The 50 Best Careers of 2011 (U.S. News)

What jobs give you the greatest opportunities in 2011?

Alexis Grant of U.S.News & World Report (@USNewsCareers and @alexisgrant) joined our Twitter #careerchat to tell the most promising jobs, careers and industries for job seekers, as reported  in U.S. News’s 50 Best Careers of 2011.

And that’s not all the good news: Based on surveys of job-growth projections, salary data and job satisfaction, the employment outlook really is getting brighter. We’ve just got to figure out how to reach out and grab it.

Job seeker? Just want to get ahead in your career?

Join our Twitter #careerchat Tuesdays @ 12 PM CT to talk about everything from friending your boss on Facebook to personal branding to how to get a call back from recruiter.

Follow me @bbenishek or Amanda at @bizMebizgal to see what the next topic is!

Here’s a recap of our questions and Alexis’s answers.

How do you determine what careers/industries make the list?

Our list is based on job-growth projections from the U.S. Department of Labor. We look for jobs with above-average incomes, high job satisfaction, etc . Those job-growth projections are a great measure of stability, and tell us how much growth is expected between 2008-2018. We also talked with people who work in these jobs to gather anecdotal evidence about employment prospects and job satisfaction. We diversified in terms of category and educational requirements to offer a wide variety of solid jobs, and we exclude careers that don’t have a large number of positions, because they provide opportunity only for a small number of people.

What jobs are in highest demand?

A good way to measure demand is with job-growth projections that tell us how many positions are likely to be created between 2008-2018. Based on job-growth stats from the Labor Department, the jobs with highest growth expectations are:

To put this all in perspective, the average expected growth for all jobs from 2008-2018  is about 10% (US Labor Dept.)

Seven jobs are new this year. What are they?

They are the following:

For the full list:

What sectors were hurt the most as a result of the economic conditions?

Jobs that suffered the most were on our creative & service list, and finance list.

Which careers got the boot?

Jobs with little growth or demand:

  • Loan officer
  • Funeral director
  • Cost estimator
  • Plumber
  • Landscape architect
  • Security system installer
  • Market research analyst

What skills are hiring managers looking for?

Look for this advice at the bottom of each profile. Along with job-specific skills, many hiring managers said people skills are also very important, such as being able to communicate.  As part of each career profile, we’ve included tips and advice for people who work in the industry on landing a job.

You can also see our slide show with advice for landing jobs.

Which careers on the list pay well but don’t require a lot of education?

We just published a follow-up story on this! 10 jobs that offer a big bang for your buck

“Sales manager” jumped out at me, since you need a bachelor’s degree for a median annual salary of $97K.  On the healthcare side, dental hygienists make about $67K with an associate’s degree and license. Meteorologists also do well, bringing in median of $85K with a bachelor’s degree.

Gaming managers at casinos make about $67K after vocational or dealer school, plus certificate.


Crowd takeaways:

  • Whichever career path you seek—technician, executive, etc—it’s good to be proactive, knowledgeable, and forward-thinking about your industry.
  • Always stay current and evolve, even if you’re not job seeking.
  • Do what you love. When you’re giving 110% into a position and field you love, the salary will follow.
  • Soft skills such as communication are so vital in the business world. If you don’t have them, you won’t get far.
  • There is an experience/skills gap between the unemployed and the jobs. If your skills are outdated, refresh them. Take classes or visit a skill center. Be proactive to show your initiative.
  • Every job opening is open because of a specific problem. Identify the problem and make a case for how you are a good match
  • Instead of saying you’re a problem-solver, you are a solution-provider.


Special thanks to @ComeRecommended, @laurenkgray, @KyleMcShane, @willyf, @1on1careerhelp, @Keppie_Careers, @PongoResume, @DavidGaspin, @talentculture, @AvidCareerist, @EmilieMeck, @EmilyBennington and @BillBoorman.

Adapted from my post here on MyPath.
Pic from here

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