The Bureau of Labor Statistics Tips for a New Career

Career changers can consider data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and information from experts when they want to change their careers.

The BLS recommends five tips, which are:

  1. “Figure out your “why”
  2. Look at the data
  3. Connect with others
  4. Match your skills
  5. Get more information”

Answering “why” will answer what is pushing you to make a career change, whether it be job happiness, money, or skills.  Making a “list of the tasks you enjoy most” in your current job will provide you with information that you can take to a related job or a new career field.  The list can also help you “identify occupations you may want to enter, or it might help you decide to stick with your current occupation and instead work in a different setting or job.”

Looking at the data means finding “occupations that offer opportunity,” which the BLS can help you identify.  The BLS publishes a wide variety of graphs, tables, and charts with this information.  Additionally, the BLS will provide information to you on the education or training you may need to enter a career.  And of course, you’ll be interested in salary information, which the BLS also provides.

Connecting with others is especially necessary when looking for a new career, because lots of times when you change to a new career field “you may not look great on paper” simply because you don’t have the required experience.  In order find out what’s required to enter a new career field, it’s essential to talk to people in those fields or people who know people in those fields.  You can start talking with people you already know to get their knowledge on companies or ask if they know someone who works in that company.  Networking through social media is also helpful, but keep it professional.  Once you have identified careers of interest to you, do some informational interviewing.  Informational interviewing allows you to identify people “in an occupation that interests you.”  After identifying those people, go talk to them and have a list of questions you want to ask them about their work.  Be sure not to ask these people for a job.  You are seeking to understand the nature of their work, but if you ask them for a job, they will be blindsided and perhaps put off.  You can ask them for advice on “how to make your resume stand out when you’re ready to start applying for jobs.”  Also, you should send a thank-you letter or email to them after speaking with them for the first time.  If they’re comfortable with it, follow up with them from time to time to keep them informed of your progress.  If you know a person who works in a company where you want to work, talk to that person.  Sometimes he or she can help you become a “”referred candidate””, meaning  that person referred you for an interview if you apply to that job.  Secondly, these internal contact people sometimes “know about job openings as soon as, or sometimes before, vacancies are advertised.”

Matching your skills requires that you “highlight the skills you have that match” the job requirements.  “Focus on skills you have that are directly relevant to the job tasks, say experts, not the fact that you’re transitioning.”  If you’re not qualified to work it the career you want to, “start working toward it.  Do you need more work experience?  Additional skills?  Professional certification?  There are many opportunities for people to get up to date in a new field, often in a relatively short amount of time,” which does not “always mean earning a degree.”

In order to get more information on the “type of work you want to do and what skills you need to do it[,]” you can use the “Occupational Outlook Handbook …[that] provides information about nearly 600 occupations in 329 profiles that describe job tasks, wages, outlook, and more.”  To see the Occupational Outlook Handbook, click this link:  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/

Other helpful websites are:

 

Source and for more information:  Torpey, E. (2017, January). New year, new career: 5 tips for changing occupations. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2017/article/new-career.htm

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