You have probably seen multiple “top jobs” news stories or blog posts recently. These come along every January, and are suppose to give you insight into what career fields have the most potential. You may have even been tempted to target your job search toward one of them.
Here are a few examples from blogs I enjoy and read every day:
- Top Jobs for 2013 (Come Recommended)
- How To Bag The 10 Top Jobs Of 2013 (Careerealism)
- Top 10 Jobs for 2013 (Forbes)
These sorts of lists are everywhere. Our local library has a printed copy of high demand jobs prominently displayed in the career section. Some career coaches, and many career books, recommend checking out the growth potential of an industry as a starting place for finding work. The government even maintains an online Occupational Outlook Handbook.
While there is nothing bad about these sorts of lists in themselves, there are some big reasons picking a career based on what’s “hot” is a bad idea:
- It doesn’t take into consideration your strengths. You’re not likely to be successful in a job you aren’t good at it. Can you learn something new with the right training? Sure, as long as it lines up with your natural strengths. It doesn’t matter how many opportunities there are, I’d never make it as a software developer – I’m just not wired for that kind of work.
- It doesn’t factor in what you actually like to do. The hottest career right now on these lists is nursing, or anything health-care related. Nursing is stressful, high-pressure, and you could kill someone. I’m glad some people want to do this, but I’m not one of them.
- It doesn’t account for what will be hot in 2014. There’s no such thing as a stable job anymore. What happens when you go back to school to chase down a hot career path, just to find something else is in demand when you are finally ready? The way to always been in demand is to be the best at what you do, not to try to accommodate a fickle job market.
My suggestion? Figure out what you do best, and then find work that allows you to do it. That might mean transferring a skill from previous work into something completely new. It might mean creating your own work. It might be someplace in between. In any case, start with you first.
What do you think? Have you ever considered “hot jobs” in making a career switch?