9 Resources for Mid-life Job Hunters

BlogHer Original Post

[Editor's note -- You've identified a new career path -- now it's time find out where the jobs are. This week the Reinvent Yourself series looks at job resources for career changers. Be ready to bookmark these sites! -- Michelle V. Rafter]

Changing careers can be exciting, but it also can be full of confusion, fear and frustration. You are more likely to know what you do not want to do than what you do want to do next.

Well-meaning friends and family may offer help, but their suggestions are based on their experiences and feedback from others and may not be accurate.

Deciding to pursue a different career because you think you already have the skills for the job also may prove a dead end if your assumptions are incorrect.

If you have ever wondered what your dream job could be, why not be proactive? Search reliable resources for information about careers that interest you.

woman laptop cafe
Image by quinn.anya via Flickr.

Here's a list of resources for mid-life job seekers to help you get started. Of course, it's up to you to explore and then take action!

1. O*NET Online –This comprehensive U.S. Department of Labor website has a vast array of searchable career and occupational information. My favorite categories are Green Economy, STEM discipline and Bright Outlook occupations for the future (definitely worth checking out).

2. My Skills My Future – Another Labor department website, this one lets you identify and rate how proficient you are at certain skills. It is designed to help job seekers with previous work experience match their existing skills to new occupations.

3. America’s Career InfoNet –This website contains searchable information about occupations and industries, as well as state-level labor market information and resources. Career tools include an employability checkup, resources library, certification finder, employer locator and military transition portal, plus salary information, a scholarship search and more.

4. Occupational Outlook Handbook – The Labor department's handbook can only be described as a treasure trove of occupational information, including descriptions of jobs, working conditions, salary range, training requirements and future job outlook and more.

5. Career Guide to Industries –This companion guide to the Occupational Outlook Handbook covers 360 industries. Search it by a specific industry or browse all listed fields. It also contains links to job market information for each state, making it a must-have career research tool.

6. The Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers – Idealist offers four free PDF e-books with information on nonprofit careers: Nonprofit Careers for Sector Switchers, Nonprofit Careers for First-Time Job Seekers, Service Corps to Social Impact Careers, and Making a Difference: A Guide to Personal Profit in a Nonprofit World

7. VocationVacations – Ever thought about being a TV producer, B&B owner or winery owner? This site lets you explore 170+ fields via direct experience. It was founded by an entrepreneur who wondered if it would prove useful to try out a career before committing to it. 

8. Dig This Gig! To write her book, Laura Dodd interviewed a diverse range of people engaged in their dream jobs. Interviews are conveniently grouped by category: health care gigs, entertainment gigs, do-good gigs, green gigs, government gigs, outdoor office gigs, new gigs (blogging and other media) and more. A quick and fun read! 

9. Career videos by Dr. Kit Nast – Visit this site to watch interviews with people about their jobs videotaped by Nast, a community college psychology professor. The site is fairly new, but Nast is adding content weekly.

For more career exploration resources, including information on where to research employment trends, trade and professional associations, employers, job postings and salary information, read my featured article, Research Your Best-Fit Job, in the Reach Personal Branding YOUnique newsletter.

Susan Guarneri is a Wisconsin-based certified career counselor with expertise in personal branding, online identity and career management, distance career counseling and resume writing. She writes and speaks regularly about career issues and co-authored Job Search Bloopers: Every Mistake You Can Make on the Road to Career Suicide…and How to Avoid Them. Read more about her on her Career Assessment Goddess blog or follow her on Twitter.

An earlier version of this post was originally published on Career Assessment Goddess as Career Research – Path to a New Career Future.

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Kaplan University provides a practical, student-centered education that prepares individuals for careers in some of the fastest-growing industries. The University, which has its main campus in Davenport, Iowa, and its headquarters in Chicago, is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (www.ncahlc.org). It serves more than 53,000 online and campus-based students. The University has 11 campuses in Iowa, Nebraska, Maryland and Maine, and Kaplan University Learning Centers in Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri and Florida.

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