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For the Seasoned Professional—What’s Next?

“What’s next?” is a great question at any stage in our career. It can be especially challenging for those who’ve reached a significant career milestone or who may be looking at retirement not too far down the road.

Karen Rubano
Alumni Career Services
228 Roosevelt Hall
90 Lower College Road
Kingston, RI 02881
p. 401.874.9404
f. 401.874.5525

Marie Geary
Alumni Career Services
228 Roosevelt Hall
90 Lower College Road
Kingston, RI 02881
p. 401.874.9404
f. 401.874.5525

If you are a seasoned professional asking yourself this important question, you are not alone. Research indicates as many as nine million people are in “second act” careers, and as URI alumni career advisors, we counsel many alumni about how to approach the search for “encore” opportunities. So, take a deep breath and give yourself credit for all you’ve accomplished—the skills you’ve developed, the information you’ve mastered, all that you’ve learned from the challenges of your professional life. All of these position you to contribute in a variety of ways in the workplace.

But without some guidance and a sensible approach, it’s easy to become overwhelmed during what can be an exciting journey of discovery. If “What’s next?” is a question that keeps you up at night, ask for guidance and try these steps as you begin your journey.

Create a database of your career experiences. This exercise will remind you of the experiences you really enjoyed.

Connect with people. Use and other networks to share your history and a hint of your vision. Let the conversation flow. Be open to feedback.

Research a variety of industries, companies, and organizations. Be curious and challenge yourself to discover new areas or ones you’ve never considered.

O*NET OnLine. Get the details on any job, role, or function! You’ll get the hang of O*Net very quickly. Place a job title or function in the search field, and enter into a world of occupational education. This nonprofit organization has done a lot of research on encore careers. You will love the information and opportunities you find at

Network. Once you begin considering desirable organizations and roles, it’s time to network. Create an elevator speech. Share some details. Ask a lot of questions.

Enjoy the journey. Once you push through being overwhelmed, “What’s next?” can be the beginning of an exciting journey. You may be surprised at what you discover and how much you enjoy the process.

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