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."

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