Career Key

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

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Comparing Top Career Information Resources: Occupational Outlook Handbook and O*NET’s My Next Move

When you’re looking for occupational information, which U.S. Department of Labor resource is better - the OOH or O*NET’s new My Next Move? My answer - use both, starting with the OOH for the best overall occupational information, then moving to the O*NET (or America's CareerInfoNet) for local salary and education information.   I found that:

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) was better for:
  • practical, detailed information overall about an occupation;
  • understanding the variety of work someone might do in that occupation;
  • learning about working environment - financial (private vs. public sector employers), physical (office vs. field work) and mental aspects (stress, number of hours worked);
  • exploring related occupations, especially ones with lesser education/training requirements in the same field (compare Veterinarians in the OOH vs. My Next Move); and
  • Understanding education and training requirements - learn more than just what degree or certificate is required.
O*NET’s My Next Move is better for:
  • Lightweight, visually attractive career option browsing;
  • Accessing and understanding local salary information;
  • Finding local schools offering the education or training required by an occupation (I found it easier to use but more limited in options than the U.S. Dept. of Education's College Navigator);
  • People or counselors needing lists of required skills and abilities, and technology use (i.e. vocational rehabilitation);
  • Learning about green occupations and industries (start with our Match Your Personality to Green Jobs article); and
  • Finding apprenticeship programs.

Note: Unfortunately, My Next Move’s “Tell us what you like to do” free career test is the invalid O*NET Interest Profiler.  So if you want to measure your Holland personality types accurately, take a scientifically valid, Holland-based career assessment. You can still use O*NET’s Holland interest areas once you have your valid score.

For ideas on how to learn more about occupations, explore these Career Key articles:
Learn More About Occupations
Learn More About the Jobs that Interest Me
Green Careers and the Green Economy

UPDATE April 2, 2012:  See my latest post on this topic, "Career Key Career Test & New Career Information Links from the 2012-2012 Occupational Outlook Handbook."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Practical Tips For Using the “What’s It Worth?” College Majors Report in Choosing a College Major

What might you earn if you choose a college major in _____? Try the new, free “What it Worth?” college majors list and earnings report from Georgetown University.  I have a couple of tips below to quickly gather the information you need for your college major decision making. After matching your personality to majors, learning as much as you can about your options is part of smart career and education decision making.

The most practical value comes from “What’s It Worth’s” free, short PDF downloads about groups of majors - and specific information about each major.  I don’t think the “big picture” graphs are as helpful. Everyone knows engineering majors make more money than social work majors. What’s more interesting is to learn about specific majors, comparing them to one another in the same group, and the variety of occupations and majors within industries.

Tips for Using the “What’s It Worth?” Economic Value of College Majors Report:
1.  Go to their “Interactive” webpage, click on “Where is my major?” to download their PDF college majors list. Print it (2 pages) or read it online and highlight the majors that you’re considering - and the “major group” that contains them.
The report's "major groups" do not necessarily line up with the Holland personality types. Most, like Agriculture and Natural Resources, contain majors for multiple personality types like Agricultural Economics (Investigative Majors) and General Agriculture (Realistic Majors).  These groups aren’t helpful for a personality-major match, but do help you explore and learn more about a whole industry or study area. 

2.  From the main report page, click on each group of majors you want to explore to download the PDF for that group. I clicked on the green tab and downloaded “Agriculture & Natural Resources”.
You learn about a particular major’s:
  • Popularity
  • Median earnings of graduates (not including anyone with graduate degrees)
  • Earnings’ boost from a graduate degree
  • Destination industries (where graduates end up working)
  • Gender and racial composition, earnings comparisons

The full report is called, “What’s It Worth? - The Economic Value of Majors” from the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.  It’s based on newly released Census (2009) data.  You can compare the median earnings between groups of majors. But there are limitations to the data, so check out what others are saying (including critiques)...

The New York Times “The Choice” Blog on "What It Worth?"
The Chronicle of Higher Education (Earnings Graphic)
(The comments on both are helpful - read them if you have time)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Career Key’s Most Popular Free Lists of Matching Careers and Education Options

Take The Career Key test once and match your Holland personality types to several different kinds of career and education options. Don’t miss all our free personality match lists using John Holland’s Theory of Career Choice, at The Career Key and Career Key Canada.  This is Part 2 of a series - see Part 1: my top 4 free Career Key career development downloads post here...

In our "Match Your Personality with..." series of articles, we,
  1. List careers, college majors, career clusters and pathways, and green jobs for each Holland personality type (and for Canadians at The Career Key Canada);
  2. Organize them into groups (by worker traits, skills, abilities...) using The Career Key test’s “classification system,” which was developed (and continues to be updated) by Lawrence K. Jones, Ph.D., NCC.  An important goal is to make exploration easy and practical - so that you can go beyond the usual doctor/lawyer/accountant options;
  3. Give you accurate, up to date information about each option; and
  4. Include specific advice and steps for making a good decision based on the best practices and science of career counseling and career guidance.
Please feel free to recommend these articles to friends and colleagues, and link to them.  Career test purchases (both individual and group discount) not only give you a valid, accurate assessment of your personality types with additional interpretation help, but they (along with e-Book sales) help us update and sustain these free resources.  Here they are!

Match Your Personality with Careers

Match Your Personality with Careers in Canada
Explore matching occupations by Holland personality type and Career Key work group. See up to date information about each career like the job description, education requirements, and job outlook.

Match Your Personality with Career Clusters or Career Pathways
Learn about career clusters and pathways and tips for making an informed decision, using Holland’s Theory.  Our map (also a free download) helps you visualize your choice.

Match Your Personality with College Majors and Training Programs
Match Your Personality with College Majors and Training Programs in Canada
Learn the steps for choosing a college major, along with lists of many sample majors for each personality type. A full list of all college majors and training programs in the U.S. and Canada is available in our new “Match Up! Your Personality to College Majors” e-Book, for sale in our eBookstore.

Match Your Personality with Green Jobs
Learn about the “green economy” and explore green careers by Holland personality type and Career Key work group. Provides career information from the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*NET. Tips for making a good decision. (Career Key Canada's Green Jobs article)