While unemployment rates are down, here are some jobs to help you rack up this year!
Here are five careers that are in shortage right now, if you can score a job within these fields you could be cashing out.
Positions in skilled trades, such as welders and electricians, lead the list of the hardest jobs to fill in 2012.
You might need a college degree to qualify for some skilled trades, but hot jobs in industries such as construction may require only specialized training.
Engineering has been a hot profession for many years, accenting the need for more students to pursue math, science and technology studies. Plus, employers needing engineers complain that they can't find candidates with industry-specific qualifications or certifications.
Certain industries, such as aerospace and electronics, have cut engineering jobs in recent years. However, jobs are growing in more traditional fields, such as civil engineering, and fledgling businesses are creating new avenues for engineers in the biomedical and environmental industries.
George Zobrist, professor emeritus of computer science at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, expects engineering consulting firms to expand their services in coming years, which will lead to new opportunities for engineers in several areas.
"The highest growth areas in engineering are projected to be: environmental, biomedical, industrial and civil engineering specialties,"Zobrist says. He also expects electronics manufacturers to increase research and development spending, adding even more engineering opportunities.
If engineering sounds like the right career for you, you'll need a formal education. To land an entry-level position, you typically need a bachelor's degree in engineering, and some jobs require specialized training. To qualify for a management job, you'll likely need a master's degree.
The need for information technology, or IT, employees shot up on this worker-shortage survey, from sixth place in 2011 to third this year. The rapid growth of new technologies ranks as one of the main reasons why many IT managers are begging for workers.
"Anyone who has experience in cloud computing is in high demand,"says Ann Zylstra, a partner with Kain Management Group in Walnut Creek, Calif.
"It is the No. 1 area that employers are looking for."
Many employers are looking for IT professionals with degrees in computer science. However, if you merely have experience in the latest hot technologies, your skills might be in high demand.
Whenever the economy takes a downturn, companies tend to beef up their sales staffs to bring in more money, and that has been the trend in recent years.
Some sales areas, such as auto sales, often require at least a bachelor's degree. However, to qualify for other types of sales positions, such as lumber sales, you might only need past experience, good communication skills and product knowledge.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs for wholesale and manufacturing sales reps to grow by 16 percent over the current decade, while a 22 percent jump is forecast in the number of insurance sales agents.
Work environments for sales people vary from industry to industry. Most hot jobs in sales require at least a little face time with customers.
Accounting and finance staff
Accounting and finance rounded out this year's five fields with the most serious worker shortages.
Nearly 1.9 million Americans worked as accounting, auditing or bookkeeping clerks in 2010, the most recent year studied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These workers earned a median annual income of more than $34,000, while the median for auditors and accountants was almost $62,000.
For a clerk position, you often need a bachelor's degree in finance or accounting. To qualify for a management position, you might need a master's degree and specialized training.
You can find hot jobs in finance and accounting, full- or part-time, in both the private and public sectors. If you want a temporary position, you often can land an accounting job with the Internal Revenue Service during tax season.