Career Exploration: O*NET Online

Depending on how much you enjoy your current occupation, you may or may not have given much thought to career exploration — especially if you’ve been in the workforce for some time. However, for someone who’s fighting a losing battle against unemployment, or for whom Sunday afternoon means “I have to be at work in 18 hours”, O*NET Online is your new best friend. O*NET Online one of – if not the – most comprehensive career exploration websites. You can go in with a very specific position in mind and they can help point you to fields you might not have considered (you’re an accountant, but I bet you haven’t applied for a an accounting position at a mobile phone refurbishing company…). Or you can go in with absolutely no idea and they will come up with dozens of jobs you might enjoy, along with links to resources to help you find those jobs and get training.  It not only brings a fresh perspective to your job search, it’s actually really fun, too.

The parent page is called O*NET Resources. There’s about as much information on industries, occupations, and careers as you could find anywhere.  Just for example, you can look for “green” industries and jobs, if that’s something you’re passionate about. You’ll find everything you could want to know about the green energy industry, recycling and waste reduction, and green construction – among several others.  You can find a list of green occupations in increased demand, including descriptions and skills and education needed.

They also have a Bright Outlook section.  These are occupations that are either (a) projected to grow at 29% or more between 2010 -2020, (b) projected to have 100,000 openings, or (c) qualify as a “new and emerging” occupation (I know you’ve always dreamed of being a Radio Frequency Identification Device Specialist).

Once you get to O*NET Online you’ll see why I love it so much. You can relax and just click around, explore new fields, whatever – there’s a ton of information. But my favorite part of O*NET is the purple box on the right, “I want to be a…” which will take you to And on this page, there’s another purple box on the right, “Tell us what you like to do,” which takes you to their Interest Profiler…and this is not only helpful – especially if you try to be as open-minded as possible – but it’s really fun. I tried to be as blatantly honest as possible (would I enjoy building cabinets? maybe) and I was amazed at the results. The jobs on there were not in my current field and nothing I was planning on going into at the moment. But also on there was political sciencist, which was my college major and I loved. So I thought that was cool (and kind of amazing), and it got me thinking about my job choices and future plans.

One final tool I use is their Find Occupations page. In addition to everything you can learn about various occupations – some you may never even heard of – you can use the descriptions of the occupations to help you write your resume.  Say your last job was as a sales associate at Macy’s. I searched “sales associate”, clicked on “retail sales person” and found this. While you want to highlight accomplishments in your work experience, this database can really give you a head start on figuring out what to write.  So instead of  “worked cash register”, you can say, “Computed sales prices, total purchases and received and processed cash or credit payment.” And maybe add something in about how accurate your cash count always came out.

Hope that’s helpful!

Photo Credit: visualpanic

3 thoughts on “Career Exploration: O*NET Online

  1. Pingback: Grab Some Grammar: What is “etc.”? « The Working Girl's World

  2. Pingback: Resume Challenge: Transferable Skills « The Working Girl's World

  3. Pingback: Do I need to write a cover letter when I’m applying for a job online? « The Working Girl's World

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