Posted On 26th May 2013

The Independent recently ran an article about affluent older men who are choosing to return to work having retired from their original career. In fact, the percentage of people working past State Retirement Age in the UK has almost doubled between 1993 and 2012, and two-thirds of men in “higher skilled” roles are choosing to stay on in work according to an earlier ONS study.

None of this comes as news to us – many of our clients fall into this category.

Why do they come to us if they have been so successful? First of all, they may not have written a CV for many years and the quality of their documentation will be especially important if they are hoping to work in a field unrelated to their first career. Secondly, some need to sharpen up their interview skills, particularly if they are going for the kind of appointments which are only filled by open competition.

There are many motives for people wanting to stay in work, not all of them money related. For many, the core reason is staying active. I remember seeing studies in the past which have said that the worst thing a highly energetic person can do is quit work entirely because that in itself can kill them! The social side to working is appealing, especially if you are still waiting for your partner to retire.


The group referred to in the Independent’s article were the highly skilled. On average, they earn around £50,000 and as a result had the kind of skills which can be deployed as company directors, consultants and advisers. Fit and active, and maybe facing up to the idea (financially) that they may live longer than anticipated, why would they not continue to earn, even if they wish to change the pace at which they do so?

So, what steps should you take if you decide to “unretire”?

1.         Work out your objectives. This is every bit as important as setting objectives during your primary career if you have a particular goal in mind.

2.         Build your networks. These may already exist if you want to consult within your former professional field but this is especially important if you want to work in a new field: people won’t know how great an asset you may be unless you tell them!

3.         Do your research. Other than through personal networks, where are you likely to find opportunities and what kind of support might you be able to draw on to reach your goals?

4.         Speak to recruiters who place candidates in the kind of roles you’d like. Not only may they be a gatekeeper but, especially if looking at a new field, they should be able to advise you about what people are looking for and how to portray yourself.

5.         Write your CV. Not only is this a must if you want to enter a new field but it will be important if you want to take on a broad range of interim or contract assignments. It won’t surprise you that I’d advise you to get some help with this, especially if it has been many years since you’ve written a CV.

Your second career can be as rewarding as your first. If you’d appreciate support as you take your first steps, dont hesitate to drop us a line!

Heidi Nicholson
Photo: By Areyn (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons


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