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How can you improve your knowledge of what kinds of career options are available? Understanding external influences on your career choice, such as the economy, hiring trends, and the changing needs of industry, can influence your plan andinform the choices you make about your own career. As the world of work and job market evolve, so do the resources available to help us keep up with them. This enables a person to plan about his education.
- Outlook: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) performs a monumental service collecting and analyzing data about jobs and employment. In career advising circles, the BLS is relied upon for its biannual publication of the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH). The OOH includes a number of searchable components, including information about the projected need for workers in the future. These projections are organized by career field and are currently available for 2008-2018. Use this resource to explore the careers you are interested in and plan your education accordingly.
- Salary: You may have a specific salary in mind as a goal for your first job after graduation. This goal may be shaped by your personal needs, based on calculated living expenses and repayment of student loans. There are many sources for salary information to help you plan and set goals for your career. Compare estimates fromSalary.com, PayScale.com, JobWeb.com and the OOH to make sure your expectations are realistic for your field and your local area.
- Qualifications: In addition to your current academic program, will you need any specific credentials to enter the jobs you are interested in pursuing? The industry, and employers in your field, may have additional requirements related to education, training, and experience. These requirements might involve additional work on your part, such as extra coursework or professional certification. The OOH includes this kind of information, but you should also investigate state requirements, talk with potential employers, and look for guidance from professional associations and organizations.
- Workplace changes: The world is becoming a much smaller place as technology brings us closer and allows us to communicate and work with people from all over the world. Keeping up with the changing nature of the workplace can be daunting, but there are a few predictions out there. U.S. News presents recent changes in the world of work that include greater flexibility, increased entrepreneurship, and frequent job changes. Gartner, an information technology research firm, makes predictions for work changes in IT over the next 10 years. Among these changes are increased collaborative work, use of simulations, and virtual work situations. What are the predictions for the future of work in your field?
Awareness of opportunities and economic conditions also informs your choices. Explore these resources and create a short list of sources of information and news about employment that you can refer to on a regular basis for updates about your career fields of interest.
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