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Occupational experts like Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., say that America is climbing out of recession and job opportunities are better now than they’ve been for a long time. But what does this mean for people hoping to advance their career? What can they do in 2011 to be strong candidates in the future job market?

Shatkin answers these essential questions in his book “2011 Career Plan: The Best Moves Now for a Solid Future.” In it, he explains that the recovery is a steady upswing, not a hiring boom, and that people will need to be strategic about how and where they pursue employment.
“Jobs are not expected to be plentiful in 2011 or for several years afterward. In fact, we may see a repeat of what happened after the recession of 2001, when 39 months passed before employment rose back to pre-recession levels. This recovery is also a patchwork affair, with some industries bouncing back much faster than others. For example, in March 2010, while manufacturers were adding jobs, the news and information business was still losing jobs,” says Shatkin. “That’s why ‘I’ll find something’ is not an adequate career plan for 2011. You need to choose a specific goal and develop a smart strategy to take advantage of the opportunities that 2011 does have to offer.”
One career strategy Shatkin recommends is to focus on fast-growing fields, where job opportunities tend to be more plentiful than in fields where jobs are slow-growing or disappearing. According to Shatkin and information from the U.S. Department of Labor, the following 11 fields are projected to grow fastest through 2018.
1. Management, scientific and technical consulting services
Hottest jobs in this field: network systems and data communications analysts; industrial engineers; financial analysts; customer service representatives; and public relations specialists
2. Computer systems design and related services
Hottest jobs in this field: network systems and data communications analysts; network and computer systems administrators; accountants and auditors; computer software engineers, systems software; and computer support specialists
3. Social assistance, except child day care
Hottest jobs in this field: medical and public health social workers; special education teachers, preschool, kindergarten and elementary school; first-line supervisors/managers of personal service workers; occupational therapists; and social and human service assistants
Hottest jobs in this field: network and computer systems administrators; computer systems analysts; computer support specialists; market research analysts; and customer service representatives
5. Scientific research and development services
Hottest jobs in this field: biomedical engineers; network systems and data communications analysts; biochemists and biophysicists; medical scientists, except epidemiologists; and compliance officers, except agriculture, co
nstruction, health and safety and transportation
7. Employment services
Hottest jobs in this field: accountants and auditors; customer service representatives; construction laborers; computer software engineers, systems software; and computer software engineers, applications
Hottest jobs in this field: heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers; septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners; telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers; purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail and farm products; and cost estimators
Hottest jobs in this field: preschool teachers, except special education; special education teachers, preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school; office clerks, general; kindergarten teachers, except special education; and first-line supervisors/managers of personal service workers
Hottest jobs in this field: network systems and data communications analysts; compliance officers, except agriculture, construction, health and safety and transportation; compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists; market research analysts; and customer service representatives
Hottest jobs in this field: network systems and data communications analysts; self-enrichment education teachers; customer service representatives; loan counselors; and medical scientists, except epidemiologists
Shatkin reminds people to “keep in mind that these 11 fields are not the only fields where job opportunities will be available in 2011. They’re fast-growing, but jobs can still be found in many fields that are not growing as fast even shrinking.”
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