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Research - Job Market


Enda Goodwin
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When researching job and labor market information, there are a few things you need to consider.

Verify the reliability of labor market information; some organizations may present information that supports their interests. For example, a predicted rise in the need for a specific trade by a training provider could be aimed at selling their specific program. Confirming information with neutral sources will give you a more balanced view.

Talk to those who specialize in your field of interest. If you are considering taking a training course, talk to employers and employees in that field as well as the school to make sure the training is necessary to get into the field. Speak to at least three sources to get a clearer picture of the prospects of getting a job after training, the working conditions and potential for career advancement.

Consider the difference between general industry and occupation-specific information. For example, although the health care industry as a whole is growing, not all training in the health care field will lead to jobs. There are many health care occupations, and not all of them are growing at the same rate. For example, for the next four years the demand for Registered Nurses is expected to be greater than the demand for Medical Laboratory Technicians.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the good news for me (or someone with my talents and background) in this information?
  • What is the bad news for me (if anything)?
  • What new ideas does this give me about jobs I may not have considered before?

Additional resources

Links

  • O*NET OnLine is a US Department of Labor site that allows you to research occupations by growth outlook, skills, interests, and more. Each occupational report includes data on state and national wage and employment trends.
  • Wall Street Journal Careers is an excellent place to begin your research. This Wall Street Journal-sponsored site contains all kinds of good industry information including employment trends.
  • The Riley Guide has unique resources for each state and many of the territories of the U.S. Job seekers interested in finding location-specific resources for other countries should use the Riley Guide International page.
  • RefDesk is a "meta-research" page. On their homepage, you can do searches through Google, MSN, their own database, or do lookups in Merriam-Webster's dictionary and thesaurus. You can catch up on the latest news here too.
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