Job Growth in Hospitality Provides Plentiful
Second Career Opportunities
By: Keith Kefgen and Rosemary Mahoney-Browning  - September, 1998 

In our previous article we described the strategies for building a financially secure retirement. But what happens when you finally retire, only to find yourself missing the activity or work?

More and more retirees are going back to work in a second career. Lee Iacocca, the former CEO of Chrysler, commented after retirement that he "felt left out, useless and missing the sense of contribution he once experienced." The hospitality industry has been a haven for Iacocca, why not make it one for you?

Travel and tourism has been one of the fastest growing job creators in the country. Combined with low unemployment, job growth in the lodging industry makes it ideal for a second career. When hitting the hospitality job market, remember to keep these tips in mind:

The Search Process

Ask yourself what kind of work environment would best suit you. In comparison to your previous career, would you prefer a large company or small company; working independently, or as a team member?
Look at all of your options, perhaps you will be more valuable to another company now as a consultant, a contractor or a part time employee. Your previous employer may be interest in hiring you as a consultant because of all you specialized skills.
Attend job fairs to network and learn about new opportunities.
Search firms are also a great resource. Companies are looking more and more towards retirees that have the time and expertise to cater to sitting on boards or consulting.
Maybe you need to educate yourself in order to build a second career. According to the Department of Education, college enrollment for students age 65 and older has increased by 27% to 81,000, and another 356,000 students are age 50 to 64.

Once you have identified the type of job you want to pursue, tailor your resume accordingly. For example, if you want to be on a board of directors, illustrate your leadership skills, highlight areas of expertise, such as director experience at another public company, and so forth. Be clear that you are seeking a specific type of job or assignment as a second career. Below are a few guidelines for the interviewing and resume process:

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

When interviewing, make sure your clothes don't look 20 years old, but don't try to change your appearance dramatically. Age is in your favor when companies are seeking employees of a second career.
Keep away from cliches that overemphasize your age. Avoid statements such as "I've had over 45 years of experience in this field" and concentrate on how you can impact the company's bottom line now and in the future. 
Continually review related market conditions and keep up to date on industry trends and practices. 
The resume requires special care. Do not go into great detail about every job you have held. Describe your most recent and relative jobs. At the end of your resume, create at "Other Experience" column and simply list your jobs (Example: General Manager, Hotel New York, 1980-1986)
Understand your strengths and weaknesses and how they can impact a prospective employer.

Many new retirees are committing to philanthropy and volunteerism. Every national association in the hospitality industry is understaffed and over worked. Opportunities abound for politically connected seniors. Tax, ADA, and environmental issues are just a few of the topics that the hospitality industry needs greater representation "on the hill".

If you are a late blooming entrepreneur, there are numerous ownership and franchising opportunities in the industry. McDonald's for example, has targeted seniors for both employment and franchise ownership. They realize that seniors have retirement nest eggs, and the mental and physical stamina for running a business.

Today, retiring is simply a time to make a change, not just a period to improve your handicap. A second career should be rewarding, productive and enjoyable.

Keith Kefgen and Rosemary Mahoney - Browning are President and Assistant Vice President, respectively, of HVS Executive Search, the Mineola, NY - based human resources consulting firm which produces the Hospitality Compensation Exchange Annual Report.


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For additional information contact the firm at

HVS Executive Search
372 Willis Avenue
Mineola, NY 11501
Phone: 516-248-8828 Fax: 516-742-1905
or Email Mr. Kefgen at
Back to HVS Executive Search Index

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