Feeling stressed about finding a job or keeping your current one? You’re far from alone. Economic turmoil around the globe is making life tough for young professionals regardless of where they’re at in their careers—just starting out, looking for that next promotion, or hoping to make a change to something new.
The good news is that a number of fields are still expanding, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which currently offers projections through 2016. This ray of hope is reflected by career counseling like Eleta Jones, Ph.D., LPC, Associate Director at the Center for Professional Development at the University of Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut. According to Jones, with the right preparation, it is still possible to find great jobs that match skills, interests, and values.
Once you’ve identified a field with growth potential that matches your interests, there are a number of other things you can do to improve your odds of being hired. Some industries tend to cluster around a few geographic areas (the San Francisco Bay area is hot for biotech, for example), so researching where to look can be as important as knowing what to look for.
Below are some strong fields to consider.
“The best fields/industries for job searchers at this point in time are related to health careers—nursing, allied health professions, and such. Also, any field that serves baby boomers, such as audiology or optometry, will be areas of continuing growth,” says Jones.
2. Energy innovation
Independence from foreign oil is a top national priority, and many companies are also looking for greener and more sustainable ways to do business. Two places to start your green job search are energyjobs.com and greenjobs.com. Environment-related listings are also growing in numbers on high-end job sites like TheLadders.com.
3. Accounting and financial services
Businesses and individuals need these services regardless of the state of the economy. In fact, the current turbulence may create even greater need as investors look for reliable assistance in weathering the financial storm. Worried about job stability at the big financial firms? Now might be an ideal time to consider breaking out as an independent consultant.
Ditto for sales—a rough economy can make skilled salespeople even more critical than usual to the success of a business. Companies will also always need someone local to work with customers even if other parts of the business have been outsourced.
5. IT, including security and software development
Most industries are becoming increasingly dependent on technology and security in particular is seen by many companies as a sound investment to protect assets. Professionals who can bridge the gap between developers and nontechnical businesspeople are also increasingly in demand. Examples include business analysts, who help gather requirements for what new software needs to do, or those with expertise in foreign outsourcing.
Adult education is booming as job seekers looks for ways to expand their marketability. A new focus on programs such as all-day kindergarten and universal preschool is also creating opportunities. Jones stresses that math and science in particular are strong growth areas for women.
7. Food industries
While high-end restaurants may be taking a hit as consumers tighten their belts, fast-food places and other quick and inexpensive options continue to do great business. Although many jobs in this sector are obviously low-paying, opportunities also exist for restaurant managers, franchise owners, and independent small-business owners.
Originally published on Nicole Williams