Look at ‘return-ships.’ Auerbach-Rodriguez notes that “companies are aware of the value of career re-launchers. Some companies now offer ‘return-ships’ specifically aimed at attracting them.” Like paid internships, but reimagined for the mid-career professional, these programs offer training, mentorship and a built-in support network. And they often lead to job offers at the sponsoring company. Cohen’s iRelaunch holds return-to-work conferences “to bring together hundreds of professionals interested in resuming their careers and employers that want to hire them,” says Cohen. Virtual job fairs are another great way to explore different opportunities. Many organizations will publish a list of companies ahead of time so that you’re able to research them and make a new connection. Another tip: See if your alma mater maintains a job board or offers job counseling for alumni.
Be realistic. Most importantly, have patience. Millions of Americans are searching for jobs, so standing out in today’s competitive job market is key to getting noticed. If you’ve been out of the workforce for a while, you may not immediately find a job that matches your former title and/or salary. Talk with friends and do some research to find out what the going rates are in your profession. And don’t hesitate to negotiate your first offer. You can also negotiate to sweeten the deal once you’ve had a chance to prove yourself, perhaps by requesting a performance bonus or salary review six months in. Beyond your paycheck, your financial advisor can help you evaluate the total financial package of a job offer, including stock options, bonuses, 401(k) match and other benefits.
Supercharge your savings. Once you start a new job, make sure to take full advantage of any tax-advantaged retirement plan your employer offers, and consider auto-escalation, which will gradually increase your contribution every year. Then schedule regular check-ins with your advisor. In addition to helping you plan your retirement catch-up strategy, your financial advisor can suggest ways to help you prepare for health care costs and other priorities you’ll have—years from now, when you’re ready to retire.