Even though job searching gets harder with age—somehow you’d think it would get easier with practice, but it doesn’t—there are jobs available for every generation.
Start close to home and start small. Who’s hiring in your area? Local businesses are a leading source of job opportunities, and 97% of companies have fewer than 100 employees. So think about how your services can benefit someone small right in your neighborhood. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with a career field in the modern world without overwhelming your senses in a big company at a far commute.
- Call the Chamber of Commerce to ask for leads of local businesses that may have openings.
- Connect with the local branch of SCORE in your area to ask about opportunities to work for entrepreneurs.
- Ask friends and neighbors to keep their eyes and ears open for you among their circles of influence.
- Talk to your doctors, dentists and service providers. These are well-connected people who can often make introductions and referrals.
- Make it known to your favorite stores and businesses that you’re looking for an opportunity and you’d appreciate their consideration or their referrals.
Consider working for care-giving services. Organizations are working overtime to recruit 50+ workers because they excel as personal and home care aides. It’s become the second-fastest growing occupation, focused on non-medical care: providing companionship, running errands, accompanying clients on doctor’s appointments, and preparing meals, especially when a family member isn’t available to do this stuff.
Pay ranges from $8 to $15 an hour. Some opportunities are available as an employee with benefits and others are for independent contractors. Check with various companies in your area to determine their needs and your availability.
Among the resources to pursue for this type of work:
Become a pet sitter. Maybe you don’t want to care for people, but you’d love to tend to their pets. Fetch! Pet Care, a nationwide provider of pet sitting and dog-walking services, says the company plans to add 2,400 sitters to its roster by the end of the year. Company CEO Paul Mann says, “Sitters typically earn 50% of the retail price that we charge our clients. For example, if they board a dog in their home overnight they will get half of the $55 per night fee. Two dogs boarded overnight for one week would produce $385 in added income. Sitters choose which assignments they wish to take based on their availability and comfort level with an assignment. Sitters who wish to take on a lot of assignments can easily generate $1,000 to $2,000 or more per month in income. The demand for sitters who can board pets in their home is extremely high so we find that seniors can really increase their income and have lots of assignments through this avenue. They can also do private walks, daycare or visit cats and other small pets.”
Explore temporary staffing options. Finance, accounting, administrative support and legal are some of the areas were temporary help is needed right now, which is good news for seniors. These roles are filled through national staffing firms like OfficeTeam, RobertHalf, Manpower and Kelly.
There are also staffing firms that understand the specific needs and strengths of older workers. Working with a staffing firm, especially with a qualified recruiter, is great because you get the added benefit of someone who can be your advocate, which is helpful at any age.
Take a job in retail sales: bookstores, drugstores and specialty chains. Retailers like seniors because they’re typically more patient with customers and provide a higher quality of service than teenagers who also look for retail positions. Seniors are also more likely to stay, which lessens the cost of high turnover. Stores like Borders, CVS, Crate & Barrel and Target like to hire people who know their merchandise, so apply to places you like to shop. Apply at in-store kiosks or online.
Consider a job in medical transcription. MedQuist, one of the largest medical transcription companies in the country, say there’s a shortage of talent in this industry. If you’re looking for something you can count on for the next five, 10, or even 20 years, this is a smart field to consider. You have to invest in training, which can take six to nine months, but there’s ample opportunity if you are skilled in this arena.
Teaching aides are another job alternative. Contact the local public school districts and private schools in your area now to ask about their staffing needs for the upcoming school year. Many hiring decisions are made six to eight months in advance.
Seek services catering to mature workers.
There are now Web sites and a range of local and national programs supported by direct employers and non-profit organizations that can connect mature workers with qualified leads and opportunities.
- AARP has identified opportunities and advice for 50+ workers.
- Experience Works is a national nonprofit, community-based organization that helps low-income older people get training and find jobs.
- RetirementJobs.com is a job board with positions posted by “age-friendly” employers
- Principal Financial offers a “Happy Returns” program.
- CVS sponsors a seniors program.
- For resources on working from home, click here.
- For tips on avoiding scams, click here.
If you’d like to suggest valuable resources that we should consider adding to this page, please send us an email with details.
Women For Hire partners with a range of professional associations and organizations on both a national and local level. They are great resources for professionals and jobseekers looking to advance their careers through educational workshops, networking events, mentoring programs, volunteer and employment opportunities, career services and support, and much more. Among our partners are the following organizations:
The American Business Women’s Association is dedicated to the careers and personal growth of women. http://www.abwa.org/
AllAccountingCareers offers unbiased information about career paths, salary, and more. http://allaccountingcareers.com
The Association for Women in Science focuses on achieving equity and participation of women in science, and technology. www.awis.org
The American Woman’s Society of Certified Public Accountants serves women CPAs through leadership, networking and education. www.awscpa.org
Back to Business, LLC provides a full range of services for women returning to work or seeking a more fulfilling career. www.backtobusiness.org
Career Rocketeer is one of the fastest growing career search, development and personal branding blogs on the web today. www.careerrocketeer.com
DC Web Women is a professional association that supports and promotes women in technology and new media. www.dcwebwomen.org
DiversityWorking.com provides a link between Corporate America and professional job seekers from diverse communities. www.diversityworking.com
eWomenNetwork.com connects women business owners and corporate professionals. www.ewomennetwork.com
Financial Women’s Association of New York is committed to advancing professionalism in finance and the financial services industry. www.fwa.org
iHispano.com is a leading resource for employers and Hispanic professionals. www.iHispano.com
JobCentral National Labor Exchange was created to automate job distribution and help companies build their brand and candidate pool. www.JOBcentral.com
A career center for working women and comeback moms who want quality work-at-home solutions and family-friendly career paths. www.jobsandmoms.com
MBA Depot is an online community focused on–and marketed to–MBAs. www.mbadepot.com
MBA Highway is a comprehensive niche job board and career resource website exclusively catering to the MBA-level job market. www.mbahighway.com
Employment Options provides free nationwide work-at-home and community job placement services to citizens currently receiving SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) and/or SSI (Supplemental Security) disability benefits. http://myemploymentoptions.com/
The National Association for Female Executives provides resources and services through education, net-working, and public advocacy. www.nafe.com
The National Association of Women MBAs focuses on the challenges faced by women in business.
The mission of the National Society for Hispanic Professionals is to empower Hispanic professionals with information and connections. www.nshp.org
The National Society of Hispanic MBAs fosters Hispanic leadership through graduate management education and professional development. www.nshmba.org
Professional Woman’s Magazine is a Business, Career and Lifestyles Diversity Magazine for Today’s Woman. www.professionalwomanmag.com
PublicServiceColleges is a resource for opportunities in the public service sector such as social work or public health.www.PublicServiceColleges.com
The Society of Women Engineers is an educational and service organization representing both student and professional women in engineering and technical fields. www.swe.org
Tau Beta Pi, the world’s largest engineering society, recognizes students of distinguished scholarship and exemplary character. www.tbp.org
10 til 2, The Part-Time Placement Service, specializes in placing college educated women into long term part-time positions.
The Glass Hammer.com is an online community for professional women that offers news, advice, jobs and networking. www.theglasshammer.com
The MBA Exchange ® advises applicants on gaining admission to the top business schools
More than just a fair, The MBA Tour events offer unique formats to explore MBA programs and to help you discover your ideal school. www.thembatour.com
A networking community for professional women, featuring career advice from top leaders. www.womenworking.com
Work It, Mom! is an online community for working moms. Come to Workitmom.com to connect with other moms similar to you and share advice.
The QS World MBA Tour offers prospective students the opportunity to meet admissions officers from top business schools worldwide at a multitude of venues across the globe. This fall 2010, the World MBA Tour will be visiting over 72 cities and will be in North America this Fall. www.topmba.com
Think of an externship as an internship for people who are no longer students. Even though it will likely be unpaid (or you may negotiate a small stipend) this is a chance to gain current experience, which ultimately can be leveraged for a new paid position. Benefits of an externship include:
• Exposure to another profession along with first-hand access to the realities (highs and lows) of a variety of specific positions;
• The ability to develop new skills and build your existing skills by contributing to daily tasks and special projects;
• Current experience to include on your resume, which can be leveraged when applying for your next paid position;
• Access to new contacts to form and nurture professional relationships in your field;
• Long-term value derived from a short-term time commitment.
These benefits are especially valuable to someone who is focused on closing a gap in work history, gaining new skills, or switching fields entirely. Externships may range from three to six months, during which time you can work in one department or propose a rotation. (While you can certainly propose less than three months, many employers will frown on the idea of investing in getting to know you, training you and involving you in projects if you’re only there for a few weeks.)
When I Google the phrase ‘externship resources’, I get more than 100,000 hits, most of which are connected to university programs. Do your own search and visit the sites that pop up to find companies and government agencies with programs already in place. In absence of a formal program, you can pitch yourself as an extern, which is likely to have a better reception among small and medium sized employers. There is less bureaucracy in a smaller shop than in a giant corporation, which is a good thing since you’re probably looking for a quick turnaround on this proposal.
Just as you’re applying to several jobs at any one time, you should pitch an externship to multiple employers at once as well. Use your networks to find prospective employers, and cold call or contact the employers on your wish list. Since you don’t know who’ll accept your proposal, you must have lots of feelers out there.
Women For Hire’s Externship Proposal Template
Date: [Today’s date]
To: [Prospective employer]
I respectfully request your consideration to create an externship opportunity for me to contribute to the [department] at [employer]. This would create a win–win for both of us: You’d benefit from three months [specify your desired length of service] of my service at no cost and no obligation to you, and in return I’d gain valuable hands-on experience, which would aide my professional development.
Please think of an externship similar to a traditional internship, except instead of accepting a college student, you’d be agreeing to take on a professional who is out of school and can focus total attention on the position for career advancement purposes.
In addition to a great degree of enthusiasm and a commitment to excellence, I’d bring you [name the specific knowledge, skills and abilities you possess], which I am confident would benefit your organization.
Because I know this is a relatively new concept and not something that’s in practice now at your organization, I’ve taken the liberty to propose the suggested terms and conditions of such an opportunity for your review. This is just a starting point and I’m open to discussing changes in these terms to serve both of our needs and interests.
Duration of externship: [Start date] to [End date]
Anticipated hours per week: [Number and times]
Desired department(s) for assignment: [Where you want to work and why]
I agree that during this time I will not be an employee of [company], and my externship activities are subject to termination at any time for any reason. Further, I also agree that I am not entitled to compensation during the externship, nor am I entitled to a job at the conclusion of the externship. [If you’d like to propose a stipend to cover travel and lunch expenses, for example, this is the place to do it.] The purpose of this externship training is equivalent to the work experience for a vocational school or professional degree program and is merely an adjunct to such studies. [The purpose of this statement is to make it clear that you’re not technically working for free, which can be challenged by law. Instead, you’re receiving valuable training and experience in lieu of a salary. This minimizes an employer’s liability for allowing you to serve as an extern.]
You have nothing to lose, and we both have so much to gain if you’d entertain this three-month proposal. I’d bring you my skills and determination and I know I’d walk away with great insights and experience from my time with your organization. I’d be happy to discuss this in depth at your convenience. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
In this section, learn about some of our partner organizations that are ready to train and hire women of the workforce. Additionally, visit our sections for seniors, students and recent grads for help with transitional occupations. Help is also available when you’re looking to add a second job to your busy schedule and when you want to launch an entirely new career from scratch.