Before you begin your job search it is important that you do some background research into which industries are hiring and what careers are quickly disappearing. I recommend conducting searches online, plugging in phrases such as "job growth sector", "job growth regional", and "job growth industry" to get a better idea of the opportunities available. If you are open to relocating, determine geographic regions that doing above average.
You can utilize major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing to obtain up-to-date information. If the results are not as current as you would like simply add the year to your search criteria, for example, "job growth sector 2013". Industries that are growing immediately hire employees while shrinking industries are a different story. There will be very few opportunities and those job openings will be quickly pursued by a large amount of candidates, making it nearly impossible for you to land the job.
It is important to know if you are in a difficult geographic area/industry so you can create a plan of action. Some of the fastest growing industries projected from 2008-2018 are home healthcare, software publishing, educational services, and management, scientific, and technical consulting services. Industries that have been hit the hardest with job losses are mining/quarrying, oil/gas extraction, agricultural, utilities, and manufacturing.
Now that you are equipped with basic information on employment opportunities you now need to determine what industry you are going to be best suited in. Think about other industries that will fit your particular skill set. One way to get your foot in the door is to consider part-time or consulting work. In these tough times many employers are filling positions with part-time workers, temporary help, consultants, and contractors.
After your research, answer the questions below:
Whatever path you choose to steer your career in it is always a good idea to do a little bit of research to understand the environment you will be hunting in. By asking yourself the above questions, you will save yourself time and have a better idea of the opportunities that exist within your area and industry.