Planning a Second Career After Retirement

Senior Men

Planning a second career for your retirement years is a different process than selecting that first job. Your goals, experiences and needs are different now. You may have more freedom to create a career that makes you happy.

Steps for Planning

A well-planned career is one that is likely to provide fulfillment for many years to come. Start with these planning steps.

Explore Your Passions

One of the best benefits of starting a second career after retirement is you can choose what you want to do. The best way to do this is to find out what your passion is. Rather than focusing on moving up the corporate ladder, consider what you enjoy doing instead. If you have the freedom to explore options, take the time to do so.

  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What kind of work environment do you prefer?
  • How many hours a week would your ideal job be?

Understanding your passions and the scope of how much you want to work is important. Most who start second careers want to do something not just for money, but also for what it brings into their lives. Finding out what you would enjoy is the first step in planning a new career.

Determine What Your Skills Are

Explore your skills next. In order to turn your passion into a profitable business or a second career, you need to have the skills to make it successful. Many times, the skills used in your first career will carry over. For example, if you were a banker, you may no longer want to work in a bank, but you may be able to help others with money management or use your customer service skills in a second career. Consider these questions at this stage:

  • What skills have you already developed to a high level?
  • Do you have a degree or working experience in a specific area that remains valuable?
  • Are you willing to obtain new skills for your second career?

Asking yourself these questions can help guide you on the path of choosing a second career. You may also wish to take a skills assessment test to help you to determine what your skill set is.

Turning Skills Into Profits

Determine how you can take your skills and turn them into a profit. For example, a successful executive may be able to offer consulting services within the same field. As a consultant, you have the ability to set your own hours and work for multiple clients. If you enjoy painting, you may be able to work for a gallery or you may sell your own pieces. For many, turning a passion into a profit is the hardest part of the process.

Making a Successful Second Career Happen

You know what you want to do and you are ready to make the change. Once the time comes, the following steps will help you to launch that second career of your choice.

  • Know your transferable skills. These are skills you currently have that will work well in your new career. Look at job openings within the field you are entering to learn how many of your skills transfer.
  • Update training and education to better fit a new career if it is necessary to do so. Community colleges and technical schools can offer advanced training or updates to your education.
  • Tackle your resume. It is critical that your resume reflect not your previous job qualities, but the qualities you have for your future. For example, update your education and skills sections to reflect your specific talents related to your current job goals.
  • Gain experience one step at a time. You are entry level all over again in many cases. Therefore, you need to work part time or work on the weekends to gain the experience you need to land that full-time job, if that is what you want to do.
  • Network to find job openings in your selected career. It is a good idea to talk to family, friends and colleagues that may be in the industry you are interested in moving into to find out about potential openings.
  • Mentor with a professional you respect. In some cases, you may not need the financial restitution right away. If that is the case, turn to a mentor and intern with that professional for a few months to gain necessary experience. This is especially helpful if you plan to start your own business.
  • Get back into the hunt for a job. Update your cover letter with each new application you send. Learn how to interview for a job again. Refresh yourself on negotiating a salary.

Career Planning Resources for Seniors

There are numerous resources to help you with this transition. These include the AARP Work Information Network that can help you find a job. Perhaps the most important advice is to just take a step towards your new career and make it happen.

Planning a Second Career After Retirement