Do you know what skills you need to develop for a particular job and wonder about the projected market for employment possibilities? Would you like to identify industries where your existing skills will be valued? Do you wonder about which skill sets are in demand in specific employment sectors or likely to be necessary in the future? In other words, do you think about how your skills and studies relate to actual employment? Do you wish that you had access to the employment information that the media or “they” keep talking about?
To think about questions like these (and others!) check out O*NET OnLine. O*NET is an interactive website maintained by the United States Department of Labor that allows you to compare your skill sets with possible occupations. Using O*NET’s more than 275 standardized descriptors of skills, knowledges, tasks, occupation requirements, and worker abilities, interests and values, you can use keywords to find possible connections between occupations and YOU!
O*NET is billed as the United States’ primary source of occupational information and the National Center for O*NET Development has an ongoing data collection program to keep information as current as possible. Data is gathered from three primary sources: people in jobs, occupational experts, and occupational analysts. Of course, many occupations require specific degrees and experiences and this is where O*NET can be really useful for students who are still deciding what to study. You can research occupations to see if your passions and interests might lead to a job that is currently in demand or expected to be in the near future. You don’t have to be an employment analyst or know one personally to access national research instantly through your personal computer! While nobody can predict the future, O*NET offers FREE, concrete information towards preparing for a career.
You could also decide to expand your current studies towards qualifying for a specific job or identify options in new employment areas that would be a good fit. If you find that you need to personally develop skills or credentials, you can use that information to feel confident in selecting a study program. In times of economic uncertainty, O*NET offered me a bit of comfort with some direct access to current employment and occupation trends. If you are questioning whether you should take on further study, or need reassurance to keep your eyes on the prize and finish, take a look! Who knows, a little planning could point you in a direction that pays off in employment later.
If you are thinking about changing career directions, O*NET is also a great tool for beginning to research how your skill might transfer to other occupations. You can explore occupational requirements and even find new areas that are related to your experience. I certainly enjoyed the feeling of sitting in the driver’s seat as I selected personal skills and attributes and then clicked to find occupational options based on national government data. Let me know if you find it useful! I’d like to hear what you think.
It’s all about you!