3 tips for seniors planning encore careers

If you’ve retired from your day-to-day job or left a lifelong career, you may be considering an encore career. The term, used loosely to describe a second career begun later in life, is used more specifically to describe a later-in-life career change that’s focused on helping the public good or achieving personal goals.

Some encore career seekers want to help the environment, or invest their time in developing youth. Others are inspired by an art or other pursuit they didn’t have time for when they were younger.

If you’ve been thinking about an encore career, you probably have a handle on your area of interest. What can be harder to pin down is “What exactly can I do?” That’s where these three questions come in. Taking the time to explore and answer each one can help you find a fulfilling, rewarding, and realistic encore career.

1) What are your workplace interests?

You might be perfectly aware of your general interests, but have you inventoried your more specific interests? What are the individual tasks and activities that give you the most satisfaction? Knowing them can help you identify jobs or careers that could be the best fit for you—within your broader area of interest. For instance, do you like to build kitchen cabinets, write plays or books, or install computer software across a large network? An interest assessment asks you these questions and more to help map your interests to specific careers. Ready to get started? Visit CareerOenStop’s free Interest Assessment; it will ask you 30 quick questions and usually takes less than 5 minutes to complete.

2) What are your workplace skills?

Skills are different from interests in that they are areas you have mastered rather than areas you find interesting or fulfilling. Often, the two overlap. But just as frequently, people develop workplace skills because they needed them for their jobs—whether or not they were driven by interest in the first place. A skills inventory can help you identify your skills, and also map them to new career options. Visit CareerOneStop’s Skills Matcher where you can rate yourself on 40 key workplace skills.

3) What’s realistic for you?

Being driven by passion is wonderful, but there are many practical considerations when you’re embarking on a new career. Do you have the training or other requirements needed for you ideal encore career? Do you need to make a certain amount of money? Do you live in an area where jobs are scarce—or particularly specialized? CareerOneStop’s Occupation Profile offers information on typical salaries, employment outlook, education requirements and more.

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