A New Season Brings New Opportunities
An estimated 9 million Americans ages 44 to 70 are engaged in what is labeled a “second career, pharm ” according to a survey from the MetLife Foundation. So what exactly is a “second career?”
For some baby boomers and older workers, find it can encompass paid, doctor part-time work that helps support retirement income or Medicare. Other people are exploring full-time jobs, starting a new business, or working with a non-profit organization.
No matter how it is classified, finding satisfaction in a career later in life is becoming the new standard for retirement.
The Retirement Dream
You see the commercials depicting older Americans riding into the sunset — long days filled with golf and perfect nights begun by beautiful sunsets. For many Americans, this just isn’t a reality.
Many older adults simply can’t afford to fully retire today. They may not have traditional pensions, or their investments may have been negatively impacted by the Great Recession.
In other cases, older Americans don’t want to stop working. They still find personal fulfillment in earning a paycheck or in helping charitable organizations. The aforementioned MetLife Foundation study shows that within the next 10 years, 25 percent of boomers hope to start a business or non-profit. The vision of retirement has certainly changed.
Landing a Job
Secure, long-term employment is definitely an achievable objective later in life. Businesses across various industries are looking for quality, knowledgeable workers. The key is selling your value to them against younger – and sometimes more affordable – workforce talent.
Consider your areas of expertise. Do you have a background in finance or business development? Many startup companies are looking for off-site consultants to work them through building strategy for their operations.
If community work is more in line with your interests, there are many university and community college programs designed to train and re-train workers. Going through such a program will prepare you for your next opportunity while also helping you make important connections that could lead to employment.
Virtual Career Fairs
Goodbye suit and tie. Hello click and send. The career fair is undergoing a rapid transformation.
The traditional face-to-face career fairs may soon be a thing of the past. It can now take the form of a digital collaboration meant to streamline the interview process to save the employer both time and money.
Find a fair
An online search for a virtual career fair in your area is likely to reveal multiple events scheduled through your local community college or university. These fairs take place completely online, allowing job-seekers to handle all aspects of their job search from the comfort of their own computer.
When you find a virtual job fair, you can search through the list of employers that will be represented. This will help you get a sense of what types of opportunities will be available, which also will help you in customizing your resume and cover letter for the positions that interest you the most.
Traditionalists may be slow to embrace virtual job fairs, because of their lack of human interaction. But many of these events are set up with live chat capabilities.
Candidates can chat with recruiters from various companies to ask questions about their open positions. They also can answer any immediate inquiries a hiring manager may have about professional achievements, educational backgrounds, and key strengths.
Diversify Your Strategy
There are many reasons to jump on board the virtual train when it comes to job-seeking. The act of reaching recruiters through digital means is convenient, simple, and proving to be effective for all involved parties.
But just like your investment strategy, it is important to diversify. Depending solely on one avenue for potential job opportunities can damage your chances of landing your next gig. For every digital career fair you “attend,” you should make plans to visit a traditional fair at your local college or trade organization. Doing so will help get you face to face with hiring managers, who in many cases still prefer this type of interaction to get a feel for your personality. Other career-seeking strategies to employ include uploading your resume to job boards, searching for specific job openings on social media, cold-calling potential employers, and using a headhunter to find tailored openings.
Find a Federal Job
Does working for the National Parks Service or a global defense agency sound exciting to you? Then a federal employment position may be right up your alley.
There are hundreds of agencies and departments within the federal government, all looking for quality employees to achieve their missions.
And while transferring from the public work space into the government can be a difficult task, it is an attainable goal. Having a military background will help you, as will having high-level work experience similar to that required by your target position.
Finding a Job
There are many online job portals that list available federal openings, including www.usajobs.gov and www.makingthedifference.org. These sites announce all government and public service jobs, along with detailed instructions on how to apply.
Be prepared to devote more time to pursuing these opportunities than your standard job application. Many federal positions require a version of your resume that aligns with their various needs. And instead of a basic cover letter, you may have to fill out a KSA – a comprehensive collection of essay questions measuring your knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Networking with friends and family members also is an effective way of uncovering federal work opportunities. Tools such as LinkedIn can help you collaborate with people and groups who work in or with the federal government, as well.
Speak with any friends who have federal jobs to gain insights into the application and interview processes. If you’re a college student attempting to land a federal internship, check in with your university’s career services department to see if there are any openings or an established relationship with any government agencies or recruiters.
Putting in more effort on the front end can definitely be a great investment if you have the time. That is because federal jobs are very competitive with their pay and benefits packages in comparison with those of public and private job markets.
Federal jobs can sometimes pay more than $100,000 for a management position, which also will be compensated with top-tier health insurance and retirement benefits. Your level of responsibility in working toward making the nation a stronger, safer place to live is another reason to pursue a federal position.
Getting a Degree Pays Off
You can never have too much education. Below are the statistics to prove it.
Today’s population of 25- to 32-year-olds make up the best-educated generation in history. Thirty-four percent of them have at least a bachelor’s degree, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center.
According to previous Pew research, only 13 percent of this same age group in 1965 had a college degree, while 24 percent of young baby boomers in the late 1970s and 1980s fit into this category.
College graduates age 25 to 32 who are working full-time earn about $17,500 more annually than employed young adults holding only a high school diploma, Pew analysis has found. That pay gap only figures to widen over the next 10 to 20 years, conveying the importance of pursuing a college degree immediately out of high school.
Other numbers from the recent Pew study:
• College-educated young adults are more likely to be employed full-time than their less-educated counterparts (89 percent vs. 82 percent) and significantly less likely to be unemployed (3.8 percent vs. 12.2 percent).
• Young college graduates are more likely than their peers with a high school diploma or less education to say their job is a career or a steppingstone to a career (86 percent vs. 57 percent)
• Millennials with a high school diploma or less are about three times as likely as college graduates to say their work is “just a job to get them by.”
• College graduates are significantly more likely than those without any college experience to say that their education has been “very useful” in preparing them for work and a career.
• Better educated young adults are more likely to say they have the necessary education and training to advance in their careers (63 percent vs. 41 percent)
• About nine in 10 with at least a bachelor’s degree say college has already paid off (72 percent) or will pay off in the future (17 percent)
• Even among the two-thirds of college-educated millennials who borrowed money to pay for their schooling, nearly nine in 10 (86 percent) say their degrees have been worth it or expect that they will be in the future.