Best Jobs for Retirees

Retired but want to get back into the workforce? Find out where to start.

July 24, 2008 — -- Before you can get hired, you must believe that you would be a great asset to any organization and that an employer would be well-served by you. Yet that's often easier said than done for older workers, many of whom face a range of fears about their employability. Let's address three common concerns:

1) "I'm old and I'm positive nobody will hire me because of age bias."

That's right, age bias—the gray ceiling—definitely exists, along with plenty of other biases in our society. Some people will not hire you because of it, which is an unfortunate reality. Don't succumb to it or throw in the towel. You don't need every employer to want you; you need only one to say yes -- and surely one is out there that recognizes your age and experience as an asset.

2) "Everyone says I'm over-qualified for the positions I'm seeking."

When you hear those words, don't hang up the phone or walk away. You have an immediate, confident response, which is, "I believe I'm well-qualified and I'd welcome the opportunity to address your specific concerns about my ability to excel in this role."

3) "My computer skills are OK, but not great."

That's definitely a legitimate issue if you expect to work from home or in an office where computer use is a major part of your job. But keep in mind, it's by no means limited to someone who's 60 or 70. I'm 37 and my computer skills probably wouldn't measure up to a hot shot who's 10 years younger, so all of us have to think about this. Don't assume it'll fix itself or that an employer will overlook it; tackle it head on by taking a refresher course at a community college, a vocational training center or even online. Not only does it look good that you've got current skills, but employers appreciate people who are lifelong learners. Instead of focusing on the negative—"My skills aren't great"—turn that thinking into a positive—"I'm a quick study and I'm always willing to learn."

Once you're confident in yourself and you're armed with the language to tackle some of the challenging questions, there are several places you can look for opportunities.

For more resources on working from home -- and advice on how to find legitimate opportunities visit

Best Jobs for Older Workers

1. Caregiving Services

Organizations are working overtime to recruit 50+ workers because they excel as personal and home care aides. It's become the second-fastest growing occupation, focused on nonmedical care: companionship, errands, accompanying to doctor's appointments, preparing meals, especially when a family member isn't available to do these things. There are national companies that do the hiring, such as Home Instead, Senior Helpers and Comfort Keepers.

2. Pet Sitting

Maybe you don't want to take care of people, but you'd be more than happy to tend to their pets. Fetch! is one national pet-sitting and dog walking service that lets you set your own hours and choose your assignments, and they're looking to add 2,500 sitters across the country before the end of the year. You can also check with your local pet-sitting services, which exist in growing numbers, for opportunities.

3. Temporary Staffing

Finance, accounting, administrative support and legal are some of the areas where temporary help is needed right now among experienced professionals, which is good news for seniors. These roles are filled through national staffing firms like OfficeTeam, RobertHalf, Manpower and Kelly.

4. Retail Sales: Bookstores, Drugstores and Specialty Chains

Retailers like seniors because they're typically more patient with customers and provide a higher quality of service. They're also more likely to stay, which lessens the cost of high turnover. Stores like Borders, CVS, Crate & Barrel and Target like to hire people who know their merchandise, so apply to places you like to shop.

5. Medical Transcription

Just yesterday I spoke with an executive at MedQuist, one of the largest medical transcription companies in the country, and they say there's a shortage of talent in this industry. So if you're looking for something you can count on for the next five, 10, even 20 years, this is a smart field to consider. You have to invest in training, which can take six to nine months, but there's ample opportunity if you are skilled in this arena.

For more resources on working from home -- and advice on how to find legitimate opportunities visit

6. Teaching Aides

Contact the local public school districts and private schools in your area now to ask about their staffing needs for the upcoming school year. Many hiring decisions will be made in the month ahead.

7. Small Businesses

More than 97 percent of companies have less than 100 employees, and they serve as the backbone of our economy. Don't neglect local businesses in your search. Most of them don't advertise their openings; they rely on word of mouth to fill their needs.

Tips to Remember When Job Hunting

Seek services catering to mature workers. There are now Web sites and a range of local and national programs supported by direct employers and nonprofit organizations that can connect mature workers with qualified leads and opportunities. Click here for a list of those and other valuable resources for seniors.

Avoiding scams with online opportunities. For many seniors, there's a legitimate concern about wasting money or getting sucked into online scams. There are two things to keep in mind, which will help you weed out many seemingly good opportunities:

* Exaggerated promises are the first warning sign. "Make $1,500 a week with no skills or experience!" "Join us for unlimited earning potential with as little as an hour day." Statements like that should be a red flag because every legitimate opportunity takes work and effort.

* No phone number to speak with someone. If someone is providing you with an opportunity to make money, you should be able to ask questions and talk to a live person by phone. Many new savvy online scammers have set up automated online chat boxes that pop-up to make you think you're "talking" to a live person, but no such person exists. Make sure you can talk directly with someone who'll answer your specific concerns, not merely refer you to a basic Web page.

For more resources on working from home -- and advice on how to find legitimate opportunities visit

Tory Johnson is the Workplace Contributor on Good Morning America and the CEO of Women For Hire.