Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Transferable Skills & Professions

One aspect of the job preparation stage, before starting the actual search, is to identify your objective. Sounds trivial, I know, yet I’ve seen many people overlook this step to their own detriment. As the old saying goes, without knowing where you want to go, it is difficult to get there.

For some, this process may be easy and even seem invisible - for instance professionals (accountant, teacher, social worker, programmer…) that want to remain in their field of specialty. Oftentimes though, job seekers don’t have such a clear cut direction and/or want to explore new options. In this case, both the interests and transferable skills of the job seeker need to be explored, to be considered alongside an understanding of available professions to create a set of suitable jobs to target.

There are of couple of websites that can assist in this effort. These sites are focused on the US employment market, but I think that are enough similarities that they hold a great deal of valuable information for those seeking career directions in Israel as well. Certainly disregard salary estimates, and you will have to make a judgment of what level of Hebrew skill is required for the specific role, but the details of the jobs themselves on these sites are fully usable.

First is O*Net (, the Occupational Information Network sponsored by the US Department of Labor. Here you can learn about new careers that match your skill set. This site has a lot of useful information and a variety of search options – some consider this combination comprehensive and others confusing. Although the site does take some experimentation to find the results that are most useful to you, it is worth the effort. One place to begin from the home page is in the Find Occupations section, clicking on Browse, and then entering a job title of interest in the keyword field. This will provide you with a report including: similar job titles, job description, tasks, tools and technology, skills, education, and related occupations. For instance, my first career in Israel was in technical marketing, so I entered these keywords. I was presented with a list of jobs sorted by relevance (similarity) to my field. Some of the jobs were ones that I would have thought of on my own (market research analysis), others were jobs I had heard of before but never really thought about as having such matching skills/tasks (sales rep), and there was a third group of jobs that even after reading the details I didn’t find a strong match (aquacultural manager). Nonetheless, this exercise did give me a quick glimpse into the power and relevance of this site and the process. Certainly you don’t have to use as your starting point a job that you have previously held. If you have always wanted to work as a fashion designer, and would like to learn about related jobs, use this keyword combination as your starting point.

A second site which can also be helpful is Job-Hunts career page: Here you will find jobs sorted by sector, and you can click on individual job title to learn more about them.
Using such sites, your own common sense and knowledge of yourself, combined when necessary by seeking the outside assistance of career guidance professionals, will help you plot a course that matches your interests and skills, and enables you to spend your working hours doing something you enjoyable and fulfilling.

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