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10 Tips | By Laura Coffey

10 Tips: Attention, job seekers

It can be hard to maintain optimism when we have so much bleak economic news bombarding us on a daily basis — and that's especially true for people who are looking for jobs in this market. Take heart, though: Certain career fields really and truly are hiring right now. • Jennifer Grasz, a spokeswoman for the employment Web site, crunched some industry data and shared these insights about where and how job seekers should be directing their efforts.

1Give health care a shot. Even if you're not trained in a medical profession, don't breeze past this tip too quickly. Grasz noted that the health care industry is adding 300,000 positions each year — and those are both medical and nonmedical positions. "So you can find IT (information technology) jobs in health care, and administrative and support functions in health care," Grasz said. "We're not just talking about the traditional shortage of nurses, pharmacists, radiologists . . . professions where it would take some time to go out there and get a degree."

2Sales can be a surefire area to try. Looking for a job in sales may seem counterintuitive. After all, who's buying anything these days? "But businesses always need revenue generators," Grasz said. "They're always going to look for top-performing sales positions. And this area has a 30 percent turnover rate, so they're always looking for new people."

3Technology is still ticking. Despite the recent news about the layoffs at Microsoft, there's still demand for people who are qualified to fill tech jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer-related jobs should grow by more than 20 percent in the next decade. Grasz said demand is strong for software engineers, network systems analysts, engineers and workers in Web-related occupations.

4Get thee to a government office. Local government agencies have been hiring people like crazy, and jobs are opening up at the federal level as well. The government sector added 250,000 jobs in the past year alone. "There's a lot of talk about the economic stimulus package fueling jobs in the public sector," Grasz said. "Also, many qualified workers in government are at retirement age, so they need to fill those seats."

5Education jobs are still out there. Nationwide, careers in education have seen some growth, but because of budget cuts, the jobs are not readily available in Florida. In some states, there is a movement toward universal preschool and all-day kindergarten, and a need for more special education teachers. Adults are also going back to school to strengthen their skills in a tough economy. "This is facilitating the need for more teachers, admissions staff, administrators," Grasz noted.

6Examine industry data yourself. If you want to see projections for an industry sector you care about, check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook ( Such research can help you decide whether to stay in a certain field or make the leap to a new one.

7Make yourself relevant. Especially if you decide to enter a new field, think hard about how to transfer your unique skill set to a new job. For instance, if you're an out-of-work mortgage broker, why not stress what you could bring to a broader sales job? Or if you've shown strong planning, project management and organizational skills in construction, why not try for a management job in government?

8Talk to people in a career field that may be new to you. Do you know anyone who works in a field that interests you? If so, could you shadow them for a day to see what that field is like? If that isn't possible, connect with people in that industry via networking groups online and professional or trade organizations.

9Study job postings. To understand what employers in an unfamiliar field really want, examine job listings with great care. Stay on the alert for keywords, which are responsibilities, skills and industry-specific terms — and then pepper your application materials with those same words.

10Employ survival techniques during your job search. If your employer is letting you go, ask whether you might be able to continue working part time or as an independent contractor. If that won't work, give part-time or temp work a try to some money coming in while you search

Laura T. Coffey can be reached at laura@

Source: (

5Education jobs are out there. Several factors are causing this: a movement toward universal preschool and all-day kindergarten; a need for more special education teachers; and the trend of adults going back to school to strengthen their skills in a tough economy. "This is facilitating the need for more teachers, admissions staff, administrators," Grasz noted.

10 Tips: Attention, job seekers 02/22/09 [Last modified: Sunday, February 22, 2009 9:26pm]
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