Now that you’ve created your Occupations Roster, you are ready to finalize it.

There are other ways to search for occupations on O*NET besides the Interests Search.  It’s time for you use O*NET’s Find Occupations page make sure no good-fitting occupations are missing from your Roster.

The Find Occupations page has 8 different ways to search for occupations.  There is no need for you to use all 8 ways.  Instead, pick the ones that seem most appealing and relevant to you.  I have a few favorites that I recommend to most people:

  1. Career Clusters contain occupations in the same field of work that require similar skills. Click on the drop-down menu for “Career Cluster” and select a career cluster that matches your interests (Hint: Look back at your scores for the 31 basic interest markers on the Basic Interest Survey—are any of those basic interest markers that you scored high on listed in this drop-down menu?).  Look through this list of occupations to see if any are worth adding to your List.  Go back to the Career Cluster drop-down menu and repeat this process for any other career clusters that match your interests.
  2. Industries are broad groups of businesses or organizations with similar activities, products, or services. Occupations are considered part of an industry based on their employment. Click on the drop-down menu for “Industry” and select an industry that matches your interests.  Do the same thing you did for the Career Clusters.  You’ll notice that some of the entries in the Industry drop-down menu are similar to entries in the Career Cluster drop-down menu; this is intentional, and don’t let it stop you from doing a comprehensive search that includes looking at both sources.
  3. Job Families are groups of occupations based upon work performed, skills, education, training, and credentials. Back on the Find Occupations page, click on the drop-down menu for “Job Family” and select a job family that matches your interests.  Do the same thing you did for the Career Clusters and Industries.  As noted before, don’t let the fact that some of the job families are similar to certain career clusters and industries stop you from doing a comprehensive search.
  4. If you are potentially interested in certain occupations that require education in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) discipline (if not, then skip this step), then click on the drop-down menu for “STEM Discipline” and select a discipline that matches your interests. Do the same thing you did for Career Clusters, Industries, and Job Families.

Next, look at your Basic Interest Survey (if you didn’t do the Basic Interest Survey, skip this paragraph) results and make a note of which of the 31 basic interest markers you scored highest on and that you think are of most interest to you for a career. Search for occupations that fall in that basic interest marker area by using the “Occupation Quick Search” search bar located in the top-right corner of any O*NET website page.  Each time you search, you’ll see a results page listing the occupations in the O*NET database that are the closest match for what you typed in.  Click on the occupation(s) you were searching for and review the Summary Report for the occupation(s) so that you can make a decision about whether or not to add it to your Roster.

Lastly, consider these questions: Are there any other occupations that you, at one time or another, thought you might want to pursue for your career?” If any occupations come to mind, and they have not appeared on the O*NET lists you looked through, then search for each of those occupations by using the “Occupation Quick Search” search bar located in the top-right corner of any O*NET website page. Take special note of the Holland Interest Codes for the occupation (scroll down the Summary Report page for that occupation to find this info) and whether or not it matches the Codes you used earlier, as this might explain why this occupation did not appear when you were searching by Interests before.

Again, the purpose of this “finalize your Roster” activity is to add any remaining occupations that you otherwise may have missed via the Interests Search.  Ideally, there will only be a handful of occupations that get added to your Roster at this stage.

If you find yourself adding more than 7 occupations to your Roster during this finalizing activity, this could mean a few things:

  • You may be falling into the trap of adding occupations not because they are a potentially good fit for your career interests, but because these occupations are attractive for other reasons (e.g., good salary, prestigious field, I’m good at these kind of tasks).  There is nothing wrong with considering these factors when we get to Step 3, but for now it is best to concentrate on only adding occupations to the Roster that match your career interests.  This suggestion applies to most people using the SCEA (but see next bullet point for an exception).
  • Searching for occupations by using career interests may not be the best fit for you, especially if your interest results were ambiguous and if it was difficult to classify your types.  If this is the case, then it’s a good thing you are looking for occupations via this Find Occupations page.

Once you are done finalizing, ask yourself a concluding question: “Do I think that my Roster contains almost all of the occupation that might be a good fit for my career interests, or might there still be other good-fitting occupations out there that have not made it onto my Roster yet?

If you answered with a “Yes!” then you can move on to Step 3: Narrowing Your Occupations Roster.

If you answered with a “No” or “I’m not sure” then you’ll want to determine why that is the case.

  • Are certain kinds of occupations missing?  What might those be?  Where do you think you might be able to explore these alternative occupations?  Spending some additional time searching the O*NET database and other high-quality internet resources might help you work through these questions.  Sometimes just taking a break from career exploration can help clear your mind and reassure you that you probably have a complete Roster.
  • If you didn’t take the Basic Interest Survey to help double-check your career interest results, you might want to consider doing so now, and using that additional information to tweak your Holland Interest type classifications and resulting Holland Interest Codes used for searching the O*NET database.
  • Are difficult emotions coming up that have made it hard to confidently build and finalize your Roster?  Is anxiety about making decisions, perfectionism, procrastination, or other factors making things difficult?  If so, consider my earlier suggestions about getting support from others.

This is an important moment in the SCEA.  Having a complete Roster helps make the rest of the process go smoother and increases the chances of a deeply satisfying result.  If you can (and I’m sorry for being repetitive here!), I recommend consulting with a qualified career exploration specialist at this point in the process.