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What's the Best Way to Prevent Unemployment?

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Unemployed worker

Paul Costiglio, a marketing and public relations professional, waits in a lobby for an interview at a foundation December 9, 2008 in New York City. Costiglio, 35, was laid off from his marketing job at The Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Question: What's the Best Way to Prevent Unemployment?

Answer:  There are two schools of thought which are presented here. Decide which is right for you, or combine the two.

The first is "Do what you love and the money will follow." This means that, if you follow your passion, you'll become very, very good at it, put in the time required to master it, and your enthusiasm will be contagious. This often works, and enthusiasm and expertise are critical to employment success. However, if there are few opportunities, you will find the field to be very competitive.

The second is to look at which industries are creating jobs, such as health care, and get the training needed to enter one of those fields. If you have a passion around one of those fields, consider yourself very fortunate.

The JOLTS report (Job Opening and Labor Turnover) tells you which industries have the greatest number of job openings. Usually, the leader is in business services, as it's also the largest sector in the economy. This will let you know, in general, who's hiring and who's firing.

The next step is to look at Industries at a Glance. This gives you detailed information about each industry, including wages, number of jobs being added, and the overall health of the industry.

Once you've selected your industry, the Department of Labor provides the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This tells how to prepare for specific jobs within industries.

If you aren't starting out, and need to stay in your existing industry, then  you must engage in continual training in your existing field. 

In addition, you might want to consider some additional streams of income from extra part-time work or home-based businesses.

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