Making career decisions requires a good understanding of self, the world of work and then matching the two (Parsons, 1909). Whether choosing a career for the first time or changing occupations, it is important to research careers well to determine which ones are suited to one’s personality and interests and which ones are not.
Fortunately for job seekers information about occupations is becoming more and more available and easy to use. One such resource is the Bureau of Labor Statistics which publishes the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This handbook lists occupations, skills and training needed as well as pay and employment prospects.
There are several ways users can browse different jobs on this site. One is by searching for specific occupations using the search box on each page; for example one can search for “engineer” in the search box that says “Search OOH”. The second one is looking at groups of occupations listed on the side menu on each page. An example would be “Service” occupations under which one can find “Healthcare support”, “Food preparation” and “Personal care”. A third way is to look at the A-Z index of occupations.
The Employment Security Department of Washington State also maintains a Labor Market and Economic Analysis site that has helpful information on careers in Washington. Information specific for Seattle – King County can be found here. Job descriptions on this site include different career clusters, length of training is required, earnings, and much more.
Choosing the right career
Bureau of Labor Statistics, (2011). Occupational Outlook Handbook http://www.bls.gov/oco/, Retrieved on September 29, 2011.
Labor Market and Economic Analysis, Employment Security Department, (2011). Workforce explorer – King County: http://www.workforceexplorer.com/cgi/dataanalysis/?PAGEID=94&SUBID=153, Retrieved on September 29, 2011.
Parsons, F. (1909). Choosing a vocation. Boston: Houghton Mifflin