The power of labor market information for your professional future

Posted at 2:42 PM, Mar 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-31 16:42:25-04

Editor’s note: This article, authored by Allana Farley, originally appeared on

DENVER — Whether you’re still trying to pinpoint that perfect career path, move up on your current trajectory, or switch to something new, LMI can help you get there by using what we already know.

What is Labor Market Information (LMI)?

LMI answers the following questions based on averages for the industry and role:

•   How much does the job pay?

•   What education is required?

•   What work experience is required?

•   Are there any special skills or abilities required?

•   What job duties and responsibilities does the role fulfil?

•   What does the work environment look/feel like?

•   How many jobs are available now?

•   How many jobs will be available in the future?

•   What is the growth rate for this job?

Keep in mind that LMI is a composite of current historical information from a variety of businesses and organizations; they are not facts or guarantees. Each job or role will come with its own nuances based on the size and stability of the company, the industry you’re working in, and internal processes.

While it is still vital to know industry projected averages and requirements, some companies will pay higher or lower, or require more or less to be hired. Treat each opportunity as a new chance to fully vet the position to determine if it’s the best fit for your future.

Why is Labor Market Information important?

Regardless of if you’re currently employed or looking for a new position, LMI can be crucial in helping you land a career rather than a job. Here’s what I mean…

Do you know that your job is going to be in existence ten years from now?

You may automatically respond “yes,” but think about the jobs that have disappeared in the last ten years or more. For instance, Redbox and Netflix put Hollywood Video and Blockbuster out of business with easy access, self-service, and home delivery. Outsourcing and technological advancements have replaced many manufacturing jobs that can be done quicker and more affordably by machines. Online banking has decreased the need for in-person tellers and bankers, and the widespread adoption of email once threatened the U.S. postal service.

As these revolutions continue to impact the way we learn, the skills necessary for employment, and workplace and workforce investments, it’s imperative that you focus on job growth in addition to what’s working now.

Where can you find LMI?

•   State specific information can be found on your state’s Department of Labor and Employment website.

•   National occupation information can be accessed through the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) or O*NET OnLine.

How can LMI help in career decision making?

If you’re wondering what career is best for you, LMI can provide a framework to measure your interests, education, and skills against the positions you think you want.

•   Expand your professional goals. Investigate the requirements of entry and executive level positions so you know what’s necessary to achieve your highest professional goals.

•   Identify all employable skills. You may have skills, abilities, knowledge, or experience that is more valuable in the workplace than you think. Once you know what you have to offer, you’ll more easily be able to identify a position that makes the best use of your abilities.

•   Review complete job descriptions. Of course every job description is different, but it’s good to review general job descriptions to know what might be expected of you when applying for similar roles.

•   Recognize training expectations.  Employers may prefer or require a certain level of training, so make sure you’re equipped or have a plan to meet the minimum requirements.

•   Learn about average wages. Make sure you’re earning what you’re worth by knowing the average for the role or industry. Like I said, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll get the same offer, but this information is an important factor in taking a job or negotiating for a higher salary.

How can labor market and career information help when job searching?

After reviewing LMI you’ll generally know what will be expected of you for a certain role. Once you know what employers are looking for, you can better highlight how you fit the position.

•   Update your resume with the skills employers are seeking.

•   Prepare for an interview using industry and job specific talking points, buzzwords, and growth potential.

•   Negotiate salary based on industry averages, personal skills, education, experience, and training.

•   Identify new potential employers that may be outside of the industry you’re used to, but employ people in a similar role.

Utilize LMI no matter where you are in your profession to help determine where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there. You can also talk to industry professionals with real world experience, search existing job openings, and for CSU-Global students and alumni, utilize our career center.

•   Talk one-on-one with a career coach.

•   Optimize your resume and cover letter.

•   Search available jobs.

Access informative employment and career related resources related to interview prep, work-life balance, job searching, and becoming a great employee.


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