I truly don’t think of myself as someone who is a tech geek. On a scale of one to ten, I would rate myself as maybe a five when it comes to being up to date with the latest technology and gadgets. But even though I might not be on the cutting edge, many of my “best friends” are technology driven. 🙂
Today, I would like to share one of my “best friends” with the rest of the world, so everyone can see how amazingly helpful it is. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you . . . O*NET!
O*NET is a career exploration and job planning tool that is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. There are several different components that come together to make this a powerful tool. The component that I tend to use most often is O*NET OnLine, a comprehensive web application for exploring the O*NET database.
This database can be explored in several ways, but the one that I use most frequently is the Occupation Quick Search. It can be found in the top right hand corner of the main page. Type in the name of an occupation – either one that you are interested in, or one that you have held at some time in your career. Based on the occupation you enter, a list of possible database matches will appear. Browse through this list to find the match that is closest to what you are trying to explore.
Notice that on this list, there are some occupations with a sunshine icon beside them. This means these occupations are growing rapidly and more job opportunities are expected. There may also be some occupations with a green leaf beside them. This mark indicates that these occupations are related to green environment activities and technologies. Employment demand for these jobs is level at this time, but potentially this will change as emerging technologies impact occupations.
Once you find the occupation that best matches what you are looking for, click on the blue link to pull up a summary report for that occupation. In the summary report, one of the first things that I find useful is the sample of reported job titles. If you have ever experienced the frustration of typing an occupation into a job search engine and getting zero results, try these sample titles. There is a good chance they might produce more relevant results.
Next, check out the list of core tasks that are typically associated with your chosen occupation. If you are trying to create a generic resume to post in an online database, or if a job posting isn’t available, then this list of tasks can help you create a strong list of accomplishments. (Of course, in today’s market, you still need to customize your resume when you are responding to a specific job posting.)
As you continue to scroll through O*NET’s occupation summary, you will find the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities section will help you create a strong resume. It identifies the most typical and critical KSA’s related to a specific occupation. Many employers in today’s market request that you incorporate your KSA’s into your resume.
The Job Zone and Education sections tend to be my next stop. These sections give you a better idea of the kind of training that is required for your occupation, as well as the average education level of people already holding this type of position.
The next thing that I find interesting is the Interests section (pun intended :)). It ties into another O*NET tool called the Interest Profiler, which explores career possibilities based on how things you enjoy relate to the world of work.
Only three more sections to go . . .
Check out the section called Related Occupations. This section provides links to additional occupations that use the same basic skills as the occupation you entered. If you want to look into a new career direction that doesn’t need a ton of new education and training, this is a great section to hone in on.
Next, you will want to look at Average Salaries. This information is based on nation wide statistics, BUT there is a drop down menu where you can choose a particular state and get more geographically specific data.
Finally, there is an awesome new section that has been added to the summary report called Job Openings on the Web. This section includes a drop down list of states from which you can choose, and O*NET will then either pull up information on job postings it finds in that state or give you additional links to hiring boards.
Didn’t I tell you that this was one powerful tool?
And believe it or not, this is just one aspect of O*NET. There are multiple other tools and resources available on this site to help you with your job search campaign. So, techie or not, if you have never explored this site, I challenge you to give it a try!
Bobi Cook is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston area. She currently conducts job skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast region utilizing her MBA and over ten cumulative years experience as a professional educator, quality systems manager within the automotive industry, and small business administrator to help job seekers develop and implement successful job search campaigns.