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6 Helpful Tips for Finding a Meaningful Career in Retirement

August 31st, 2015 | 2 min. read

By Jacob Schroeder

Ironically, one activity people want to do most in retirement is work. In a 2013 Gallup poll, most of those who said they intend to work in retirement will do so out of choice not necessity.

Perhaps, this isn’t a surprise as the definition of retirement changes with new medical advancements and longer life expectancies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the life expectancy for American men and women increased to 81.2 years and 74.6 years, respectively, in 2012.

Many people no longer view retirement as a period of not working but rather as an opportunity to freely pursue the work you want to do, or at least be more selective. More and more retirees are launching new businesses or contributing their services to humanitarian causes around the world.

To find a new vocation that you’re passionate about, you don’t need to be extremely wealthy or a workaholic. There are plenty of opportunities available that can align with the rest of your retirement goals. Here are 6 tips for searching for your meaningful career in retirement:

1. Determine what career you can afford.

Before embarking on your career search, you should speak with your financial adviser to help determine what kind of aspiration you can afford. Can you work pro bono for a charity, or do you need some hourly wage to supplement your other sources of income? Can you start a new business without risking the longevity of your savings? Also, if you plan to claim Social Security prior to your full retirement age, working can affect your monthly benefit.

2. Consider your health.

As you age, your physical abilities will become a bigger factor in your work. You may be unable to perform certain physical duties required in some job descriptions. Find positions in your desired field that don’t require, literally, back-breaking work. Or, create a healthy alternative. If you want to volunteer as a docent at a nearby museum but are unable to stand for long periods, consider creating your own local history blog.

3. Revise your resume.

By the time you retire, you likely have amassed a long work history and list of accomplishments. Your resume, however, should only highlight skills and experiences that are relevant to your desired position.   Most HR managers spend only seconds reviewing each submitted resume.

4. Build an online presence.

A growing number of organizations review job applicants’ online profiles during the hiring process. Building a LinkedIn profile or your very own website makes it easier for recruiters to find you. You can feature your credentials and samples of your work. Also, you can use them along with other social media platforms to stand out as an authority in your specific field.

5. Network, network, network.

One thing that doesn’t change when job searching in retirement is that who you know can be just as important as what you know. Utilize the contact list you’ve built over a long career. Inquire about opportunities and contacts from former colleagues, family members and the people you typically socialize with each day.

6. Start working – even before your first day.

Transitioning into a new career is unlikely to be a one-step process. Enroll in classes or participate in workshops to help discover new interests and grow your skill set.

If a new career, or adventure, is a part of your ideal retirement, keep your expectations in check. You don’t have to save the world. You can try, but the important thing is that you feel comfortable and satisfied in retirement.