If you are a retiree who is coming from a unusual background, or one that doesn’t seem to mesh with what you know about the current job market, a good first step is to determine your transferable skill set. Transferable skills are skills that you can use in a variety of occupations. They are often referred to as “soft skills” like listening, communication, writing, critical thinking, etc. Career counselors can administer assessments to help you identify transferable skills. You can also take the Skills Profiler on Career One Stop. The assessment will help you rank and rate your skills and recommend occupations based on those.
Once you get some ideas about possible career options, it’s important to think about other life issues and priorities that might influence your decision. For example, if you want to be available to babysit grandchildren on short notice, you may need a job with a flexible schedule. The free Making Better Career Decisions (MBCD) assessment can help you determine what is most important to you in your career decision-making process right now.
AARP offers plenty of articles and videos on their Job Tips for 50+ Workers page. Additionally, the AARP Foundation has created the Worksearch program that includes a free online interest assessment plus information on retraining programs for older workers.
Another good website to try is Job-Hunt.org. The site includes a free e-book from AARP on resume writing for 50+ job seekers as well as articles on interviewing, resume writing, career assessments and more. If you check-out the local resources, you can also use the site to find job seeker support groups in your area.
If you want to explore thousands of professions and find out what it takes to break into certain fields start by exploring TheCareerProject.org. TheCareerProject allows you to ask questions to the people who have the jobs you want to know more about.
Once you have a good idea of what you have to offer and what you would like to do, you can use some of the resources above to figure out how to market yourself effectively. Remember to stay positive; don’t fall into the “nobody will hire me because I’m old” trap. Be prepared for a certain amount of trial and error as you navigate the new job search landscape.