As suggested in a previous blog, once you have found your potential areas of interest for your next chapter, with help from friends, colleagues, etc., begin your exploration to find some organizations in relevant fields.
Start researching for volunteer opportunities in your potential areas of interest, using keywords associated with those areas. It could be as simple as typing in “Volunteer in _____________” to find a few organizations. You’d be amazed–there’s even a Plumbers Without Borders! Study their websites to understand how you might volunteer in their “worlds.” “Follow” the organizations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to understand their key “hot buttons” and progress.
Next, think about your skill-sets, knowledge, and experiences, much of which is transferrable to new industries or areas of interest. Maybe read What Color is Your Parachute or similar books to assess then list skills, key experiences, etc. to determine how they could apply to these new organizations. You are a Boomer with career / job success so think creatively how to express all your achievements.
Now network like crazy, going back to friends, family, colleagues for contacts in any of the potential organizations of particular interest. If they do provide leads, then ladies and gentlemen, start your networking! If you don’t have a contact, then search for a relevant executive–you can generally find names on their websites.
Begin emailing and/or calling these organizations with an introduction outlining your value. Study their needs so that you can specifically demonstrate the value that you could add. Describe how you can become an asset to them through volunteering AND ask for an information interview by phone or Skype with that executive. Offer to start volunteering on projects to show your worth, even at a long distance if your target organization is far away. Working on a project will indicate how you fit with their goals. If you try your hand at more than one organization then find you are not a good fit, at least you’ll have contributed something to their progress.
Whether this contact was successful, ALWAYS ask these organizations if they know someone at another organization with whom it might be good for you to informally chat. It shows your commitment to your area of interest. Your networking will lead to more branches of opportunities which will eventually help you find an encore career that will intellectually, emotionally and maybe even spiritually satisfy you!
We have more details of how Boomers might approach encore careers in our book, so please buy it, spread the word about it, AND review it. Find it at Amazon and other online book retailers as well as Books Inc. in Mountain View and Palo Alto, Book Passage in Corte Madera, and Orinda Books.