Alexandra Levit, career expert and author of "New Job, New You: A Guide to Reinventing Yourself in a Bright New Career," advises job-seekers to look at current trends that will cause industries to grow in the long term. "Pay close attention to ongoing developments in demographics, business and day-to-day lifestyles," says Levit. "Most importantly, job-seekers need to remember that changing careers is not something that happens overnight. It's a gradual process that encompasses important steps they need to consider."
Growing Career Fields
Everyone needs a good accountant
It is hard to avoid the nightly news or the newspaper reports about corporations under financial scrutiny. Changing financial laws and corporate governance regulations will continue to affect businesses and increase accountability to protect an organization's stakeholders.
These are just some of the factors that will drive growth in the field of accounting. In fact, the demand for accountants is projected to grow by 22 percent by the year 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Don't be fooled by traditional stereotypes - rock stars, movie moguls, fashion divas and companies all around the world need skilled accountants.
Living in the digital age
The world is becoming increasingly digital, with information being exchanged and made widely available at lightning speed. The unauthorized access and destruction of vital information is growing, and protecting these assets has become a national priority for the current administration. According to the Department of Defense, there were a reported 360 million hacking attempts on U.S. computers in 2008.
"We are entering a new dimension in cyberspace that is seeing a complete erosion of online privacy," says Erica Orange, vice president of leading futurist consulting company Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc. "Learning how to manage the control of data will be critical in the 21st century and will afford an abundance of opportunities within the field of information security."
Information security will continue to grow in importance and with it, the demand for qualified individuals. Network systems and data communications analysts, for example, are projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations from 2006 to 2018 at 53 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
All eyes on health care
An aging population, expanded access to health care and the increased use of online resources and telemedicine are a few of the reasons the health sector is one of the fastest growing employment sectors in the U.S. By 2018, one in 10 jobs is projected to be within this field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A shortage of certified personnel in the field of health care management and technology has made finding qualified people with the rights skill sets and education a central concern.
Making a change
Making a career change in order to pursue one of these in-demand fields requires implementing the right strategies, according to Levit. She recommends the following for career success:
Take time to do a self-assessment and look closely at values and preferred work style. Researching careers and industries that align with your interests and skills is key. Remember the usual suspects in the job-search process. Set up informational interviews and arrange onsite visits at companies of interest.
Consider the right degree
Gaining the right skill set for career advancement may require pursuing an advanced degree. Many individuals are overwhelmed at the thought of balancing job and family obligations, however there are accredited universities that offer flexible class schedules. DeVry University (www.devry.edu), for example, offers career-focused, higher education through online and on-site courses to accommodate students' busy schedules.
Remember to take advantage of all campus resources, such as those offered by the career services department. Networking with other students is also vital to finding career success - you never know who might be sitting next to you in class.
Set realistic expectations
There is no such thing as the perfect work situation. Every job has its ups and downs and "dream job" isn't code for "cushy" job. Like mom always said, anything worth having in this world requires some effort. Everyone feels like shutting the alarm off and going back to sleep now and again, but the right career track will turn the average day into an energized one.