- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Hot Jobs for 2010

By Heidi Russell Rafferty, Contributing Editor

Article Sponsored by: USAA

Despite the predictions for a slow economic recovery, a tight job market doesn’t mean exiting military veterans can’t find employment. These days, searching for “hot jobs” requires a little creativity, say job forecast experts.

Here’s how to make sense of the current playing field and parlay your military experience so that you’re the first to be considered with the sturdiest of companies:

Look at what parts of the economy are growing the most, not what has an obvious link to military training, says Dr. Laurence Shatkin, author of “150 Best Jobs Through Military Training.”

Right now, the top one is health care, which is “the fastest growing part of the economy, and a lot of opportunity and occupations don’t require that you get a medical degree. They have a fairly short training period,” Shatkin says. For example, some people have been trained in health-related occupations, like ambulance driving or physician assisting, as part of their military training.

Other areas to keep an eye on: the green industry, which has an “unstoppable momentum,” but whose growth in the short run will depend on “political will,” Shatkin says. “More and more, we are moving towards a green economy and a lot of jobs.”

Ironically, another hot area will be construction, which tends to be sensitive to ups and downs in the economy, but because of the federal stimulus plan, there will be more jobs, he says. “That includes retrofitting buildings – making them more energy-efficient.”

For those with an entrepreneurial bent, there are even “hot” franchise areas, says Alisa Harrison, spokeswoman for the International Franchise Association in New York City. Those include senior care (in-home care, assisted living and other areas) and health and wellness (gyms, fitness and spas).

Next, seek the “spin-out” opportunities in those fields, says Stephen Norred, national director of recruiting services for Albin Engineering in Plano, Texas. He’s been recruiting veterans for 10 years and is also a Navy veteran.
Are you in record-keeping? Look for hospital record-keeping jobs. Logistics? Look at a company that boxes up and ships surgical equipment, Norred says. “Take the industry, and think of it as the center cog of the wheel, and the jobs you want are the spokes.”

Then, look at jobs that can’t be done off shore. Think of wind turbines. “In the military, there’s not a lot of wind turbine installing, but mechanical skills being learned. Those are transferable, and wind turbine can’t be off-shored, even the manufacturing of them. The things are so darn bulky, it doesn’t pay to ship them from overseas,” Shatkin says.

Although many information technology jobs have been sent overseas, there are also those that require people in country, Shatkin adds.

“Hands-on work,” he says, “working with hardware, putting in cards and installing networks and putting things together. Also, more high-level jobs are open with software development: people that design networks, databases and people doing systems analysis, taking a business problem and figuring how to solve that in informational terms.”

And don’t forget, location, location, location. If you’re the entrepreneur type and want to open a franchise, for example, don’t look for a “hot franchise type,” but examine your local economy. “See if there are needs in the area. That’s an important first step,” Harrison says.

“All of it depends on the concept and the needs. If there’s a coffee shop on every corner, you may not want to open another one.” she says.

You may have to consider moving to another geographic location, Norred says. The “hot jobs” could be completely dependent on your region of the country.

Freelancer Heidi Russell Rafferty is a reporter with 19 years of experience who writes about employment and business issues.


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