Even before headlines such as : “A Message to Aspiring Lawyers: Caveat Emptor”* warned would-be law students from suffering the fate of crushing debt with little hope of employment, others knew a law degree would be a bad idea and spared themselves from such misery.
At this time, only 21,880 new jobs are created annually for lawyers while law schools produce 44,000 graduates each year (as paraphrased from linked article). This is a shock to many recent graduates, but the impending storm was no shock to those who knew how to read the forecast.
You don’t have to be a prophet. You don’t need a crystal ball. You just need to know how to use some simple free tools to plan your future.
The easiest trick to avoiding the fate of students who have taken on great amounts of debt with little hope for a future position (recent law students have accumulated about $100,000 on average) is to make sure your chosen major is “in demand.” (In demand means a favorable ratio of job openings—and upward mobility—to applicants in the chosen career path.)
These free research tools are available to everyone:
- The Bureau of Labor and Statistics: Type in any profession in the “Search BLS.gov” search box to find basic information on the employment and job growth of virtually any profession.
- O*NET: A service created by the U.S. Department of Labor. Use the “Occupation Quick Search” box to see far more than labor forecasts—browse the job summaries, necessary skills, activities, and more to get an in-depth view of the demands of a position as well as the traits that make one successful. At the end of the description, you can use the link to the CareerOneStop listing for the position in your chosen state.
- Research Interviews: Talking to people—for the unprepared and uninitiated—can be frightening. Don’t forget, it’s also FREE and it’s the best source of information—if you’re prepared! Interviewing people who have firsthand knowledge of the career you want can expose you to insights and trends that you probably wouldn’t find any other way. (Students of Career Prep Academy will be coached on all aspects of Research Interviews to ensure the best possible outcome. Knowing how to conduct a Research Interview is also excellent training for networking, job searching, and job interviewing.)
The Career Prep Academy program helps students easily identify their strengths in a way that testing can’t. The process of the program can reveal a student’s true path while developing career-building skills without years of self-discovery which are often done during college…when self-discovery comes with a hefty price tag.
*Caveat Emptor means “may the buyer beware.” It’s a warning to let someone know their purchase/investment is essentially a loss; the end product will not live up to your expectations.