Retirement is never easy. Not all seniors can afford to call it quits and live out the rest of their days on saved income. In fact, it’s not uncommon for baby boomers to be working well through their 60s, and even up to their 80s. And there are plenty of reasons why this is happening. For starters, financial barriers prevent seniors from retiring at a reasonable time. In fact, between 1977 and 2007, the number of people over 65 in the United States who were still in the workforce rose by 101%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And there are other reasons seniors continue to work, too. Sometimes, they strive to stay busy, while other times, they’re simply passionate about a particular field. Whatever the case, if you find yourself needing or wanting a job, you’ll likely meet several challenges. What’s most important is how you maneuver them. Here are five important job seeking tips for older adults:
Seek Fulfilling Work
Young adults often find themselves grinding to make it to the top of corporate ladders, or simply to make ends meet. For seniors, the end goal shouldn’t be working mindless 40+ hour work weeks. Instead, it’s crucial that you find a job that offers fulfilling work, and fills you with a sense of purpose and achievement at the end of each day. Do your best to stay away from work that ultimately stresses you. Start by thinking about what you’re passionate about and how you can make a difference. If you have a knack for leading, you may even want to seek a position that involves managing others.
Highlight Your Skills
With decades of experience, you have a lot to offer. Communicating those skills is essential to landing an initial interview. Start by developing a list of all the skills you have. Refer to your resume to help build out your list. Then, as you sort through potential listings, keep tabs on positions with duties that allow you to transfer those skills seamlessly. Even if you haven’t worked in a while, there are always unique ways to frame your experience and skill set. Take a look at some sample cover letters for seniors, don’t be afraid to apply to positions that may seem out of your league.
Think About Safety
Staying safe on the job as a senior is imperative. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that, contrary to what many may think, older workers actually experience less workplace injuries than younger employees. This is likely because seniors tend to be more careful on the job, taking precaution on a day-to-day basis. However, compared to younger workers, older workers who experience injuries take longer to heal and are more likely to suffer from serious injuries that put them out of work.
“It’s important for seniors to step back and analyze the working conditions of a particular establishment,” says the Barnes Firm, a personal injury lawyer group. “Consider businesses that offer ergo-friendly working environments that help minimize prolonged sedentary work, and avoid physical work that puts additional strain on the body.”
One of the biggest advantages of senior status is that, as you grow older your network grows larger. It’s important for you to leverage this to your benefit. Start by sorting through the contacts that you already have—particularly those you’ve worked with in the past, and who can vouch for your work ethic. Ask them if they know of any positions available, and would they be willing to provide you with a reference. Additionally, join any local associations or groups in your industry where you can network further. You’ll also want to use the Web to extend your reach. Start by creating or refreshing your LinkedIn profile. Once you’ve got a solid digital resume, you can search for positions on the same platform, as well as more traditional platforms like Indeed.
Regardless of your age, searching for a job is overwhelming. However, there are plenty of ways to take advantage of job search assistance. Often, local libraries have programs that assist seniors with a variety of tasks, and this is a good place to start. Non-profit groups and career centers are also good choices. If you live near a college, you may find students who volunteer with senior working programs. And of course, reach out to your loved ones to help steer you in the right direction.