One of the most rewarding elements of earning a college degree is receiving job offers you never could have imagined. Since each academic field of study leads to different job opportunities, doing some job market research before you start applying can be a great way to seek which careers are within your reach.
Researching potential careers in terms of how many job postings may be available, what the salary range is, and other details can help steer you in the right direction in terms of what job or career you want to pursue.
Fortunately, resources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Indeed are available to research the job market on our own, so you can see what’s out there before you start sending out your resume or updating your LinkedIn.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Before you set your heart on a specific career path, you should do research first. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a great place to start, since it provides publications, economic releases, and data tools with up-to-date statistics on various careers and industries.
Some of the topics that the BLS has data on are:
- Pay & benefits
- Occupational requirements
- Workplace injuries
- Spending & time use
- International information
- Geographic information
However, one of the most helpful tools is the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which provides data, statistics, and other resources for specific job titles among 25 industries.
Some of the provided data are:
- What they (job title) do
- Work environment
- How to become one
- Job outlook
- State & area data
- Similar occupations
While the BLS is great for quantitative research, Indeed is best used for finding job opportunities, company reviews, and salary expectations.
If you already have a specific career in mind, you can find available roles within your preferred city or state using the “Find Jobs” tab. Once you enter your desired job title and location, Indeed will provide a list of companies offering jobs that match your search. You will also be provided with other important information like:
- Role description
- Job qualifications
- Expected salary
- Job modality
You can also use Indeed to research companies via the “company review” tab. This feature provides users with reviews from current or former employees. Each company review typically consists of a summarized review, a pros and cons list, and an overall rank on a scale of 1-5. You can also find job opportunities and salary ranges for different roles per company.
Furthermore, Indeed has a “find salaries” tab, which you can use to research salaries of nearly any job title in any domestic location. You will get access to the expected benefits and salary range, including the low-end, high-end, and average baseline salary.
While the BLS and Indeed are some of the most effective tools for job market research, some other similar platforms include:
Conducting job market research is critical, particularly if you are going to be spending money to earn your degree. Thankfully, many resources are available that make said research something you can do from the comfort of your home.