The Occupational Information Network (O*NET)
The U.S. Department of Labor maintains an up-to-date computer database of occupational information. Called the O*NET, it provides detailed information for almost 1,200 jobs. Although the OOH is more useful for most situations, the O*NET describes many more jobs (and more specialized jobs) and provides more details on each one.
The O*NET database offers basic descriptions for each of its jobs, plus 450 additional data elements for each job. Keep in mind that the O*NET is a complex database and much of the detailed information it provides is not of much use for most job seekers. Fortunately, career counselors have developed more helpful versions of the O*NET database. A book version published by JIST and titled the O*NET Dictionary of Occupational Titles was designed to provide the O*NET information of greatest value to most job seekers in an easy-to-use book format.
The job descriptions in this book are presented in an easy-to-use format that is packed with information, including the following:
O*NET Number: The number to use to cross-reference other systems.
O*NET Occupational Title: The job title that is most often used for this job.
Employed: The total number of people who work in that job.
Annual Earnings: The average annual earnings for people employed in the job.
Annual Job Openings: The number of job openings per year projected for the job.
O*NET Occupational Description: A brief but useful review of what a person working in that job would typically do.
GOE Information: The Interest Area and Work Group for this job in the Guide for Occupational Exploration.
Personality Type: What personality type the job best fits with.
Work Values: Any of the job's 21 work values with high scores in the O*NET database.
Skills: A variety of skills needed to perform at above-average levels in each job. Depending on the occupation, some of these skills are quite complex; others are relatively basic.
General Work Activities: The general types of work activities needed to perform the job described.
Physical Work Conditions: Information on work hazards, environment, required physical strength, and other measures.
Knowledge: Areas of knowledge required to successfully perform in the occupation described. The knowledge may have been obtained from formal or informal sources, including high school or college courses or majors, training programs, self-employment, military, paid or volunteer work experience, or other life experience.
Job Characteristics: Includes several types of information such as interacting with others, mental processes, role relationships, communication methods, responsibility for others, and many more.
Experience: Lists the work or other experience the job requires.
Job Preparation: Provides specific information on the training or education level the job requires.
Instructional Programs: A cross-reference to a system that provides information on the type of training and education typically required for entry into the occupation.
Related Dictionary of Occupational Titles Jobs: Related job titles from the DOT, a standard reference book that describes more than 12,000 jobs.
The complete set of O*NET information is available on the Internet at online.onetcenter.org/. I recommend, however, that you use the O*NET Dictionary of Occupational Titles book because it was designed for career exploration and job seeking.
JIST operates the Web site at careerOINK.com to provide a variety of helpful career information resources, including the following:
Lookup of jobs in GOEinterest areas and groups
Quick lookup of the more than 14,000 job descriptions from the OOH, O*NET, and DOT
Military-to-civilian job cross-references and many other free resources