Thursday, January 6, 2011

Where Should I Start?

Is it 2011 already? How did that happen? And here I have a resolution to keep by the end of the week. I've resolved to start a little blog to offer some guidance on researching careers and making career decisions. So many of the career counseling clients I work with come up against the same problem: information overload. They know what they want but don't know where to begin searching for it, or what resources are reliable. They have no time (or energy for that matter) to read book-length guides on each career they are considering. 

In the spirit of new beginnings, I'm starting 2011 with a pledge to try posting every week, beginning with an old standby, a veritable encyclopedia of work, the O-Net web site. I hope to hear back from readers, too. I'd love to know how these resources are working for you, and what doesn't work. 

So, without further ado, I present.....

What: O-Net,, a compilation of careers and their education requirements, salary information, etc. Compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Pros: Great at finding careers that match certain skills. Or finding duties and education requirements of a profession. Clear lists provide a lot of information for free, quickly. 

Cons: Information is presented in lists, and nuances of the career or job aren’t fleshed out. Sometimes the predictions of growth are suspect in my mind. For example, real estate agents are currently listed as a high-growth profession, but anyone thinking of going into that area during our mortgage crisis is going to encounter another reality.

Favorite use: Click on "Advanced Search" and “Skills Search” to locate careers according to what you can do best. Of course, I entered my own skill set and the number one rank was nuclear engineer (sometimes the list is broad), so take it with a grain of salt.

Overall, a good starting point, but should never be the last word on your career.

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