Sunday, November 11, 2007

More Retirees Relaunching Careers

More and more Americans are beginning to realize that retirement isn't what it used to be. Rather than indefinitely leaving the workforce, many have discovered their retirement is really just a long vacation before they return to work. Choosing to make a career comeback, many of today's retirees prolong their stint in the workforce due to limited finances and boredom. In fact, 37 percent of retirees report having to go back to work after retirement, up from 27 percent in 2006, according to an April 2007 report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Although the decision to return to work is a common--and necessary--step in many people's lives, relaunching a career can be very challenging. Often retirees must overcome ageism and resume gaps to land interviews--let alone a job.

"Maybe you've been away from work only six months, or maybe for years and years. Regardless of the length of time, you are faced with some unique challenges in your job search and, more specifically, in how you write your resume," say Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark, professional resume writers and co-authors of Expert Resumes for People Returning to Work, Second Edition.

In their book, Enelow and Kursmark offer the following strategies for retirees looking to re-enter the workforce:

Present a strong 'Relevant Skills and Experience' section to draw attention to skills that would be needed in a second career.

Highlight skills using a functional-format resume. The focus of such a resume is on the job seeker's skills, qualifications, project highlights, and achievements. It's also beneficial to downplay previous work experience to avoid drawing attention to a gap in work history.

Consider eliminating dates and instead focus on and specific achievements or skills in a particular industry.

Include a 'Value Offered' section to outline key areas of expertise to interest employers.

Enelow and Kursmark's most important resume strategy of all, however, is one any retiree should bare in mind. "Whether you are returning to a previous field or industry, switching careers entirely, or becoming a free agent, remember your resume is a marketing tool written to sell you," they say.

Expert Resumes for People Returning to Work, Second Edition, is available at all major bookstores and from the publisher ( or 1.800.648.JIST). To speak with the authors, contact Natalie Ostrom.