Kathy was downsized from her company about the same time her college-age daughter had to decide on her college major. The mother and daughter were both asking the same questions:
- "What do I want to do with my life?
- "Which career path will be best for me?
- "How can I make sure I'm making the right choice for my future?"
Are you asking similar questions? If so, you're going to find the best answers for yourself by taking a fresh look at yourself and at the world of work.
How to See the Future Today
One facet of exploring career options that is critical-but often overlooked-is investigating the future viability and demand for the types of jobs you are considering. Here are some resources for checking into the wage and employment trends for careers of interest:
1) The Occupational Outlook Handbook gives a detailed overview of career trends through 2018, including the fastest-growing jobs with their 2008 average salaries:
Biomedical engineers ($ 77,400)
Network systems and data communications analysts ($71,100)
Home health aides ($20,460)
Personal and home care aides ($19,180)
Financial examiners ($70,930)
Medical scientists, except epidemiologists ($72,590)
Physician assistants ($81,230)
Skin care specialists ($28,730)
Biochemists and biophysicists ($82,840)
Athletic trainers ($39,640)
Physical therapist aides ($23,760)
Short-term on-the-job training
Dental hygienists ($66,570)
Veterinary technologists and technicians ($28,900)
Dental assistants ($32,380)
Computer software engineers, applications ($85,430)
Medical assistants ($28,300)
Physical therapist assistants ($46,140)
Self-enrichment education teachers ($35,720)
Compliance officers, except agriculture, construction, health and safety, and transportation ($48,890)
The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) also gives detailed information about demand, pay, training and competition for more than 250 careers, including geographic-specific labor market information. For example, if you are considering becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer (ultrasound technician), by using the OOH you would find out there is a projected 18% increase in this field from 2008 - 2008. The OOH also enables you to compare numbers of people and salary levels for this job in different parts of the country.
2) The O*NET Online provides national as well as individual state statistics and projections of wage and employment trends for hundreds of jobs.
3) Online periodicals: US News & World Report features articles such as "Ahead-of-the-Curve Careers" and "The 50 Best Careers of 2010"; Forbes: "Hot Jobs For College Graduates (14 booming niche sectors)"; WSJ (Wall Street Journal): "The Best and Worst Jobs."
4) Networking and conducting informational interviews with people doing the types of jobs that interest you. Ask them about the employment trends in their field (in addition to other questions that will help you "try on" the job to see how it fits). Professional associations can be helpful in finding people in a particular field. (Do an internet search using a search term such as "meeting planner + professional association.")
Loving What You Do
Investing a little time now in researching current and future employment trends can help ensure that you will make a wise career decision for your future. But don't go for a "hot job: if it doesn't fit your design. You will find the most job satisfaction when you are working out of your God-given design. As Elizabeth O'Connor said, "We ask to know the will of God without guessing that His will is written into our beings. We discern that will when we perceive our gifts."
If you need a clearer understanding of your God-given design and the career options that fit your gifts, contact us about our professional career coaching and career testing services. God has created you for a purpose!
Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck, National Certified Career Counselors, are the authors of Live Your Calling: A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling Your Mission in Life. Their websites, www.ChristianCareerCenter.com, www.ChurchJobsOnline.com, and www.ChristianJobFair.com, feature hundreds of job listings from churches, ministries, and Christian employers; a resume bank; and many other career/job search resources and articles. They also offer career coaching and testing to help you discover work that fits your God-given design, as well as assistance with writing a powerful resume, interviewing effectively, finding job openings, and other aspects of a successful job search.