7 Questions Answered About Encore Careers

You worked hard and are now at or near retirement age. You want to stay active, but no longer want to commit to full-time work. You want to work on your own terms, give back to your community, or even start a new career path.

Does this sound like you? If so, you might be ready for an encore career.

Encore careers can be a great option for older adults who are looking for a way to continue working and enjoy retirement. Here are seven questions answered about encore careers.

What is an encore career?

An encore career is a position for individuals age 50 and older designed to meet unmet needs in the community. It is an opportunity to use your experience, passion, skills, and talents to work for the greater good.

Encore career was a term coined by Marc Freedman in his book “Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life.” It is defined as work in the second half of life that combines continued income, greater personal meaning, and social impact. Many of these jobs are paid positions in public interest fields including education, health, environmental, government, and social services.

Encore careers can be an exciting opportunity to change careers or try something new. It is a fresh way to include working into your retirement plans. Encore positions also help you develop new skills and experiences prior to re-entering the workforce.

Why do people choose an encore career?

There are multiple factors contributing to people’s desire to prolong retirement or to retire and seek out an encore career.

People are living and working longer. Since 2011, we have an average of 10,000 people turning 65 every day. This means that in 10 years, 1 in every 4 Americans will be 65. Because we are living longer, we are seeking out new opportunities that foster a sense of purpose and growth.

Encore careers are often shaped by changing career paths. While some career changes are sparked by changes on the work front as a result of layoffs, downsizing, or forced retirement, factors outside of work can also result in change. Life changes such as an empty nest, a loss of a parent, end of a marriage, new romance, an illness, or a move from a home to an apartment can cause people to evaluate a new career.

Today’s boomers and retirees are redefining retirement, with 7 out of 10 pre-retirees saying that they would ideally like to include some work in their retirement years.

Lack of financial confidence with current financial needs compared to lifespan is another reason why people are choosing to retire later or pursue encore careers after retirement.

Many encores choose to work because they are seeking purpose. Encore promotes the idea of wanting to continue to work in order to achieve a social purpose with a personal meaning.

Can I really change career paths as an older adult?

Yes! It is never too late to switch careers. And, it is the reality for many older adults. As we age, we gain more confidence in ourselves and the freedom to follow our passions. Changing careers provides the opportunity to use the experience and skills we have gained and apply them to new and exciting interests.

A University of Michigan study said that about 40% of Americans who were still working when they turned 62 had moved to a new occupation sometime after age 55.

An encore career is a great option for older adults who want to change careers. It allows you to work in a part-time setting. You have the flexibility to develop new skills and time to participate in learning opportunities when you are not working. Encore assignments are often short-term, so you gain a multitude of experiences for your new career path.

How do I prepare for an encore career?

Each person’s situation is unique. The individual paths we take to get to an encore career is what makes the experience so special and beneficial to everyone involved. There are several steps you can take to set yourself up for a successful encore career.

Practice your retirement. Take a sabbatical from your current job for 3 or more months to discover what you love to do. It should be easy to take steps towards your encore career while you are still in your current career.

Take a professional assessment. There are plenty of online tools available to help you identify your strengths and interests. You do not need to move 180 degrees away from what you do now. People with successful encore careers rely on their skills and hobbies.

Create your encore resume. Unlike a traditional resume, your encore resume focuses more on your volunteer work, experience, and skills that would benefit others.

Use your network for feedback. Your network of personal and professional contacts can help you identify, narrow, and test your niche.

Prepare financially. Not all of us are prepared financially to start our own business or new career. If your employment situation changes abruptly, having an excess cash flow and plan will be important.

Ask the experts. Encore Staffing Network, a division of VANTAGE Aging and funded by a grant from the Cleveland Foundation, is a great source to help you with your encore transition. By helping you to identify your passion and strengths, Encore Staffing Network can match you to a nonprofit needing your specific set of skills.

What is the process for Encore Career Network?

Each encore program uses its own unique process. At Encore Staffing Network, our process is simple. If you live in or near the greater Cleveland area, contact the Encore Staffing Network to get started.

First, you can register in person, call 216-361-9750, or visit us online at vantageaging.org. Then, we contact you by phone to assess your interests, passion, and experience. Finally, we will meet with you in person. Once that is done, we match qualified candidates with positions and connect you to an interview with a host site.

What types of careers do encores engage in?

The mission of encore careers is to channel the time, energy, and talents of experienced individuals into solving community challenges and filling unmet needs. Encore careers are designed to have an impact in our communities.

The possibilities with encore careers are endless. The program draws upon your expertise, passion, and talents gained over your career to assist non-profit and government agencies with furthering their missions. They need your expertise in marketing services, mentoring, program development, fundraising, tutoring, and many more areas.

How can employers get involved?

Hiring encores offers huge benefits to organizations of all shapes and sizes. Consider becoming an encore employer to select from a roster of qualified and experienced candidates. We screen our candidates to help you find your best match.

Benefits include:

  • Job candidates are interviewed and pre-screened, including software and clerical testing
  • Reference checks, criminal background checks, and optional drug screening are provided
  • We coordinate Worker’s Compensation Insurance, Medicare taxes, Social Security (FICA) taxes and Unemployment Compensation
  • We offer full payroll services when you contract with us
  • Reasonable fees paid by employers are reinvested into the mission of VANTAGE Aging

To become an Encore employer, call 216-361-9750 or visit us online at vantageaging.org. An Encore team member will be in touch with you.

*The information in this article is intended solely to provide general information on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. This article should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, medical, or other competent advisors.