Whether you have a job or not, or love your job or not, you should keep your resume updated. You never know what opportunities might fall into your lap. With an updated resume, you’ll be able to jump at those opportunities when they knock.
One place to go is the US Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. I know, it’s a mouthful. But this is a very valuable tool when it comes to making career decisions and planning for the future. At the OOH online, you can browse different occupations and find out what the jobs are about, what requirements you have to have going into them, and what you can expect to get paid.
For example, you want to be a teacher. You look up the Education, Training, and Library category. You browse through the list of related occupations and pick one. Say you’d like to either work with preschoolers or kindergarteners. You can click on Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers and immediately see that the median annual salary is $54,550 per year and you have to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree. There is a great deal of detailed information about the job so you can decide whether or not it’s right for you.
To compare, you back up to the jobs list again and this time click on Preschool Teachers. Right away you can see that preschool teachers earn a median $28,570 a year and only require an Associate’s degree to get started. This is important information when thinking about choosing a career path.
You’ll find not only teaching job information, but you’ll find occupations like Pest Control Workers, Electricians, Bartenders, Economists, and Firefighters.
So let’s say you already have a field that you have experience in, and want to keep working in it. What would you need the OOH for? Along with introductory information about the occupations, the OOH also lists the duties for each job. These are KEYWORDS that you should be using on your resumes! Compare your resume to the list of duties for your occupation. Are you using similar ones? If you’re not, you should be, because these are the strengths potential employers are looking for.
And as a side tip from someone who has taught numerous sessions about resumes–use action verbs to list your skills, and keep them in the present tense. Potential employers don’t want to know what you used to do, they want to know what you can do now.
So take a stroll through the Occupational Outlook Handbook and see how your job stacks up, or browse for a new career. Either way, you’ll find some interesting and useful information!