New Book Focuses on Great Jobs for Older Workers

According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor, 2.5 million workers between the ages of 55 and 64 lost their jobs between 2009 and 2011. As of January 2012, less than half were re-employed.

If you are trying to re-enter the workplace after retiring or get re-hired after a job loss, you’re going to need an updated resume and a plan.

See also: Finding work after 50

AARP’s new book Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy…and Pays the Bills  serves as a helpful guide to the 50+ worker.

“Great Jobs” author Kerry Hannon has interviewed hundreds of people who have applied their expertise in different careers. The first half of the book profiles different types of jobs you can pursue. The second half focuses on strategies to land the job including resume writing, interviewing and networking.

AARP: Why is the timing of this book so important?

KH: It’s been a tough slog of a job market for the over-50 set the last few years. With layoffs and both public and private sector hiring tighter than a drum, it hasn’t been a pretty path for many job hunters. Jobseekers are hungry for a great guidebook to get them thinking in new ways about their work life-and to encourage them to imagine what they can do.

AARP: You’ve written about encore careers in the past. How is this book different?

KH: In my last book, What’s Next? I profiled people who had been inspired to leave their first career after 20 or more years to follow a passion into a full-blown second act career. Many had already taken early retirement and were ready to find work they loved that had meaning.

In Great Jobs for Everyone 50+, I write about jobs you might do on a seasonal or part-time basis as well as how to create a brand new career path, perhaps starting your own business.

If you consider that today’s 60-year-old might plan to work (at least part-time) for another 15 years, this book covers what kind of work they might want to do and how much they should invest in new skills and certifications. For readers in their 50s who are working, this book will spur ideas of the kind of job to segue into five or more years down the road.

AARP: What did you learn while writing and researching this book?

KH:The most exciting thing was interviewing people in their 70s and older, who were going hell bent for leather at their work-loving it like crazy. It wasn’t about the money, but the heart if it was the mental engagement and physical joy of being relevant. I’m 51 and I pray I have what they have when I get to that part of my journey.

The most challenging aspect was finding jobs I thought someone would truly want to do-not just ones to kill time until payday, or to stave off boredom in retirement. My job was to highlight jobs that really did make a difference, not only in a bank account, but a good karma account too.

It was sobering to talk to folks whose foundations were rocked by job loss and were in shock, struggling on shaky ground to come to terms with what to do next. From these emotional interviews I was able to parse out threads of core advice that worked. The reward of getting a call saying someone had landed a great job was sweet to say the least. ###

Looking for a job? Find job-hunting and career-related information, tools and resources at www.aarp.org/work. ETAlso see Kerry’s “great jobs” columns here, and explore Work Reimagined  a new resource for experienced workers.