time work. Search for a temporary, part-time, project-based or seasonal job while you’re still working full time for a better idea of what the market space looks like.