Monday, January 1, 2018

What Are Most Popular Jobs in Occupational Outlook Handbook?

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Most Popular Jobs in OOH [Shy Job Seeker]

Do you want to become a doctor or a detective? How about a nurse, a veterinarian, a physical therapist, or a software developer? Based on the most popular searches of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), so do a lot of other people.

The OOH is a vast online resource brimming with descriptions, facts, figures, photos, and videos on more than 300 careers. The occupational profiles explain what workers do on the job, education and training required, pay, job outlook, and much more. 

According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner’s Corner blog post, here are the top 10 most viewed profiles over the past year, along with their key data.

Typical education
2016 Median Wage
Doctoral or professional degree
Bachelor’s degree
High school diploma
Doctoral or professional degree
Bachelor’s degree
Bachelor’s degree
Doctoral or professional degree
Doctoral or professional degree
Doctoral or professional degree
High school diploma

As you can see, most of these careers require a bachelor’s or higher degree and pay quite well. Of course, the information above is just the beginning of the OOH informational treasure trove. 

So I suggest that after you look at what’s popular, you dig into the OOH and search for your occupational gold, whether that’s a perfect career match, an interesting and meaningful career path, a good salary, or strong career growth.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

4 Smart Ways to Expand Your Job Search

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Expand Your Job Search [Shy Job Seeker Blog]Are you limiting your opportunities when job hunting? For example, are you looking for a specific job in a specific location? If so, you may be missing out on the best prospects, and it may take you longer to find employment. 

I often blog how important it is to target your job search so you are not applying for everything, including jobs that don’t fit your skills, qualifications, and interests. What I am pointing out here is that you can also be too narrow in your job hunt activities.

So, consider these 4 great ways to broaden your job search to get hired more quickly in a position that’s right for you:

  1. Expand your job title based on your skills. Make a list of all the job titles that your desired job can be called. For example, a marketing manager may be called a brand manager, account manager, product manager, communications director, campaign manager, sales director, product specialist, promotions director, social media coordinator, or any number of other variations. Most online job sites will bring up related job titles in a search. Don’t ignore the job titles that look like a poor match at first glance; read the job ad and consider whether your background fits the role. Also important are your transferable skills—those skills that easily transfer from one occupation to another, such as computer skills, writing skills, organizational skills, and public speaking. As you look at other job titles, think whether you have the skills to do the job, even if you developed them in different occupations. If you need help determining your transferable skills for jobs, check out MySkillsMyFuture.
  2. Expand your target employers. Although you may really want to work for a particular employer, open your search to other companies and organizations that hire people with your skills and experience. Small and mid-size employers, startups, federal and local governments, trade associations, schools at all levels, and nonprofit organizations can be great places to work. Search online for such organizations and read your local business news for information on places that are prospering. Approach these entities directly with an explanation of how your skills can help them operate successfully and grow.
  3. Expand your geographic area. Short commutes are great, but looking at other cities, towns, and suburbs can give you more job options. Don’t rule out jobs that involve longer commutes. Perhaps the organization offers telecommuting or a shortened work week that would ease the situation. Perhaps you would relocate for the right job.
  4. Expand your job search approach. Online job searching has become the norm, but don’t let it be your only job search method. Person-to-person contact is still the most effective way to job hunt. So reach out to people you know, network in your professional association and alumni groups, and attend events. Also reach out to employers directly, even if you don’t see their job ads. They may be hiring soon, and you will be first in line.
Expanding your job hunt can open you up to many career possibilities. Think about ways to increase your reach, and watch your opportunities multiply.

Friday, November 3, 2017

2018-2019 Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) Published Online--Earliest Release Ever

Quoted, Compiled, and Adapted from Various U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Information Sources

The 2018-2019 Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) was released on Oct. 24, 2017, by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The OOH release occurred simultaneously with publication of new employment projections for the 2016-2026 decade. In the past, at least several months would elapse between the projections’ data release and the OOH’s physical publication. With the online OOH publication, the delay no longer exists. In fact, this OOH release is the earliest ever. Frankly, I'm not sure the BLS is labeling this OOH as "2018-2019"; I am calling it that based on past tradition and to help distinguish the "editions." The OOH is one of the nation’s most widely used career information resources. 

BLS currently releases new employment projections every 2 years. However, in an effort to enhance the timeliness of the projections data and the OOH, the Employment Projections program plans to transition to an annual release of projections. Moving to annual projections will allow new research to be incorporated into the published projections sooner, improving the overall quality. In addition, non-projection information in the OOH will be updated in real time, rather than once every 2 years.

Per the projections, employment is expected to increase by 11.5 million over the next decade, an increase from 156.1 million to 167.6 million. Health-care industries and their associated occupations are projected to account for a large share of new jobs projected through 2026, as the aging population continues to drive demand for health-care services.

The OOH includes information about 575 detailed occupations in 325 occupational profiles, covering about 4 out of 5 jobs in the economy. Each profile features not only the 2016–26 projections, but also details on the job outlook, work activities, wages, education and training requirements, and more.

New OOH Includes Videos [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
New OOH includes occupational videos.
Select profiles in the OOH now include career videos on the Summary tab of profiles, to the right of the Quick Facts box. 

In addition, the wage information in the OOH is now updated on an annual basis. The OOH reflects May 2016 wages from the Occupational Employment Statistics program and will be updated with May 2017 wages in the spring of 2018.

A graphic representation of projections highlights appears in the Career Outlook online.

Navigating the OOH Homepage

There are several ways to find career information about a detailed occupation:
  • Occupation Group Search. The OOH is broken into clusters of similar occupations. To find an occupation, you may browse the occupational group of interest on the left-hand side of the homepage. Clicking on a group results in a landing page of similar occupations together with their respective job summaries, typical entry-level education, and median pay. Typical entry-level education and median pay can be quickly sorted by clicking the arrows at the top of each column.
  • Occupation Finder. The occupation finder (located toward the top of the homepage) makes it easy to search for occupations by entry-level education, on-the-job training requirements, projected number of new jobs, projected employment growth rate, median pay, or a combination of these five characteristics. 
  • Search Box. You may also search for occupations by entering a title into the “Search Handbook” box at the top right side of the homepage.
  • A–Z Index Search. You may use the alphabetical index to look for an occupation. 
  • Browse Occupations. Clicking on these buttons takes you to three distinct pages: highest paying occupations, occupations projected to be the fastest growing, and occupations projected to have the most new jobs created.
  • Featured Occupation. With each visit to the OOH homepage, a different occupation will be featured that you can click on and explore.
  • OOH Glossary. The OOH Glossary includes terms frequently used in the occupational profiles and related pages, including general economic concepts, such as seasonal employment and the labor force; definitions of BLS resources, such as surveys and classification systems; and terms particular to the OOH, such as education and training categories.
  •  Question Mark (?). Certain terms in the profiles have question marks next to them. You can click on the question mark to read the definition of a term or about the section.

How OOH Profiles Are Organized

Each occupational profile in the OOH is made up of nine separate “pages” or tabs, as follows.

1. Summary Page

Quick-facts table; this feature summarizes key information about the occupation, including:
  • Median pay
  • Entry-level education
  • Work experience in a related occupation
  • On-the-job training
  • Number of jobs in the base year
  • Job outlook
  • Employment change
  • Summary information describes each occupation by basic characteristics (see items 2–9)

2. What They Do
  • Definition of the occupation
  • Typical duties
  • Specialties within the occupation

3. Work Environment
  • Number of jobs in the base year
  • Work setting, including potential hazards and physical, emotional, or mental demands
  • Employment by largest industries
  • Work schedules, including information on hours worked and seasonality of work
  • Injuries and illnesses (if relevant)

4. How to Become One
  • Typical entry-level education requirements
  • Important qualities that are helpful in performing the work
  • Typical on-the-job training needed to attain competency in the occupation (if relevant)
  • Licenses, certifications, and registrations (if relevant)
  • Work experience in a related occupation (if relevant)
  • Other experience (if relevant)
  • Advancement (if relevant)

5. Pay
  • Median annual or hourly wages: top 10 percent in wages earned, bottom 10 percent in wages earned, and wages earned in top-employing industries
  • Chart showing median annual or hourly wages in the occupation in comparison with median annual or hourly wage for all occupations
  • Work schedules
  • Union membership (if relevant)

6. Job Outlook
  • Projected change in level and percentage of employment, including a discussion of the following factors affecting occupational employment change: industry growth or decline, technological change, demand for a product or service, demographic change, change in business patterns
  • Chart showing projected rate of employment growth in the occupation in comparison with the projected rate of growth for all occupations
  • Job prospects, including expected level of competition (if applicable) and factors that may improve job prospects
  • Table showing employment projections data for the occupations covered in a profile, with a link to a spreadsheet that details employment by industry for those occupations

7. State and Area Data
  • Links to sources for employment, wages, and projections data by state and area

8. Similar Occupations
  • List of similar occupations, with summaries of their job duties, typical education level needed to enter the occupation, and median pay
  • Similar occupations are selected on the basis of similar work performed and, in some cases, on the basis of the skills, education, and/or training needed to perform the work at a competent level.

9. More Info
  • List of outside associations, organizations, and government agencies that provide career information for specific occupations
  • Links to O*NET, which provides comprehensive information on key characteristics of workers and occupations

With the OOH, you can learn valuable occupational information to make career and education choices and changes. By familiarizing yourself with the features of the OOH, you will be in a position to quickly and effectively help your life's direction.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

3 Best Ways to Help Yourself During a Job Search

3 Best Ways to Help Yourself During a Job Search [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
It can be difficult to know what to do first in your job search, especially if you have just lost your job and are shocked, upset, and worried. But by keeping in mind the following three key tips, you will help yourself stay focused and do what is most important for getting hired quickly:
  1. Be proactive in your job search. Don't apply for job after job online; many online job applications are never seen by a human being. So don't sit around waiting for employers to call you in response to online job applications. Instead, target the jobs you want and try to make a personal contact with organizations, either through networking or by reaching out to employers--even if no jobs are advertised.
  2. Stay involved and motivated. If you are unemployed, spend as much time as possible in your job hunt. Try to maintain a positive attitude. Expect rejection--it is part of the job search process. Don't take rejection personally, and keep going.
  3. Know your best skills and how they can help employers. By understanding what you can offer employers and communicating it to them, you are more likely to be hired.
Job searching can be overwhelming, so remind yourself of these three best ways to get on track and get hired. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Why Employer Research Is Critical in Your Job Search

Working for the right employer can be an important part of your happiness and success in a job. If you like, relate to, and believe in an employer’s mission, you will feel that your work makes a contribution. If you are interested in what an employer offers, creates, produces, or sells, you will be more connected to your work and the workplace. If you feel an employer values and respects you, your coworkers, its customers, and its work, you will feel proud to work there. If an employer offers a work environment, opportunities, and benefits that match your desires and needs, it’s likely you will be satisfied.

So not only is it essential to apply for jobs that match your skills and interests, it is crucial to find employers and work environments that suit you as well. For example, early in my career I was a copywriter for automotive parts. I loved the writing. But I did not enjoy writing about mufflers and car batteries. It was difficult for me to get enthusiastic about another tonneau cover or car top carrier. From this experience and others, I learned that the right employer is just as important as the right job.

That’s why employer research is critical in your job search. If you discover an employer doesn’t suit you in key ways, it’s better not to apply for a job opening there at all. Why waste your time and theirs? Instead, target employers you know are a better match. You may be applying for fewer jobs, but chances are you will be hired more quickly because of good fit.

So how can you do employer research? Here are some suggestions:
  • Scour online sources. Review the organization’s website, social media, blogs, news releases, and reports. You will learn about the employer’s purpose, focus, direction, size, growth, products, and financial situation. Many employer websites offer information for prospective employees on opportunities, benefits, and culture. Other sites, such as news outlets, may provide overviews, insights, and customer reviews.
  • Employer ratings on job search sites. Job search sites may give ratings and reviews from past and current employees. Take comments with a grain of salt but still read them.
  • Talk to others who work or have worked there. By talking with current and past employers, you may get the inside scoop on issues that are sometimes hard to learn about in any other way, such as expectations, culture, work hours, workload, managers, work environment, stress, company flexibility, pay levels, communication, and organization. Perhaps you can also make a networking connection this way.
  • Read your local news, particularly the business news. You can often uncover details about an organization’s activities and plans from the media. Has the company bought a building, launched new products, or announced growth plans? Conversely, has an organization been hit with lawsuits or downsized? Let any such information help you decide whether to apply for a job with a certain company.
  • Network with professional associations and career-focused groups. Associations and online groups that focus on your field have members that work or have worked for many different organizations. You may be able to uncover the best employers—and learn the ones to avoid.
After you have done the most detailed employer research you can, be sure to ask yourself whether what the organization stands for, offers, and will mean to you as an employee are a good match. If your answer is yes or possibly, then go ahead and apply. If the answer is a clear no, move on to the next opportunity. Your future self will thank you. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

15 Pointers for Winning Phone Interviews

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

You’ve learned an employer wants to interview you over the phone for a job opening. That means they are interested in you. So what else do you need to know? Sometimes a phone interview is a screening interview, used by employers to determine whether to take their interest in you to the next level. Sometimes time, distance, or a large number of candidates to interview makes phone interviews the next convenient step in the employer’s hiring process.

Be ready for a phone interview [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Be ready for a phone interview.

No matter, you need to prepare for and handle a phone interview in some different and not-so-different ways than for an in-person interview. Here are 15 tips for job interview success over the phone:

  1. Research the employer and the job. Know what the employer does and what the job entails by reviewing the job ad, the company website, and social media. Informed candidates come across as more interested in the job and better organized.
  2. Prepare some questions. Have a few questions ready for the employer, such as the biggest challenges of the job and what problems they need you to solve immediately. Don't ask about vacation time or salary until you are offered the job.
  3. Be ready to sell yourself. Be prepared to state your qualifications and how they meet the employer’s needs.
  4. Eliminate background noise. Find a place where you can close the door--away from the TV, barking dogs, noisy kids, the running dishwasher, and outside traffic. Ask others in your household not to use the vacuum cleaner, do laundry, talk loudly, or blare music during the call.
  5. Make sure you have a good connection. You want to hear and be heard by the interviewer. Find a spot with a good cell phone connection if you have no landline access.
  6. Ensure no interruptions. Turn off call waiting on your phone and ask others to stay out of the room during the job interview.
  7. Use the restroom beforehand. No flushing during a phone interview, please.
  8. Have water nearby. Get a glass of water ready and keep it on your table or desk, just in case.
  9. Have your resume, a notepad, and a pen handy. Your resume will remind you of points to make. You’ll be able to jot down key notes with the pen and paper.
  10. Be ready for the phone to ring. Make sure you know the right day and time (including the time zone) for the call. Have everything ready and answer the phone after one ring. You don’t want the interviewer’s call to go to voicemail.
  11. Stay focused. Avoid scrolling through social media, snacking, and other multitasking just because the interviewer can’t see you. Stay alert and focused on the conversation.
  12. Speak normally--not too fast, not too slow. Make sure the employer can hear you by speaking in a normal, well-paced tone.
  13. Show enthusiasm in your voice. With no body language available, you want your voice to convey your enthusiasm for the opportunity.
  14. Express your interest in the job. Be sure to let the interviewer know you are interested in the opportunity.
  15. Ask what’s next and thank the interview. Before you hang up, find out the next steps and thank the interviewer for his or her time and interest.

Phone interviews aren’t ideal, but they can be an important part of getting hired. By following my 15 tips, you will be ready to make a great impression in a phone interview.

Friday, August 4, 2017

First 5 Things Employers Look for in Your Resume

Reviewing resumes is not fun for employers. It is tedious and frustrating because so many applicants make errors, are unqualified, or come across as unprofessional. Here are the first five things I look for as an employer when reviewing resumes.
    First 5 Things Employers Look for in Resumes [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
  1. Who is this person? Does the name ring a bell? Might I know the person through my network and therefore be able to learn about the real him or her? If I know the candidate in some way, I am immediately more interested. So, if you can, reach out to a contact in an organization before applying for an opening. This step will most likely give you a leg up on other applicants. Although this action is not always possible, it is worth trying to make a connection, especially if you are excited about the job opening.
  2. Is the email address professional? I have seen job applicants use email addresses that are silly, nonsensical, political-sounding, personally descriptive, or borderline vulgar. I have seen job hunters list email addresses that they share with a spouse or that include their birth year. All of these uses show a lack of good judgment. When job seeking, use an email address that is some variation of your first and last names.
  3. Do I see typographical, grammatical, or other errors? If a job seeker makes mistakes on a resume or cover letter, I fear he or she will make errors on the job. Mistakes are an automatic rejection, so be sure to read your materials forward, backward, and out loud. Don’t rely on spell-check alone. Ask a trusted friend with good writing skills to read it also.
  4. Are the person’s experience, skills, education, and traits relevant to the job? This information is key, of course. Yet it’s amazing how many people will apply for jobs that have nothing or little to do with a job opening. So please save your time and the employer's time, and pursue openings that are a good fit for your background and abilities. Also take a few minutes to tailor your resume to the job. See my Shy Job Seeker post, Customize Your Resume in 15 Minutes.
  5.  Does the person have the right experience level for the job? If I need five years of experience for someone to do a job, I may consider three years of experience or eight years of experience. But I will most likely eliminate new graduates and someone who has been a manager in the field for 20 years. I want employees who can do a job but will also be challenged by it. If you are underqualified or overqualified for a role but interested in it, take extra time with your resume and cover letter to create a picture of why you are a great match for the job.

Employers go through resumes very quickly, so you need to make sure yours will stand out. Consider these five points, and you will take a big step toward getting hired.