We’re all products of our environments and this means that when embarking on a career change, most people will only consider jobs and careers they’ve come across at some point in their lives. But as the majority of us can only name a tiny fraction of all the jobs that exist today, anyone who’s seriously considering a career change must first expand their horizons. With that in mind, we want to start putting the best job ideas on your radar with our career inspiration series. First up are five pretty awesome and very realistic jobs you’ve probably heard of before, but never really understood.
Role: Visual merchandisers create and execute visual concepts to make customers more likely to buy or engage with a product, brand or service. It’s a role that’s primarily found in the retail or leisure industries, but with the growth in online shopping over the last two decades, many visual merchandisers no longer just look after the layout of goods on shop floors, they now also put together the outfits you see when you log onto your favourite online store and create digital lookbooks for fashion brands. It’s not all about shops and fashion though, visual merchandisers can also be responsible for executing visual concepts for art galleries and museums.
Salary: We’ll be honest, it’s not the best paid job around. Figures from Payscale suggest that you can expect to earn around £26,000 per year at the top end of the market. However, most visual merchandisers progress to more senior (and better paid) creative roles in marketing after a few years on the job.
How to get started: If you’re looking to inch your way into this field, you’ll find experience in retail sales or fashion/design is advantageous. However, no specific qualifications are needed, which means you can also start your new career as an assistant visual merchandiser and learn on the job.
Role: If you’ve got a knack for throwing together a brunch flat lay picture that gets hundreds or even thousands of likes on Instagram, a career in food styling could be ideal for you. As the title suggests, food stylists are paid to make all things edible look irresistible. From recipe books to magazines and TV adverts, and even the packaging of ready meals and snacks, a food stylist works his or her magic to transform a lacklustre dish into one that makes you part with your money.
Salary: We could only find US figures for this role, but according to Payscale, a food stylist can earn an average of $59,000 per year, rising to $130,000 at a very senior level.
How to get started: This is a role that you’ll be well placed to break into if you come from a culinary, photography or food science background. Learn more at the International Association of Culinary Professionals website.
Role: We’re willing to bet serious money that this is a job title you’ve seen around a lot, but unless you’re into tech, you’ve probably never really looked into what it involves. UX (user experience) designers are responsible for designing and overseeing the user testing of digital products to make sure they work in a way that feels good to users. This includes making sure a product is intuitive, easy to use and flows logically from one step to the next. If you’ve ever felt confused about how to do what you want to do with an app, game or even a website, you’ll understand why a UX designer is critical to the success of a digital product.
Salary: The average salary reported by Payscale is £30,000 per year, rising to £50,000 for senior roles.
How to get started: First things first, you’ll need to get skilled up. There are two ways to do this. You can do a full degree or a certified course. Alternatively, as the most important thing is having the skills needed, a degree isn’t essential. Instead, you can get trained through traineeship schemes like the BBC’s. And you’ll be paid while training instead of paying to get trained!
Role: Just like UX designers, user interface (UI) designers are responsible for creating digital products; however, their role is centred on the actual creation of all the steps a user of a product takes – making sure that each and every user will have the experience the UX designer determined they would like. It can be tricky to distinguish between what a UX and UI designer does, but simply put, the UX designer creates the vision (through testing and research) and the UI designer physically executes it.
Salary: According to figures from Glassdoor, the average UI designer can expect to earn around £38,500 each year.
How to get started: Just like a UX designer, you’ll need specific technical skills to start a career in UI design. A variety of online and offline courses and degrees are available – just be sure to do your research properly to make sure you choose a reputable company that will deliver all the skills you need.
Role: If you often look at your current workplace and can see all the disasters waiting to happen – from poor management to low productivity and sales – this could be the job for you. Occupational psychologists (also known as industrial psychologists) use the principles of psychology to solve workplace problems and get businesses and their employees functioning at their best.
Salary: We struggled to find accurate salary details for this role, but figures from Glassdoor suggest that you can make up to £45,000 when you reach senior level.
How to get started: You’ll need to go back to uni to become an occupational psychologist, and that’s because a bachelor’s degree (or a one-year conversion course to obtain a qualifying psychology degree) is needed by anyone who wants to work in this field. Check out the British Psychological Society for more information on how to break into occupational psychology.
Stay tuned for part two of our career inspiration series, which will be looking at the best careers for people who want to work remotely. In the meantime, let us know if we missed any lesser known career choices in the comments below.
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