The Life-Changing Magic of… ONET – a powerful tool for career research

Career and job research can often feel like a slog, but (aka ONET) is like the Marie Kondo of career resources.

It can ?spark? some serious joy in your career planning.

Let’s dive in.

ONET is a fantastic resource for career exploration and job analysis. Whether you’re an executive looking to move on or an artist looking for a suitable day job (#SummerofStrikes #SAGAFTRAStrong #WGAStrong), you will get a ton of actionable and inspiring data from ONET.

Created by the U.S. Department of Labor, ONET is an online repository that lists over 900 occupations across the United States and includes detailed descriptions of jobs, including skills and education requirements, salary ranges by state (and even by zip code!!), and job outlooks, among many other features. It’s a career encyclopedia at your fingertips.

You can search occupations by skills you have (or are interested in acquiring), including soft skills like “active listening” and job duties, professional associations, and more. There are databases to access by Industry, Career Clusters, and Bright Outlook.

The Bright Outlook list includes professions where there is expected rapid growth in the coming years or a large number of job openings. When I searched the Rapid Growth section, Actors and Actuaries were the first two professions that popped up! See below.

Because ONET uses robust national datasets, you can also use it to gauge median and average salaries in your field if you were to move to a different state, city or zip code.

You can type any term into the search bar and several option will appear for you to go down your own personal rabbit hole.

You can even search by STRESS TOLERANCE!

Whaaaaa???? I know, right?

Not to overwhelm you, but you should also know that at the bottom of every occupation’s page is a section called “Additional Resources” that includes professional organizations and other information about that job. The opportunities for learning and understanding are endless.

I’ve only just scratched the surface about this crazy-good tool, but I think I’ve given you a lot to play with, friend.

When I show this site to my private career coaching clients, it’s as if a lightbulb goes off in their eyes.

ONET can be a powerful tool in your toolbox as you seek out your next opportunity. It can help you:

  • Open your eyes to opportunities you weren’t aware of before,
  • See how your current skills could translate to a new role, and
  • Learn what you need to get yourself ready for what you want to do next.

What do you think? If ONET can empower you to make more informed decisions and take meaningful steps toward your next step, then why not try it? Because you may not always be thinking about this, but it's true: a happier YOU sparks joy for everyone in your circle. And that, my friend, is life-changing magic.

The high cost of staying put

The high cost of staying put

Growing up, I saw my mother unhappy at work. There was a lot of political stuff at her office (it's perennial, I know), people one-upping each other and plenty of discrimination.

There weren't many protections in the workplace like we have now, and even if there were, she was a single mom and wouldn't have risked rocking the boat – anything to avoid retaliation or worse – unemployment.

I would ask Mami (Spanish for "Mommy" – pronounced the same way) why she didn't find another job and go somewhere else. But she always put me off.

Mami was stuck.

For 17 years, she languished at the Community Affairs office at the local hospital, underpaid, exploited and overshadowed by people who weren't blessed with her quickness or intelligence.

But they did have better English skills and more importantly, the confidence to wield their language and positional power to stay on top, all while depending on Mami to run everything.

She would say she stayed because of the job security and the proximity to home (across the street!).

But years after she retired, she confessed to me the real reason she stayed.

She was scared. And it broke my heart.

Then years later it happened to me, too.

There were a few years where I was in a job that was killing me… and not softly. But we were in a recession, jobs were tough to get, it was close to home and we desperately needed the money… sound familiar?

In those years, Mami lived outside of New York, so she didn't really have a sense of what was going on. But when I confided in her, she reacted quickly!

She said I needed to stop settling, get going, start looking, and see what was out there. I needed to MOVE.

Because she knew what happens when you don't move. You get stuck.

You know this to be true. Remember the first year of the pandemic? Where you didn't move for months and then all of a sudden everything hurt? You know exactly what I mean.

It's inertia, plain and simple… "a disposition to remain inactive or inert."

Inertia takes over your body, your mind, your relationships, and your career.

Unless you move or take action.

So what does movement or taking action mean in your career?

It means your career is active, not passive.

It's about more than just waiting for your 3% raise every year – if you get a raise at all. It has to do with keeping up with trends, understanding where your industry is headed, and maintaining or increasing your skills and your engagement in the work.

It also means knowing when you're disconnected and need to walk away to do something new, whether that means you get a new employer or enter a new industry altogether.

And it means you do scary things in the name of YOU and for your own sake.

Because success is when preparation meets opportunity and the most frightening acts you can make are making the decision to prepare yourself and then saying yes to opportunity.

Mami wasn't prepared.She was too frightened of the unknown. And for a while, I was, too. But she knew to push me, and it worked.

I was so blinded by my desperation and hopelessness around my work that I didn't realize it would take courage to move forward.

So I took it one step at a time: preparing myself by getting my resume together, applying to positions that fit and some that didn't, and asking around to see if anyone knew of any jobs.

Eventually I was able to move on and up, and Mami was really proud of me for doing what she couldn't.

So…. do you need a push to move?

If so, consider this your call to action. If you don't like where you are, move. If you're not in a good place, move.

Just take that first step. Mami is not with us anymore, but she believed in me, and I believe in you.

Resume Action Words and Why You Need Them

Resume Action Words and Why You Need Them

Resume action words are usually verbs and adjectives that you need to use in your resume. These words describe your professional skills, tasks, and accomplishments on the job. Also known as resume power words, they convey what you did, created and achieved at work, briefly but effectively. You need action words.

word cloud with several action words

You need resume action words that will make what you did at work come across as dynamic and catch the recruiter’s eye.

Here’s an example for a retail job, for the person who is the "key holder." This person might not be the manager, but being a key holder is a big responsibility. Initially on her resume, the first line of her job description reads, "responsible for opening and closing the store." That’s technically correct, right? But look at the words: responsible, opening and closing. These do not connote action. These are not resume action words.

A poorly worded resume is not a good marketing tool.

What does a generic sentence say to the reader, after all? Not much, right? Just as a good headshot creates an entry point for an actor to be noticed, so does your resume for you. It must sell you enough for them to want to learn more.

Let’s get back to our key holder. This person didn't just open and close the store. A key holder keeps people safe by managing the alarm system. She makes sure the store is ready to open and that tasks are handled at the end of the day for closing. She's in charge. This is where resume action words come in and why you need them. For something like this, specificity and clarity are powerful. So what about making that one bullet point – “responsible for opening and closing” into three bullet points that drive the point home that this is someone who gets results.

Never underestimate the power of carefully chosen words.

The bolded words below are the action words that make the difference and catch the eye.

  • Executed opening and closing protocols on daily basis
  • Mastered alarm system, oversaw store organization, coached employees on customer service practices
  • Collaborated with security and sales staff to reduce break-in rates by 15%

Don't the three bullets above look so much better? They show that you can be effective, creative and have agency over your career, whether it's your survival job or your chosen career. I found a comprehensive list of resume action words from MIT that I think will be helpful to you. You can do this.

When you're done punching up your words, make sure to apply my three fixes to your resume as well. You'll be miles ahead of the rest. If you come across any trouble, please feel free to reach out or join one of my free calls or Facebook Lives (coming soon). You'll be seeing more articles like this as well as case studies based on some of my clients which I hope you'll find helpful. So sign up for updates and follow me on the socials. I'd love to take this ride with you!