How to Land a Retirement Job

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Retirement from a lifelong career doesn't necessarily mean an end to work. Many retirees return to the workforce to pursue a passion, earn extra money, gain health care benefits, serve their community, or to avoid boredom. In fact, retirement can signify the start of a new career for many workers who aren't ready to actually retire.

Retirement can provide an opportunity to choose a different path than the first time around. It can also provide extra income and the chance to do the type of work that you wished you could have done during your last career.

Types of Retirement Work Options

Some of the more common options for retirement employment are operating a small business, freelance work, hospitality, retail, consulting, teaching, and healthcare. However, don't limit yourself. Rather, before you start a job search, take some time to explore options and decide what it is you would like to do during this phase of your working life. Take a career test or two and see what might be a good fit for your skills and interests.

Also, consider how much time you want to commit and plan accordingly. Many employers would prefer to hire flexible employees who are willing to work less than full-time hours. If you don't need to work 40 hours a week, it will be easier to land a job.

How to Land a Retirement Job

To get started, consider reaching out to contacts at your previous employers if you enjoyed working there prior to your retirement. Explore part-time roles with less stress or greater appeal that will still tap the knowledge or skills accumulated throughout your career.

Or, consider some additional ideas:

Make new contacts in person: Utilize your positive image and outgoing personality by contacting managers in-person at local restaurants, hotels, retail establishments, and other employers. Stop by at non-peak times, show respect for gatekeepers, and exude a youthful energy.

Use temporary employment agencies: These work well for office and factory jobs. Temp agencies are a great way to access seasonal and part-time employment as well as to sample a variety of employers. Plus, temp jobs give you flexibility when you don't want to commit to a full-time position.

Mobilize your contacts: Let them know what type of employment you’re seeking. You may be surprised to learn that one of your contacts or one of their associates could use help from a trusted source. If your connections don't need help, they may know someone who does.

Start your own business: If you have entrepreneurial inclinations, explore the viability of starting a small business, whether it is marketing a favorite craft item, providing a service like installing hardwood floors, or catering parties. Retirees often favor enterprises which require limited capital investment. Consult business people whom you know and services such as Score or the Small Business Administration.

Try freelance work: Consulting, writing, design, programming, translating, medical transcribing, and data entry are common pursuits for many seniors. Utilizing websites that match freelancers to projects can be an effective strategy.

Check the Chamber of Commerce: Many local businesses list jobs on their Chamber of Commerce website. It's a good resource for finding local jobs.

Visit online job posting sites: Use online job search engines to find relevant listings in your location. In addition to using the general job sites, check those that focus on jobs for retirees and older workers. Visit Encore for positions that are geared towards those looking for a passion-related job or second career, and try VolunteerMatch to research a variety of volunteer jobs to find out which ones appeal to you.

Also try AARP’s Life Reimagined for Work, which not only pulls relevant job listings from LinkedIn but also offers content specific to boomers along with tools to help career changers and retirees find the right job for them. Workforce50.com is another site worth visiting because it offers useful search tools, reviews of career books, information on military-to-civilian job transitioning, and more.

Working and Social Security

If you’re collecting social security and are under full retirement age, earnings from your job can impact your social security benefits. Understand how working impacts your social security retirement payments.

Top Jobs for Retirees

Not sure what type of retirement job you’d like to pursue? Here’s a list of potential positions:

  • Accounting clerk
  • Activities staff at a retirement home
  • Adjunct professor
  • Americorps volunteer
  • Art gallery assistant
  • Art museum security guard
  • Avon, Mary Kay representative
  • Bank teller
  • Bartender
  • Cake/pastry maker
  • Clerk at a hardware store
  • Crossing guard
  • Customer service representative
  • Delivery driver
  • eBay reseller
  • Etsy seller
  • Entertainer
  • Event planner
  • Flooring installer
  • Freelance designer
  • Freelance photographer
  • Freelance writer
  • Greeter
  • Home health aide
  • Hotel front desk clerk
  • Hunting guide
  • IT consultant
  • Landscaper
  • Newspaper delivery person
  • Nurse's assistant
  • Painter
  • Park guide
  • Pet sitter
  • Piano tuner
  • Real estate agent
  • Receptionist
  • Resort worker
  • Restaurant worker
  • Retail sales clerk
  • School bus driver
  • Security guard
  • Ski instructor
  • Snow plow operator
  • Social work assistant
  • Standardized test proctor
  • Tax preparer
  • Teacher's aide
  • Tennis instructor
  • Travel guide
  • Van/taxi/Uber/Lyft driver