So you want to go back to work?

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The Silver Life - So you want to go back to work

When learning to macramé was not what you thought it would be.

You have looked at retirement and decided that there are only so many rounds of golf you can play, so many same old stories from the fellow Silver Surfers in your circle you can listen to, and learning to macramé was not what you thought it would be.

Okay, now you want to think about something that will challenge you, but not interfere with your leisure entirely. Maybe it’s time to think about going back to work part time or as a contractor (see our previous article Do I Have Any Advantages to a Company?)

How do we go about packaging and presenting ourselves so that we are considered and selected? I think that many things that we did to be ready for our first job interview have remained unchanged today for most employers. My wife has been in Human Resources for most of her career and we both shudder at what prospective employees assume to be proper dress, manner, vocabulary, and knowledge.

Most of us Silver Surfers already know the basics of how to present ourselves in a favorable light for best first impressions, but let’s go ahead and look at that and more.

I think the first, and perhaps the most important factor, is to realize what a valuable asset you are to any company. Look at us! We have a lifetime of knowledge of how the world works in general and how businesses succeed. We are not looking to take anyone’s job, but to supplement what is already there to allow for and encourage improvement and learning. We are an economic bonus for a company as they will not have to build in a benefits package for us, as we will be seeking contract work for a specific purpose and time with no strings attached.

Second is polish up your résumé. As a former executive and the spouse of a Human Resources guru, I can’t tell you what a good résumé is exactly, but I do know that short is better than long (I have never read a résumé over three pages).

Meet with a professional or a close friend and have them interview you for background. Stress challenges overcome and teamwork to achieve a goal. Be truthful – lies and creative colorings will sink you with a company. Learn how to use the modern media to submit your résumé. Many companies no longer accept written résumés.

When you go for an interview, dress appropriately. Either call the company or find out what the dress code is, go in business attire (coat and tie for me, business suit for women). Be well groomed, brush your teeth, and arrive a couple minutes early. Before the interview, research the company, its history, its profit profile, its executives, and its products.

For the interview itself, have memorized about twenty or so “war stories” of your successes over the years. When you are asked a specific question about the position, you can answer with something like “that is similar to what I did with ABC company when I …” This should only take 20 seconds to relate, but it gives the interviewer a better idea of your performance capacity in a like situation. Rehearse these with a friend or companion so they come out smoothly.

Always, always follow up with a written thank you note to the person who interviewed you. Even if you did not think the interview went well, future opportunities may come up with that company, and believe me, a written thank you note elevates you above the pack. It a courtesy too seldom seen by those doing the interview and will be remembered.

If this is somewhat intimidating on your own, you might consider working for a temporary agency to start. Of course they take a good sized bite out of your paycheck, but they also have the relationships with the companies, and can school you on the hiring process. Most have a contract with companies that allow a company to retain a “temp” and then get paid a finder’s bonus. So they would like you to succeed as well.

In any case, there is a potentially fertile field out there in which you may be able to meet new friend and colleagues, supplement your income, and prevent terminal retirement boredom.

Go get started.

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