Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Career Prospects for the Realistic Personality Type

If one of your top 2 or 3 Holland personality types is Realistic, then you might be a little depressed by some of the job growth trends over the last 20 years. Many typically “Realistic” industries and occupations have suffered big losses: manufacturing and production of all kinds, farming and fishing, and even construction in the recent recession. The automotive industries and their suppliers have particularly been hard hit.

But there are many other Realistic careers with positive job outlook. And even within battered industries there are some bright spots.

Things to consider:
  • Look at the Realistic occupations related to high growth industries like health care, social services (childcare and elder care), retail and restaurant, science and technology, and computer systems. Technicians and mechanics that fix medical equipment. High-skilled manufacturing like pharmaceuticals or green technology. Think outside the box. Are there any companies near you in these industries? What types of Realistic jobs do they have?
  • With any career requiring a significant physical activity (as many Realistic occupations do), consider long-term consequences and your own abilities. Will you be able to hang windows when you are 60 years old? Can you plan a transition from an entry level, intensely physical job, to a less physical one that matches your interests? Again, talk with people working in the field. What are the common injuries? Physical demands?
  • Location, location, location. If you really are interested in a particular career, regardless of what the government or “conventional wisdom” says about job outlook, talk with local people working in that career to get the real story. Maybe your area is the exception to a nationwide trend.
To get started, look at the jobs that match your interests using the Career Key test. Then check the job outlook for each career that interests you.

From the Career Key test and website, you’ll find direct links to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) from each career you choose to explore. Each OOH description of a career includes a job outlook section that links to state specific labor market information. Career Key Canada provides similar links to the Canadian government's Job Futures with employment prospect information.

Top Realistic Career Key (CK) work groups* for promising job prospects:

1.02 Safety and Law Enforcement
1.03 Engineering
1.05 Construction Crafts & Support
1.06 Crafts – Mechanical
1.07 Crafts – Electrical-Electronic
* The Career Key organizes matching careers in unique, easy to use work groups based on interests, skills, and abilities. To learn more, click here.

The Realistic occupations predicted to have the most new U.S. jobs through 2016 (listed with Career Key work group number) are:

Automotive service technician (1.06)
Carpenters (1.05)
Cooks, restaurant (1.09), and
Police officers and sheriffs (1.02)

The fastest growing is:
Audio and video equipment technician (1.03)

In Canada, please see this list of the best Canadian job prospects in 2009:
For Realistic occupations, see (with the CK work group number)
Paramedics (1.02)
Civil engineering technicians (1.03)
Mechanical engineers (1.03)
Medical radiation technologist (1.03)
Technical occupations in dental health care (1.12), and
Underground miners, oil and gas drillers, and related workers (1.11).

A word about the other CK work groups...

1.01 Agriculture and Natural Resources
Farming and fishing have taken significant hits to jobs. Support positions in forestry, mining, and farming are slowly growing, but overall technology and overseas competition makes this a stagnant or declining area – except mining, oil and gas in Canada. Small “boutique” farmers with specialty seeds and crops are making a positive go of it – but you have to find your niche to make it work.

1.04 Transportation and Distribution
While there is an overall increase in transportation operator jobs (mostly in trucking), these occupations have overall seen a jobs decline. The number and quality of the airline pilot opportunities are much different now than they were 20 years ago.

1.11 Equipment Operation
Construction is rebounding is some places as the residential and commercial real estate markets loosen up. Opportunities to drive heavy construction equipment will follow a similar path.

1.12 Manufacturing and Production
Health science related jobs like dental or ophthalmic laboratory technician can be a bright spot in an otherwise dim outlook for manufacturing and production.

Next post: Job Outlook for the Investigative Personality Type. (in progress) Want to see the previous post in this series? Start with my introductory post in your Career Options Cheat Sheet: Job Prospects by Personality Type. It also has my recommendations for best Internet links for labor market information.

Source for U.S. Job Outlook: Tomorrow’s Jobs, 2006-16, U.S. Department of Labor
Sources for Canadian Job Outlook: Job Futures, 2009; Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

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