© Daniel Gilbey | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Daniel Gilbey | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Your job hunt isn’t going well, and you aren’t sure why. You’re frustrated. You’ve gotten the right degree, and maybe you have some great experience, so why aren’t you making progress? To answer that you need to do some research and put your job hunt in context.

Let’s take the example of teachers. This is a career that has a specific set of requirements, and you’d think that if you meet those requirements, you have a good shot of getting a job. Education is a field that’s growing in most areas of the country, but if you check on the specifics of your job hunt, especially the geographic area and your teaching specialty, you may find your up against a tough job hunt.

In Maryland, for example, there is a shortage of dance and art teachers, but enough music teachers, according to recent state reports on hiring needs. If you happen to be in the middle of training to be a teacher, by the way, please, please, please take a look at these figures before you choose your specialty. The toughest thing to try to be right now in Maryland, I’m convinced, is an elementary school teacher. There is a surplus, and it’s a tough hunt.

If you look at the numbers, it might be tougher to be a kindergarten teacher in Maryland than it is to be an investment banker. But it doesn’t look like that kind of job hunt while you’re in it. You’re interviewing with educators, and they probably aren’t grilling you like they would at Morgan Stanley. Your friends and family probably aren’t warning you how tough it will be to get a job. It’s not like when you announce that you want to be an actress, but in some counties it might be as competitive.

If you don’t check these figures, you could be blaming yourself. What is it about you? Are you interviewing poorly? Does your resume have some typos that you can’t see? Are you just not meant to be a teacher? You could spin your wheels in self doubt for months if you don’t get the right information.

Context is everything. What about other career paths? Pretty much all nurses have a bright outlook, according to the Department of Labor’s web site, onetonline.com. The site offers growth predictions based on statistics it maintains, and is often a good resource for learning about different careers. Not any kind of doctor will have an easy job hunt, however. Family practitioners and general internists are not in high demand. Sports physicians, allergists and oral surgeons are, however.

What a lot of research shows is that some specialties are in demand, and some are not, and if you’re having trouble breaking in or making a shift in field like teaching, sometimes some very targeted training to develop a specialty can open doors for you. Most importantly, research will help you realize it’s not you, it’s the job market. You can stop blaming yourself and move forward with more confidence, and a strategy.

Need some help with your research? I’m accepting new clients. Contact me at meredith@mltcareers.com or 240-277-6224.