Career cruising

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

You probably knew the economy was in a recession way before the National Bureau of Economic Research made it official this week.

Yep, you didn't need some acronym-ed government office telling you things are getting rough. But with many industries hemorrhaging jobs and leaving millions unemployed, you might appreciate a little career advice, right?

Career counselors, who hear from both job searchers and recruiters, are here to help. As a certified job coach and resume writer at Worthington Career Services on the North Side, Jeremy Worthington advises people across the country on everything from navigating job boards to choosing a new career.

Right now, for obvious reasons, the financial services, automotive and housing sectors are hurting most, he said. Even formerly successful auto dealers who'd built up a network through repeated buyers and referrals have been calling Worthington for advice, he said.

Stability and success aren't promised in these fields right now, but they're still core industries, and that doesn't mean they won't recover.

"Everything is cyclical," said Worthington, who grew up listening to his mom, Janice Worthington, advise industry leaders as the company's president. "It could be a long-term goal [for] when the market comes back. I'm a believer that manufacturing, engineering is not dead."

Rather, jobs in engineering, health care and accounting are the most promising, he said.

"Health care is always going to be a biggie," Worthington said, because of aging baby boomers who need care and an overall increasing lifespan.

But when those who have lost their jobs are added to the stay-at-home moms and thought-they-were-set retirees who've re-entered the job market in the recession, it's no surprise October's unemployment rate hit an all-time high of 6.5 percent.

Worthington said he hears regularly from people going back into the job market without recent experience and up-to-date-skills. He suggests those who find themselves cast aside mid-career or having a life crisis consider diversifying their knowledge and skills, whether it's learning a new computer program or giving a new career track a try.

"A lot of times at the local, community colleges they cater to working students," Worthington said. "You can take courses online."

The same advice about diversified skills goes for high school and college students considering a course of study. The struggle to get back in the game has created some interesting intergenerational competition.

"We are competing with our parents, and that pisses them off," Worthington said. "The one trend that I see is that everybody is now competing against each other. And it's really made the baby boomers go back and learn."

Take your pick

Here are some fields with both promising and poor outlooks. Average salary information is from May 2007, unless otherwise noted.

Hitch a ride to the top


* Environmental engineer, $72,350

* Electrical engineer, $79,240

* Petroleum engineer, $103,960

Health care

* Laboratory technician, $34,270

* Respiratory therapist, $50,070

* Dentist, $137,630


* Tax preparer, $28,510

* Accounting clerk, $31,560

* Accountant or auditor, $57,060

Not looking too good


* Carpenter, $37,660

* Construction equipment operator, $38,130

* Real estate broker, $58,860

Financial services

* Loan counselor, $36,550

* Budget analyst, $63,440

* Financial managers (bank manager, investment planner), $95,310

Automotive sales

* Automotive body and related repairs, $35,690

* Automobile salesperson, $38,900 (May 2006, based on hourly wage)

* Automobile sales supervisor, $68,600 (May 2006, based on hourly wage)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Statistics