My clients who are seeking an encore career often put themselves under enormous pressure to find the magic bullet that will help them figure out what they want to be and do at lightning speed. They’re approaching retirement in a few months and want to have it all figured out – like yesterday. That creates enormous stress and overwhelm and sometimes leads to depression. It takes time for those AHA moments. They get revealed slowly over time – it’s a process of exploring with a coach three important components:
Who are you: What are your strengths, passion, interests. Those answers should lead you to reflecting on how you could use them in your ideal job. If money were no object, what would you do? Have you buried a passion that begs to be ignited once again? How much money do you really need to live on? Can you relocate? Do you want to make a difference in the non-profit world? Would a small or large company be a better option? Can you be a consultant? Is this the time to be an entrepreneur? The Peace Corp has a program for those 50+.
What do you want to do? Brainstorm all kinds of jobs and don’t be judgmental. See what comes up for you. Sometimes taking an assessment like the Strong Interest Inventory is helpful to see what Top 10 careers make the most sense for you. Research the Top Companies to Work for in your city. Once you have some ideas, conduct informational interviews of people who are already in those jobs to uncover salary ranges, educational requirements and whether the job will allow you to use your strengths and skills. Do the results of your interviews mean you have to go back to school and how does that fit into the financial picture and timing? Narrow your choices down to one that you will focus on.
How are you going to get there? Between 70-85% of all jobs are found through networking. So, start beefing up your networking before you leave your job. This is the most critical thing you can do to find a job. Having a friend endorse you at a company is the way to land a job. Create an elevator speech so when you meet people you can let them know what kind of job you are looking for. Check out professional resume writers who will polish off that 5 page resume and reduce it to 2 pages. Practice interviewing skills with your coach if you haven’t interviewed in a long time.
The stress of finding an encore career occurs when you are trying to hurry the process. Ideally, if you know you are retiring from a long career and want a chance at a second career, then start this process 18 months before you leave. As mentioned above, the networking component takes time and those months will be devoted to meeting and re-establishing relationships. If you have the financial ability to stop working, you can decompress after you and take the time off to reflect — that would be another great way of approaching your quest for an encore career. Just remember it is a self discovery process, not a magic bullet, to have a second chance at another career.
We hope this is helpful to you! Katie Weiser, Career Coach at HallieCrawford.com.