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Do they Need Me? Researching the Demand for Your Position

Determining your career path is the most important step in your Job Search or Career Search. To make sure you’re on the right track, you must know the demand for your position.

Imagine you’re going on a long trip. You know where you’re going and you have enough gas to reach your destination. But when you arrive, you find that the location is closed, or you came during the off-season. Perhaps a natural disaster has demolished the area. This correlates to a job search in which one is attempting to find a position that is no longer in demand.

Many jobseekers are in denial. Knowing that they were once successful in a previous position, they continue on the same career path; later wondering why their journey is without end. If you’ve been downsized, it’s likely that your former position is no longer in demand. If no companies in your area need someone to perform certain tasks, it’s like you’ve taken a trip to a destination that no longer exists.

Although it’s true that networking exposes you to extra, unpublished opportunities (since you’re not just chasing around after “job openings”), no one will be able to create a position for you if they don’t need anyone to perform the duties of your target position.

To save yourself from this fate, make use of research options to determine the demand of your target position:

Websites for Career Research: The following is a list of career research websites which includes links and a brief review. These sites can be a great starting point for your research.

  • O*NET: The anticipated growth for the career/industry can be found on O*NET as well as information on job titles, industry keywords, responsibilities, general education requirements, and salary ranges. O*NET is currently the best starting point for general career research. (Click here for a link to a guide on using O*NET which includes a link to My Next Move.)
  • Career One Step: This site organizes information differently than many sites. It was created by the Department of Labor and has similar information to O*NET. Information is sorted and presented differently which may be more user-friendly depending on your preferences.
  • Careers.org: This site is light on information and rather heavy with advertising, but it’s a decent resource guide as it provides a different perspective. On the occupation guide search, it offers a quick overview of the best and worst careers of standard job profiles.
  • MyFuture: The site is from the Department of Defense; it’s designed to push students and recent graduates into military careers. Despite this fact, the site offers a great overview of positions.
  • CollegeBoard: This site focuses mainly on students and College Planning. This can be useful for those who are planning to start or return to college.
  • Occupational Outlook Quarterly: This quarterly magazine from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics is accessible online.
  • Salary: Many of these sites include salary ranges. Don’t forget that your education, experience, demand, and location are important factors in salary research.

General Internet Search tips: Without using your city or state’s name in the search, your results can include anything posted in the language you use in your search. This is good general research, but unless you plan to move, you should not depend only on these general searches.

  • For a General Search: Type in your target position/industry’s name. Include such keywords as “Growth,” “Demand,” or “Shortage.” By using keywords such as “Jobs” or “Hiring,” you will often find job postings on such sites as CareerBuilder.
  • Recent Results: The most relevant search result for your keywords may not be the most recent. You can sort results by date in order to get the most recent information on your target position/industry. On Google, see the column on the left side for options on sorting results by the past 24 hours, the past week, etc.

News Articles: Articles about certain positions and industries typically include the anticipated growth rate and influencing factors. Local news stations, newspapers, and other publications often have websites which offer articles on growing or declining careers. In Indianapolis, such local information includes:

Local Library: Your local library is a great resource. Services may include:

  • Research Librarians: At many locations, you can find a Research Librarian. They are employed for the purpose of helping the library’s patrons find information. Many libraries get annual publications of journals and research books. Such research books include the Occupational Outlook Handbook and Standard and Poor’s (e.g. the S&P 500).
    • As their title would suggest, Research Librarians can be a great help with focusing your research. For example, by asking a Research Librarian about growth for an industry, he or she can help you focus the search to the growth rate percentage over a certain number of years—and what percentage of growth you consider successful.
    • Internet Search Services: Research providers such as ReferenceUSA which usually charge for information are offered free for members for some areas.

Look for patterns: If you’re networking and meeting many other people out of work, look for patterns of certain career types that have been downsized. Meeting many people in your area who have been downsized from a similar line of work is a strong indicator that the position may not be desirable in your area. Additional items to consider:

  • Competition: If hiring begins for that career again, there will be many people with relevant education and work experience (as well as connections) which relate to that position. To get that position, you will be fighting among many other qualified people for a handful of positions. According to the laws of supply and demand, when there is low demand, and high supply, the person who gets that position will likely be paid less since the employer has the advantage.
  • Industry Changes: If you’ve managed teams of people who perform a certain task, and there’s no longer a need for them, a manager will not be needed.

Research Interviews: Among the questions you will ask in a Research Interview (Sometimes called an Informational Interview), don’t forget to ask about the growth of the target position/industry. You don’t need to ask all of these questions since the interview should be brief.

  • Expanding segments of the economy that relate to your target position/industry
  • Related organizations undergoing growth.
  • The interviewee’s employer—specifically current trends in the market which pertain to the employer/industry.

Finding a career that is in demand will make your search shorter and more effective. For help with this issue and others faced in the career search, contact CrossRoads at 317-842-8881 if you are in the Central Indiana area.