Articles, activities for boomers & seniors
You may remember the popular TV ad jingle from the 1980’s, “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.” Likewise, retirement today is not your father’s retirement. The face of traditional retirement is changing. People are working longer, retiring later, and going back to work after retirement.
People “un-retire” or seek new careers after age 50 for many reasons. They are healthier, better educated and have a longer life expectancy than previous generations. Additionally, changes to Social Security benefits and employee retirement plans, along with the need to save more for retirement, create incentives to keep working, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And the job market for older workers is ripe for the picking. One reason is the low unemployment rate of 4.1 percent (tinyurl.com/y9yjvhpy). Another is that employers recognize that mature workers come to the workplace with certain intrinsic qualities, such as experience, confidence, reliable service and loyalty (tinyurl.com/y99xstee).
Tina Hamilton, CEO of myHR Partner, Inc. in Allentown, PA, sees the upward trend for hiring older workers firsthand. An entrepreneur in human resources for more than 13 years, Hamilton explains the following reasons employers are hiring retirees: “Employers realize that a key benefit of hiring retirees is reliability. The retiree is returning to work typically for one of two reasons: They need to work for financial reasons or they desire an opportunity to feel ‘productive’ or ‘useful’. Often when folks retire, they become disenchanted with not waking up with a ‘purpose’. In some cases, they may be lonely. Employers in certain industries often struggle with finding employees that they can count on to show up on time and follow the job description as it needs to be done so hiring someone who chooses to work after retirement vs. having to work may be appealing. In addition, the retiree may have had management responsibilities and is now happy with working in a lesser role. The employers then get the advantage of a highly qualified employee for less of an investment. They also might not need benefits or other perks, which then saves the company on the bottom line.”
Older workers entering the job market experience both advantages and disadvantages. For one, age discrimination is real. Hamilton explains that another disadvantage may be that the older worker has not kept up with technology. Also, employers legally cannot ask specific questions about health and physical limitations. “Sometimes they will ‘assume’ that an elderly person may have these limitations and pose a risk. Of course, this is a discriminatory practice, but sadly, it is a current roadblock that might exist,” she says. However, the advantages the mature job-seeker has are significant. Hamilton says, “They may be past the period in their life where they ‘need’ growth and opportunity. They can sell themselves on being perfectly satisfied with having a job that they like and that they can come to each day. This is music to a hiring manager’s ears!!”
Tips for Finding a Job
As for job hunting at any age, retirees are more likely to be successful in re-entering the job market if they use the right strategy and techniques. Hamilton offers the following job-hunting tips:
1. If completing an online application or sending in a cover letter, be open and upfront about where you are in your career and what attributes that you can offer to an employer. Honesty is so much more productive than attempting to cover up your potential ‘overqualification’.
2. Do not omit your dates of employment on your resume/application. Most often when this happens, employers assume that either the applicant is a job hopper, has been unemployed for an extended period or that they are covering up their age. Again, although some of these acts are definitely discriminatory, it is best that you are upfront and honest about who you are.
3. If there is any way that you can network to find employment, that is always beneficial. By networking, potential employers or people who refer you can see who you and potentially learn more about what you have to offer.
4. There are multiple resources, locally and online, to help people over 50 look for jobs. Hamilton recommends, “Find organizations that have a reputation for hiring retirees. You can find these things out through AARP, Careerlinks [see below], retirement communities and publications, like this one.”
AARP - aarp.org/work/job-hunting/info-06-2009/job_search_resources.html
Career Link - careerlinklehighvalley.org