As each year passes, whatever your age, it's the new 20, 30, or 40. Today, 55, though not technically a senior citizen by, say, Social Security standards, can qualify folks to receive "senior" benefits.
But, ask most 55 year olds, and many will tell you they feel 20 or 30 or 40 years old. Age is just a number, right? Well, when it comes to employment, the workforce is getting younger. With the advent of "tech" jobs, some kids have already launched their second startup before graduating high school.
Where does that leave the youthful-feeling, yet aging, population? Unless you own your own business, entering the workforce in your golden or near-golden years is no easy task. Let's say your spouse worked while you raised the family. Where do you begin to find employment that can best utilize your unique, valuable skills as a mature member of society?
And, considering the precarious situation the economy is in, the word "retire" has eluded many a lexicon for it is just not feasible to quit work and sail off into the sunset. For many older Americans, not working is not an option.
The first thing anyone should do is to ask a friend, a friend of a friend or neighbor. Sure, you can call it networking, but really just communicate to people you know, trust and feel comfortable inquiring about job opportunities.
Once you've done that and you feel the need to continue your search outside your social circle, think carefully about what is the best job for you?
Get your feet wet with temp jobs. Temporary or contract work is an excellent way to get back into the swing of things. Through agencies, you've got an advocate who can keep their feelers out for slots that need to be filled, sometimes, on a last minute basis, by vetted individuals ie you, who posses abilities, skills and talents that can serve an organization on a temporary basis. Build a good reputation, and stay on indefinitely as either a full or part-time employee.
Are you in good physical health and don't mind standing on your feet for several hours at a time? Do you like talking to people and selling them things? Try retail. There are lots of jobs that can be done in a brick and mortar store or over the phone. There is a spectrum of products and services that need to be sold every day. Start your search a few months before the holidays when businesses start ramping up their hiring process.
Though not for everybody, perhaps working for the government is an appealing option. If you keep your mind open, government jobs are not just those that require you to answer phones or work in a sterile, downtown office environment. There are all kinds of government jobs that allow you to work outdoors in nature, with animals, or people in need. Federal job openings can be found here: www.usajobs.gov
Is there a cause or organization you have a passion for? Start volunteering with a non-profit. Learn the ropes and regularly check to see if there are any paid positions being offered. Your experience and proven dedication will give you more of an inside track to paying gig.
There are also several resources to help those who have a more dire need to be gainfully employed. The Senior Community Service Employment Program is program created by the U.S. Department of Labor for low income seniors who need a job or new skills in order to get a job.
While there are certain qualifications one needs to pass, those who meet income limits can get placed into a community service type jobs, to start. These include non-profits, hospitals, day-care centers, senior centers, etc. From there, folks can transition into full time, permanent opportunities.
Each state is different, so be sure to check what criteria you need to meet to qualify.